Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Yeah, But It's Dry Heat

I’d love to have some deep wisdom for you today but it’s…just…too…HOT!

Here in North Carolina we’re looking at upper 90s all week.

My buddy Archie McRimmon, a Laurinburg, NC, native now living in Las Vegas, laughs when people talk about “dry” heat. He says, “Wet or dry, it doesn’t matter. It’s still HOT!!”

Heat like this dries us out more quickly. If your hydration level drops by only 2-3% it inhibits your ability to do simple math. It inhibits your reaction time when you come to stop signs and stop lights.

Stay hydrated. Don’t walk by a water fountain without stopping to take three gulps of water.

Keep water with you. Drink a big glass of water first thing in the morning (it’s great to slow your appetite) and drink another before you go to bed. Yes, you’ll have to get up but that’s not a bad thing.

If you can, stay in out of the heat. And, once again, keep drinking…what you drink is your choice; but right now, water’s probably best.

Stay cool.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Still a Work in Progress

Since 1775, 1.2 million Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could remain, as Winston Churchill called us, “the last, great hope of mankind.”

The vast majority of factors that determine who we are and what types of lives we lead are based on where we are born. If you look at the history of mankind, to be born in the United States is not just a privilege, it’s a blessing.

When I think of those 1.2 million fellow-Americans who sacrificed so that I could go to the Food Lion without someone checking my papers or shooting at me I’m humbled and ashamed.

I’m humbled by what they gave.

I’m ashamed that we haven’t done more with our opportunity.

Luckily, we’re still a work in progress.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day and remember it’s purpose.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

When Pigs Fly

Found and bought a great little piece of artwork yesterday.

It’s a pig with wings…as in, “When pigs fly.” It's about the size of a toaster and I love it!

When I look at it I’m reminded of the times in my life when I had a dream and other people either said or thought, “Yeah, he’ll do that when pigs fly.”

And eventually there might as well have been winged pork because I did it.

Here’s the problem: There have been too many times in life (and right now is one of them) when I might as well be saying to MYSELF, “Well, I’ll do that when pigs fly.”

The little guy I bought is going to remind me that pigs flying is not as farfetched as I might have thought.

What dream do you have that you’ve relegated to the “When Pigs Fly” category?

They can take wing; I’m lookin’ at it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Gas Cap Just Up and Walked Off

I needed a lawn mower. Since I don’t need a John Deere tractor to cut my grass I bought $130 push mower from Home Depot.

My lawn mower was so inexpensive that I HAD TO PUT IT TOGETHER.

Now, that’s not a big problem. I may have minimal mechanical skills but I consider myself a marginally intelligent person. I can do this.

And, yes, thank you, I’m proud to say that I assembled my mower with minimal difficulty…thanks more to the smart people at Home Depot and Briggs and Stratton than to me.

I put oil in it and filled the gas tank and then….could not for the life of me find the cap to the gas tank.

I looked high and low, in and out, up and down and all around. No cap.

At times like this I try not to explode…EVERYTHING HAD WORKED RIGHT AND NOW THIS!!!

So, I did what I sometimes do when I’ve misplaced something; I sat down to observe the scene.

Sometimes, in a stressful situation, if you can stand or sit or think somewhere different it gives you a whole new perspective. You see the scene in a new way and…you see that the gas cap has fallen down between a wheel and the lawn mower body.

What situation in your life might benefit from standing or sitting or thinking in a different place?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Best Investment You'll Ever Make

Received an email this morning with “Invest In Your Happiness” on the subject line.

It was one of those make money raising Siberian monkeys kinda deals so I’m passin’ on that…but…I loved the subject line.

We don’t invest in our own happiness enough.

We’ll invest a TON of time, effort, money and emotion in making other people happy, but too few of us make ourselves the primary focus for happiness investment.

A friend of mine says, “The only person you can save is yourself.”

What are you doing or thinking today that is an investment in your own happiness?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Friends Indeed

Over the weekend I met some folks who might become friends in the future.

So often we stay in our familiar circles. I’m as guilty as the next person.

But, the people I admire are the people who go out with the expectation that they’ll meet others who might become acquaintances and friends.

Meeting new people can be stressful; that’s the basic reason we avoid it.

New people broaden our world, though.

And....they have the potential to bring us smiles we would not have had.

What’s the chance you’ll make a new friend this week?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Snickers, Burgers and the Health Nazis

It’s amazing what a food that agrees with you can do.

I know what the Health Nazis say, but for some reason, a steak or big hamburger makes me feel bigger, stronger….better.

