Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Farther Than You Imagined

Yesterday when I was writing about people in the workplace confusing routine and commitment a thought popped out of my head fully formed like the goddess Athena leaping forth from Zeus’ brain.

What if those people are simply at a place in which their lives have exceeded their dreams?

What if they had had tough upbringings or life situations and were just glad to have finally settled into a job where they had a steady paycheck, some benefits, and a lifestyle that was better than what they had imagined?

No matter what you think about motivation you have to look at folks in that sort of situation and say, “Good for you.”

Now, admittedly, those sorts of folks can slow progress, resist change (well…yeah), and be an obstacle in the way of other people striving to make dreams come true.

I’m not saying the “satisfied in place” folks are a good thing, but I’m saying I can understand why they are there.

Their place in life right now has exceeded their dreams.

Some people stay there the rest of their lives. Maybe that’s a good thing for them. They obviously think so.

Has your life exceeded your dreams?

Do you have new dreams?

Monday, January 30, 2012

If You Were a Breakfast Food What Would You Be?

There’s an old joke about the message in a country breakfast of eggs and bacon. The saying is, “The eggs were involved, but the pig was committed.”

I thought about the old saying when I read an ESPN magazine article about the toughest men in the NFL. The piece noted a sign in the NBA Detroit Piston’s weight room that said, “Don’t confuse routine with commitment.”

At work every day you’re going through the routine or you’re committed.

And yes, I’m sure some of us work in places that make us think we should BE committed, but that’s a conversation for a different day.

A smart woman recently told me about an employee who seems to simply be showing up every day…kinda going through the motions. It would appear that the employee is involved, going through the routine, but is not committed.

I’ll be the first one to admit that you can’t be totally committed, giving 100%, to everything. But, you’ve got to take a moment to look at the areas of life that you say are important to you. Whether it’s your job, relationship, fitness routine or spiritual path…are you simply involved, or are you committed?

Are you the egg or the pig?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Playgrounds, Pop Flies and Sanity

Had a chance yesterday to present two programs for the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Directors Conference. In short, the folks sitting in the audience make sure that you, your kids, your friends and your community have great, safe places to play.

It was a wonderful experience. They were the type of group you pray for when you do what I do: professional, smart and fun.

Before I was introduced I thought of Bill Sapp, the legendary recreation director in Lumberton and Robeson County for three generations. The seeds for my attitudes about sports, sportsmanship and recreation were either directly planted by Bill Sapp or created by his efforts.

What these folks do matters and they certainly aren’t the highest paid folks in their agencies. But, their efforts echo through the lives of thousands of people.

No matter what YOU do it matters to someone; it has an effect on someone. Believe me, there is someone who, some day, will look back and think of you. Did you help them along or hold them back? Are you giving them your best?

Have a great weekend. See you Monday.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Love Through Lucite

A friend was recently in the checkout aisle at a grocery store.

She overhead one cashier say to another, "It's hard to date someone who's locked up."

Well....yeah.

Talking through a lucite barrier cuts down on the intimacy and trust you need to build a relationship.

Lust, laziness, habits, fundamentalism, fatigue, ignorance or bad pepperoni can make us do stupid things.

Sometimes you just have to know when to walk away.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In Which Camp Are You Pitching Your Tent?

Heard two things within about 12 hours of each other and my title question came to mind.

Heard the State of the Union Address last night (now, now…don’t get off on a rant in either direction) and then listened to Seth Godin (marketing genius and most-read blogger on earth) this morning on a book on CD.

Seth was saying that the world has been divided into two camps: The “Let’s Keep Things the Way They Were” folks like politicians, big business, old thinkers. And, the “Be a Little Weird and Color Outside the Lines” folks like Apple Computers, creative small businesses, and new thinkers.

The great thing for those of us in the second group is that weird is winning. The best businesses and groups are focusing less on how things were (mass manufacturing, the Big Boys deciding what we should want and pushing it at us) and more on customization, individualization and helping people maximize their potential and lives.

The Golden Rule ain’t working anymore. It’s all about The Platinum Rule (Google it): Do Unto Others the Way They Would Have It Be Done to Them.

So, which camp are you in?

