Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Friend, Nora, and $10 Million

Today I received a wonderful email from Nora in Ghana.  
No…not Ghana, West Virginia…Ghana, Africa. It seems that Nora wants me to help her do God’s work. 
The email says Nora’s husband, Tony, deposited $10 million in a bank in Ghana before he sadly passed away and Nora, now experiencing some health problems herself, says God told her to contact me, transfer the money to my account in the United States, and then come to the U.S. to meet me and continue her good work.
All I have to do is send her my full name, address and telephone number. Nora didn’t ask for my bank account number, but she’ll probably need that in the near future so she can transfer the $10 million.
Ok…here’s a couple of concerns I have about this. I think God’s pretty cool and I have what I believe is a pretty good relationship with Him/Her/It. If He/She/It wanted to give me $10 million some of those lottery tickets I’ve bought for the last few years would have numbers that REMOTELY looked like the winning numbers. My numbers are so far off it’s like they were pulled from a jar on the planet Nochance in the YeahProbably galaxy.
Second, if God wanted Nora to hook up with me, He/She/It would go ahead and give Nora my personal info. I mean, we talk every night—me and God, not me and Nora—so it’s not like God doesn’t know where I am.
Third, if Nora is in as bad a shape, health-wise, as her email makes her sound, she ought to be spending some of that 10 mill on a doctor…I’m just sayin’.
Finally, my friend, Elaine, is a vp for a major bank and she says these sorts of scams nail older customers for millions of dollars every year. If you have a senior friend who starts talking about something like this warn them, in a respectful way, away from it.

Good luck to Nora.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Choose Another Team

So, how'd you do with March Madness? If you didn't fill out a bracket, find one and fill it out today.

The great thing about bracketology is that unless you're a gambler (I'm blowing $5) you get to redo your bracket after every weekend...sometimes after every game!

In a lot of ways, life can be like that. If you understand that most of the time, even if you royally mess up, you can start over. You get to pick another direction, try something new, and see how that works out.

Long-time coaches, even the less-than-successful ones, understand the futility of looking back and saying, "You know, I wish I'd never gotten into coaching." They did what they did.

Same thing with life; it's a waste of time to fumble around with, "I wish I hadn't taken that job," "married him (her)," "started smoking (drinking/drugs/buffets)."

We all did what we did.

So, what are you going to do today? Is it the same ole, same ole...or, are you making a decision to do something new...orrrrrrr, at least think about the old in a new way?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Throwing Darts at a Bracket Board

This is the best weekend in sports! It beats the Super Bowl, Final Four, Masters, World Cup, NBA Finals, Daytona and Indy, and the World Series.
In no other weekend during the year do you get to see the excitement of all the clips from the fantastic buzzer-beaters in Thursday/Friday games. No other weekend has all the human interest stories. If you haven’t seen the Georgia State coach fall off his stool when HIS SON, R.J. Hunter, hit a winning three-pointer, you need to go to and check it out.
I don’t believe there’s another weekend during the year that invites sports fans—even the lukewarm ones—to lose themselves. Every now and then we need a weekend to just kick back, be worthless, eat badly and cheer for someone. 
So, pick a team or 3! I filled out a bracket the other day and after Thursday I am so far lost I might as well have thrown darts at the teams to pick who would win. But, it’s a big time!

Have fun, pull for SOMEONE and we’ll see you Monday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Time to Give Up the Fight

***This is a little longer than usual, so hang with me.

If you've never heard "Come In From the Cold" performed by George Benson or Marc Broussard click over to  after you read this and listen. It's a wonderful love song, and there's a line in it that deserves focus.

"Let's give up the fight."

The line is talking about resisting a relationship, an internal struggle.

Most of us experience internal struggles on a constant basis. Some are small, "Should I have that second helping of mashed potatoes," while others are large, "Should I commit to a life-long relationship with someone who's an NC State fan?" (ooops, maybe that's just me...but, you get my meaning)

A good friend uses the phrase, "I just put it out there to the Universe and wait for an answer."

That's not a bad solution. You'll find the Universe--life--starts sending answers your way and all you have to do is pay attention. In past blogs I’ve written that both spirituality and neuroscience tell us that if you’ll keep a question in front of you answers will appear.

The key is to give up the fight and let the answers come to you. They might not be the answers you’d immediately want, but I an assure you answers will be there; all you have to do is listen and look around.

For the last few years I’ve had a question about career in front of me and since the first of this year answers have been everywhere but on South of the Border billboards on I-95. 

Yesterday, I gave up the fight.

As soon as I stopped the internal struggle it was like accepting a victory and conceding…not defeat, but concession…that life was right, this is what I’m supposed to do.

As soon as I accepted the verdict a flood of ideas and answers began to show me the way to make the decision a successful reality; some are easy some are challenging. But, again, it’s serendipity at work.

If all this sounds a little like voodoo, I understand. Just get the fact that life has your best interests in mind and move on.

What are you fighting? Is the struggle professional, personal, physical, financial, spiritual, social?

What happens if you give up the fight? Do you see yourself as defeated? Less of a person? Weaker?