I don’t eat’em at every meal. I do, however, eat them medicinally. When I’m feeling slow, weak or out of sorts a Burger King Double works for me better than aspirin or almost any other kind of medicine.

Some fruits have the same effect…ok, hold down the snickering.

And, yes, speaking of Snickers…used in moderation there’s not a lot that a Snickers can’t cure.

What foods work for you? Why not eat more of them and less of the stuff that doesn’t? All in moderation, of course.

Have a great weekend! See you on Monday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

An A-Team Moment

This morning I had an A-Team moment.

I’m working on a big project and was getting anxious about all the details working out. Then, this morning, three or four things happened and I could hear George Peppard as TV's Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith saying, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

If you are trying to accomplish anything at all in life there will be times that things don’t work in a linear fashion.

And, all too often, you can’t force the issue. All you can do is keep working, say a little prayer and put one foot in front of the other.

One way or the other, the plan will come together.

What are you working on that you are starting to get that “Uh Oh” feeling about? Can you do something to help it along?

Or, do you need to understand that in today’s world handling anxiety is a crucial management and life skill?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Geeks, India, Magic and Am I an Idiot?

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke (writer and futurist)

I often think of Clarke’s quote when something goes wrong with my computer, printer, telephone, television, Kindle or other piece of technology.

But, I look at it from the other end and wish that someone or something could magically fix them.

I often find that it’s not the fault of the technology, it’s my mistake. As my techie buddies would say, “It’s a PICNIC. Problem In Chair, Not In Computer.”

At the same time, there’s seldom anyone around to point out the mistake so I’m sitting here thinking it’s a technology problem.

And just for the record…not that I’d mention any names…but, hey…Earthlink…it’s hard for me to get my email fixed if I can’t understand what someone in India is saying.

I’m no Luddite. I love what technology can do for us. I mean, how else could I watch the ‘Heels beat Tennessee in overtime in the Music City Bowl over and over if I didn’t have DVR?

I just wish I didn’t feel so stupid when the Geeks push one button or send one command and then everything is OK and they say, “Oh, it was just the __________ (fill in the blank with a techie term you’ve never heard of). Everyone knows that.”

Well, no Einstein, everyone doesn’t.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mama's Drivers Test

My mother has known for awhile that she had to get her drivers license renewed. She's 83.

One of her little blue-haired buddies planted a seed of fear by saying, “Oooooh, it’s the signs that will confuse you.”

That small seed grew into a pretty big monster within a week or two. Every time I’d go see her she’d have the drivers manual out on the dining room table and it would be open to the two pages with signage.

I worked with her on sign identification as did her best friend and my brother. Each time we talked to her she expressed her fears about the test and the signs.

Until…..she figured out that there were only two basic kinds of signs, regulatory and warning. After that things got easier.

Yesterday, on her birthday, my mother had her drivers license renewed. I am very proud of her.

What is a fear or challenge in your life that, if you boil it down to a couple of simple issues, becomes less fearful or gets you closer to overcoming the challenge?

Monday, May 16, 2011

You Only Have 90-Minutes

How much could you get done if you focused for 90 minutes?

Over the last few months, for some reason, I’ve been getting less focused, less organized and less productive. Like everyone else I have a number of stressful issues all working at the same time and I think these are the things that are slowing me down.

So I put a sticky-note on the computer screen that said, “2 Hours! Focus!”

Now, during the last few days, I’ve learned that what I happened on by chance has a scientific basis. Ultradian rhythms are 90-120 minute periods in which we are more focused and more productive.

They are part of the circadian rhythms that explain our energy peaks and valleys each day. If you can figure out when ultradian rhythms come along you can try to schedule some of your more important tasks during those time slots. You’ll be able to concentrate more effectively, get more done and be less stressed.

The great thing is that you probably already know when your 90-120 minutes of highest productivity occurs.

Ask yourself this question: If you had a very important task to perform; you wanted to make sure you did the best job possible; and, you could schedule it any time during your day….when you would schedule the task?

The answer is probably the period of time that coincides with your ultradian rhythm.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dunking at Pauley Pavilion

In January, 1996 one of my best friends, Al Ward, and I went to Los Angeles on a trip.

We had always wanted to see UCLA so we walked around on campus until we found Pauley Pavilion. This wonderful structure is the home of the UCLA basketball program, the iconic home of Coach John Wooden and 11 national championships.