There will be fewer tents in the first group as time goes on. However, there is an illusory sense of security, all the tents look alike.

But, pitching your tent in the second camp is scary because you’ve got to take responsibility for your life.

I hope I see you pitching your tent alongside mine in Campground #2.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How Long Is Your Worry Tail?

One month ago today was Christmas Eve. Seems like either forever ago or yesterday, doesn’t it?

One year from today is Christmas Eve. Have you done your shopping?

Lots of folks are already worrying about something that is months or years away.

I’m all for planning ahead but, hey, if you’re spending valuable time today worrying about something that will happen waaaaay out in the future…or worrying about something that happened in the past you have too long a worry tail.

Might be time to snip it off?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Code Blue! Code Blue!

Am in a hospital waiting area biding my time before I do some training.

I can hear the intercom communications and I often think about how these announcements note events happening in the lives of patients, staff and visitors.

Code Blue! or something like it is often used as a way to alert the staff that a patient is having a life-threatening event.

When I hear something like that I wonder what it would be like if we had an alert to let us know when things were happening in our lives that might threaten our happiness and/or future success.

I had a Code Blue! alert recently (not in a hospital) and was able to steer away from the danger.

Most of the time we know what the Code Blues! in our lives might be.

Are you paying attention to yours?

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Promise of Romance and a Bullet

My brother has a raccoon problem. His not-so-cute-and-little visitor has been rummaging around in the attic for a few days.

So, Joe called a critter-gitter. In fact, if you've never heard of Critter Gitter it's actually the name of one of the animal removal franchises.

They gitter guy comes to your house, puts some traps around (usually cages the critter gets trapped in), checks on them and takes the critter away when they're caught.

I asked Joe what they use for bait. He said, "Coon goo and cat food."

Don'tcha love that phrase, "Coon goo." It sounds like some sort of Asian desert. The waiter asks what you'd like with your moo goo gai pan and you say, "I'll have a bowl of coon goo."

Anyway, I'm figuring that coon goo is kinda like the stuff hunters use to attract deer. It's a mixture of pheromones (the fragrances that attract creatures--including humans--to romantic encounters)and body fluids and, well, ok...let's just say that it's stuff that infers that good things are going to happen.

That's when Joe told me the bad news. If they catch a raccoon the critter gitter takes it away and kills it. The raccoons are so destructive to a house and have such great homing sense that no matter how far away you take them they'll come back and keep tearing your place up. So the insurance industry had the legislature pass a law that says the critter has to be destroyed.

Which led me to this, "isn't that sad" thought: Here you are, a raccoon just trying to get along, and you smell some coon goo and cat food and you think, "Sweet! Food AND romance!!! How great is this!!" So you walk into the cage and the next thing you know you're in the back of a truck on your way to a date with a .22 bullet and raccoon heaven.

My next thought was that coon goo for me would probably be a mixture of Ivory soap, Obsession and a Burger King Double.

It'd take a big cage for me, though.

Have a great weekend. See you Monday.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Little Blue Marble

Presented "Guerrilla Marketing" last night in Dunn, NC.

Most of the attendees were from the Angier Chamber of Commerce and as we talked at the break I discovered that some of them we're related to people I know, had grown up in my home town, were in the same fraternity I was in and could make a range of other connections.

This little blue marble truly is a small world.

The coworker, neighbor or aquaintance you hardly ever talk to may know someone or something that will get you closer to your dream.

With whom can you make a connection?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Joke or Job?

A great line in my devotion today about life: It’s not a joke—but it’s also not a job.

I’ve been guilty at times of flying through life and not taking much, if anything, very seriously. My excuse was that I was young and I had time to get serious. And I was right.

Many more people look at life as a job they have to slog to and from and through every day; a burden to be borne through time.

The great thing about life is that you get to choose what it is for you.

Why not think of it as a journey or, better yet, an adventure that continues throughout and beyond your life? The adventure outlook allows you to see the ups and downs, even death, as simply part of the adventure. Nothing in life is to be feared or seen as a crushing defeat, it’s simply part of the adventure. Victories and joyous occasions are enjoyed as high points on the trip.