Believe me, I certainly understand it’s easier for me to say “forget that stuff” than it is to do it. But, if you’ll ease away from the negative, defeatist attitude about giving up the fight and see it as conceding victory for your own good you’ll see a way to make whatever the struggle is a positive in your life.

Enough preaching.

Simply…take the gloves off, return to your corner, sit on the stool and ask, “Ok, what’s next?”

Monday, March 16, 2015

Great! Let's Be Mediocre!

I rarely repost someone else's blog, but this is too good to pass up. If you aren't subscribing to Seth Godin's blog you need to do it. Here's his message from today:

The one who makes things worse

Every committee or organization has at least one well-meaning person who is pushing to make things more average.
"On behalf of the masses, the uncommitted, the ones who don't care, we need to dumb this down, smooth out the edges and make it more average. We need to oversimplify it, make it a bit banal, stupid even. If we don't, then some people won't get the joke, won't be satisfied, or worse, complain."
And, by amplifying the voice of the lizard brain, he gets under our skin and we back off, at least a little. We make the work a little more average and a little worse.
This is the studio executive who demands a trite plot, with the usual stereotypes and tropes, played by the usual reliable actor types.
This is the record producer who wants the new song to sound a whole lot like the last song.
This is the NGO executive who fears that the new campaign will offend some minor donors...
Yes, it's true that the remarkable, edgy stuff we wanted to make wasn't going to be embraced by everyone. But everyone is rarely the point any more.
In the service of honest communication, perhaps the one who makes things worse should acknowledge that this is what he does for a living. That way, if we want things to be a little more average, we'll know who to ask.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Look What the Cat Dragged In!

For quite a while I've been teaching a really effective technique that allows you to shift our mind from negative to positive.

If you catch yourself moving into a negative mental or emotional state simply start thinking or saying out loud the word, “Delete!” and keep saying it until it’s all you can focus on. Then push yourself to think about something positive or start a positive activity that moves you away from the negativity.

I’ve found something better!

Recently, I discovered that if, instead of “Delete!,” I used the phrase, “Look what the cat dragged in!,” it made me smile—sometimes laugh out loud—and I’ve found that I can more easily move into a positive frame of mind. It worked almost immediately!

Try it. When you feel yourself easing or jumping into a negative mental state think or say, “Look what the cat dragged in!” Or, come up with another phrase you find outrageously funny. 

No kidding, this works.

Have a great weekend and keep our friends to the north in mind. They’re starting to dig out.

See you Monday.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

National Organize Your Home Office Day

(go to the bottom of the blog and read the ALERT before you come back up and begin)

Whether you have a home office or in a corporate setting, if you work from any sort of workspace, today is your day.

Look around the area in which you work. Is it set up in a way so that you can be as productive as possible?

Orrrrr, when you look on your desk do you see the picture of you and Sweetie at the Mebane Molasses Festival from nine years ago, or that God’s Eye yarn-and-stick craft your kid made at camp (she’s now 23), or that…whatever it is…that fell off the cabinet a few weeks ago and you put it on the desk so you wouldn’t forget where it was when you finally figure out what it is and where it goes?

And what about paper? Where’s that stack of magazines you just have to read? You know, the one with the conference program from 2009 with your picture in it. Are all those papers on your desk important? Where’s the letter you were supposed to respond to two weeks ago, and where are those meeting notes from last week?

Check your computer screen. Do you have so many icons and folders and whizbangs that the screen saver is totally obscured? Is your unread emails total over 1,000?

(I know what you’re thinking, “How’d Mike know?! Has he been in here?!)

Nope, I’m describing my office at times over the years.

Here are five keys to getting and keeping your office organized:

1. The 30-Second Secret: Don’t walk away from your desk at lunch or at the end of the day without spending 30 Seconds straightening a few things up. Take 30 Seconds at any time of day and dump/organize a few things on your computer desktop. This is the magic, nothing-beats-this key to getting and staying organized. The cumulative effect of 30 Seconds is amazing.
2. Like Piles: Put things in piles of “like” activities and work your way through each pile. The Piles are: What do you need to take Action on? What do you need to Pass On to others? What do you need to File/Store? What’s in the “Mystery” pile? What do you need to Trash?
3. Get a Timer: Use the Timer on your phone or go to WalMart and spend $8 for a baking timer. Set it to 15-minutes and organize as much as you can. When the bell goes off you get to quit.
4. 2-Day Clean Up: Pick a day and spend a couple of hours purging all the stuff you can in your office. You know those notebooks your predecessor left and said you’d need someday? Toss’em. Six months from now, pick another day and do the same thing. A few hours, twice a year, keeps you from being buried in stuff.
5. Prime Real Estate: Is the center of your desk clear? If it isn’t you’re making life more difficult for yourself. When you look at a messy desk you’re looking at a visual to-do list. At the very least, pile everything to the side (better yet, get it off your desk), so whatever you put in front of you is what you can concentrate on.

ALERT: Studies show that when executives, managers and supervisors see employees with messy desks/offices they question whether or not the employee could handle more responsibility. They question whether the employee should be promoted or deserves a raise. In a lot of ways, “messy” means less opportunity/money, not more.