The front doors were locked so we walked around the building and Al found an unlocked door. We snuck in the back of what turned out to be a concession stand and….as we walked around inside the building appeared to be empty.

Sooooo, we walked down on the floor and took a bunch of pictures of us on center court with the big UCLA logo with us wearing UNC shirts and hats! Ha!

I looked around and found some collapsible goals that were about 6 feet off the floor. We found some basketballs and spent about a half-hour shooting and DUNKING on the goals.

One of my dreams had always been to be able to dunk a basketball. If you know me you know I’d find it impossible to dunk on a regular height goal.

But, now I can say that not only have I dunked a basketball, I’ve DUNKED at Pauley Pavilion.

There’s a lot of ways to make your dreams come true.

What are your dreams?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bread, Butter and the Best of Life

Leadership expert John C. Maxwell says that life is much better when you put some butter on the bread.

He points out that bread is literally and symbolically the food of life. A little butter makes it that much better.

When dealing with other people they always remember if you've taken a moment to butter their bread; if you've done a little something that made their life better or made the moment more memorable.

Who's bread can you butter today?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Space and Soup Kitchens

In the last couple of days I've seen two stories that, while seemingly about as far apart as you can get, are essentially related.

First, the array of electronic telescopes on the West Coast that are part of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)program are being shut down due to budgetary reasons. And don't get me started about the fact that the space shuttle program is ending and our astronauts will have to catch a ride with the Russians into space from now on.

The other story was about North Carolina cutting back on budgets for the least fortunate among us; folks facing mental challenges, and elderly and children's services.

When we can't find money for our dreams and the poor we aren't who we thought we were. But, every member of Congress has health care better than the vast majority of us and a sizeable pension FOR LIFE.

I'm not a politico-ranter, but....damn.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Do You Have a Superjob?

A recent Wall Street Journal article talked about the increase in "Superjobs."

These are jobs in which the worker is doing the work of two people due to downsizing or a jump in business (more often the former), or a recognition by management that the worker has useful skills in areas other than those noted in the job description.

One example was a restaurant owner asking a dessert chef to tile the kitchen because he had great tiling skills.

The article noted a wide range of positive and negative issues about Superjobs. They ranged from a worker having an opportunity to grow strengths that could be used in other areas to cognitive exhaustion due to having to think about lots of different things at the same time.

My take on Superjobs is that if you have an opportunity to grow and exercise new skills, take on different responsibilities, and s-t-r-e-t-c-h in the workplace it's a good thing.

One key issue, though, is to keep communicating with your boss about how you think you're doing. If you get to the point at which you see your work quality deteriorating because you've been asked to take on too much you need to say something.

Where could you stretch today?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Walls or Windmills?

Someone once said that when the winds of change blow some people build walls while others build windmills.

When we experience ANYTHING we frame it as good or bad, positive or negative.

Lots of us would love to have someone to blame for how things go in our lives but the truth is…we make the decisions that get us where we are and we decide how we see the events in our lives.

Taking responsibility for your life can be challenging. If it goes great you pat yourself on the back (and you pat the backs of some of the folks who helped get you there). If things go south you have no one to blame but yourself (if there were others involved you chose to bring them into the situation).

I love the thought of Bubba Watson, one of the hot golfers on the PGA Tour. “I want to be the boss. I want to be the leader of Bubba Watson. What I say goes.”

Ya hafta love that!

Are you building walls or windmills today?

Have a wonderful weekend and don’t forget to call Mama if you won’t see her on Mothers Day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What's Your Calling?

Presented a seminar on Monday for a 100+ home health care and hospice professionals.

I believe that to do that sort of work you have to be a special kind of person.

Having the qualities that allow you to care for others, watch and attempt to alleviate their pain, and help family members deal with the illnesses and passing of a loved one is rare. Some people seem to be born to the work.

I believe that type of work gets you into heaven.

I also believe we are all born to some type of work. It may not be work we do for a living, but it’s something we have a special skill, affinity or talent for. A calling, if you will, that we weren meant to do.

Most of the studies about work show that when people are engaged in an effort using their talents and skills to the max; something they have a real “feel” for, they are happier and more fulfilled.

What were you called to do?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Speaking Ill of the Dead

Like many of you I was raised to try and think the best of folks no matter how they act (annd, yes, there are lots of times I don't do a good job of that!).

And, like many of you I was raised to not speak I'll of the dead.

However, when I saw this morning's headline about Osama bin Laden I thought, "You deserve it;nowhere you could hide."

Go get'em SEALS and CIA!