So, what’s it to ya? A job, a joke or an adventure?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

T+E-P=$$$

In my marketing programs I offer a simple equation that can lead to success: T+E-P=$$$.

That’s “Time” plus “Energy” minus “Ego” equals “Money”…or Success.

A very smart woman I know keeps telling me, “it’s all about the money,” so there’s a different spin I put on the equation that I always hope folks get: If you don’t have any $$$ then all you have is Time, Energy and Pride.

So, if you’ll invest Time and Energy into a situation, and get your Pride out (thinking there are efforts that are beneath you) you can often find the same type of success you’d have if you had a ton of $$$ to throw at the situation.

Remember, you only have five resources, personally or professionally, Time, Energy, Ego (Pride and the psychological definition of Ego which is who you see yourself as being), $$$ and LUCK.

If you aren’t going to rely on LUCK for the type of life you want you’ve got to use the other resources as effectively as possible.

To what effort today do you need to focus your Time and Energy?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King (1929-1968)

-“If you are called to be a street sweeper, sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'”

“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illumines it.”

Martin Luther King

Friday, January 13, 2012

Wooooooo! It's Friday the 13th!

"Friggatriskaidekaphobia" is the fear of Friday the 13th. "Frigga" was the name of the Norse goddess from whom the word Friday is taken.

Until the 19th Century there was no mention of Friday the 13th. The phrase was used in some works of fiction and around 1900 the use jumped dramatically.

Folklorists believe the concept that Friday the 13th was unlucky came from the combination of two suspicions, that 13 was an unlucky number and that Friday was a bad day (there were a number of stock market crashes on Fridays in the 19th Century).

You know as I do, though, that Friday the 13th turns out like WE make it. We decide if the day is good or bad, lucky or unlucky.

Make today and this weekend lucky for yourself...I'm planning on doing that.

Have a great weekend. See you Monday.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Time To Wave Bye-Bye

A good friend of mine is making some major life changes. He’s a professional who has the courage to step away from a 30-year career to seek something different.

We talked for a long time yesterday about his move and some of the logistics of making it happen. He isn’t financially secure enough to retire but he can take a while to slow down, look at his life and make some decisions.

One of his comments has stuck with me. He said, “I’ve spent most of my life trying to please other people.” And, I’ll have to say that he’s done a good job of that.

I suggested that now seemed to be the time to please himself.

But, here’s the rub: If he spends time trying to please himself some of those folks he’s been pleasing for years won’t like it because, to them, he’ll be a different person. And most folks don’t like their assumptions and long-held beliefs challenged.

You need to realize as my friend does that if you decide to take a journey to a different place there will be some people who won’t be coming along…and the old you will be one of them. And that can be difficult for everyone concerned.

To whom will you be waving goodbye?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What About The Dragon Tattoo?

It seems that half the world has read Stieg Larsson’s book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The rest of the world is seeing the movie.

I didn’t read the book but I saw the movie last week and if you’re willing to have your heebeejeebies level tested you need to see it.

You can’t take your eyes off Rooney Mara, the actress who plays investigator Lisbeth Salander. She’s scary and sexy and powerful and vulnerable and violent and caring all at once. And Daniel Craige as someone other than James Bond was great.

Be careful, this is not a huggy-kissy let’s go to the movies kind of flick. It’s a holy-sh** what’s going to happen next, movie. If you hold hands in this movie it’s because you’re scared or the person next to you is.

Go see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo because you want to know the boundaries of love…but go prepared to be jolted.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Nose of the Football

Last night, in the national championship game, Alabama ran a fake field goal attempt and made a first down by the nose of the football.

Life’s like that sometimes…you succeed, make sale, win a heart, help a friend, make difference in a life…by the smallest of margins. But, the margin isn’t what matters, the outcome is the most important thing.

You won!

Look around, what have been some of your small wins?

Remember, they’re wins!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hello Monday! From Tom Hanks

This from Tom Hanks, “When I was a kid only Batman had a cell phone. He had a car phone. I was like, ‘Man, can you imagine having a car phone?’ But technology has not altered our lives, other than perhaps how we go about them. We are still in the position of waking up and having a choice: Do I make the world better today somehow, or I do not bother?”

Friday, January 6, 2012

Startin' Up and Startin' Now

So, how’s your first week of ’12 going?

Remember, only 7% of folks who make resolutions actually keep them so the odds are not in your favor.

Here’s a way to look at it: What did you do this week that you hadn’t been doing on a regular basis? And, if you keep doing it what will your life—or at least that part of your life—look like one year from now?

It doesn’t have to be anything big, small changes can reap great rewards.

If you haven’t started off the new year in the way you wanted I have a fun project you can do this weekend that will get you off on the right foot.

Here’s the deal: A CD is going to be made that will be the soundtrack of your life. What songs are on it? You don’t have to limit the number of songs, but start with 12 and go from there.

I’ve decided the song that would accompany my birth video (GOOD GOD!, we’re not talking about actual footage, you don’t think Bill and Marie would have had a camera in the delivery room, do you?!)…would be, “Starting Up” by The Rolling Stones.

Try the project and have a great weekend. See you Monday.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hard To Turn On a Light When It's Unplugged

It has already started out as “one of those days.”

At 6:15 am the alarm on the clock/radio blows me out of a deep sleep and great dream. I roll over like my a** is on fire, grab for the clock and knock the glass of water on the bedside table over on me/the bed/books/the radio/papers/my phone/a camera (don’t ask) and the floor, I’m grabbing at the glass, PUNCHING AT THE CLOCK TO GET IT TO STOP ALARMING WHICH IT WON’T!, jumping up to get a towel, PUNCHING AT THE DAMN CLOCK TO GET IT TO STOP!, wiping with the towel, JERKING THE CORDS OUT OF THE SOCKET TO GET THIS DAMN ALARM TO STOP!, worrying about getting electrocuted, mashing the towel on the floor to dry the carpet, IF THIS DAMN CLOCK DOESN’T STOP I’LL…! AND, IT’S STILL ALARMING WHILE UNPLUGGED!, reaching to turn on a light that is not plugged in…

….and then realizing that it’s my phone that’s alarming.

The trash pick-up is today so I have to roll the can down to the curb. I think I’ll just get in it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

No Bran This Morning!

I learned my lesson yesterday. There’ll be no multiple bran muffins and high roughage fruit for breakfast today.

I feel like I went from 225 lbs. to about 175 in about 2 hours. Which, I hate to admit, probably confirms a lot of what’s been said about me by past managers, ex-wives and friends who’ve known me for many years.

BUT THE CHARMIN COMPANY LOVES ME!!

Which brings me to today’s point. Remember when you were in elementary school and the TP had woodchips in it..or, at least it seemed like that?

Well, I discovered a long time ago that Charmin doesn’t cost so much more than the woodchip TP that it’s unaffordable.

Sometimes a small investment—money, time, effort, emotion—can have a big payoff and make your life so much more comfortable, enjoyable and even joyous.

Where are you cutting corners or trying to save with good intentions—people, things, situations, activities—and with a small increase in investment your life jumps from ok to great?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bran and a New Year

The New Year started this morning, didn’t it?

Sunday really didn’t seem like it and yesterday’s semi-New Year’s day, for some reason, didn’t feel like a usual NY day even with all the bowls.

But today folks are back at work and school and today’s the day we see if any of those resolutions are going to stick.

So, let me tell you…mmm…that I am...ooooh…following through with…yikes!...my resolution to live in a more healthy way.

Had two bran muffins and an apple for…uh oh!....breakfast and it’s…well….OK! GOTTA GO! SEE YA TOMORROW MORNING!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Your Future Is In Waterhole #3

During a recent discussion about the college football mess a good friend tossed out the oft-repeated line, “It’s all about the money.”

Well, yes, and power and egos and fear.

Her line reminded me of a great scene in a little-known western comedy, Waterhole #3 (1967) with James Coburn and Carroll O’Connor (Archie Bunker). To give you an idea of what the movie was like the tag line was, “This is THE WILD, WILD WEST Where The Bad Guys Win And The Good Girls Lose!”

The premise of the movie is that there may be gold buried in Waterhole #3 and the characters are trying to backstab each other to get it.

At a key point in the movie James Coburn’s rascally character, Lewton Cole, is being run out of town. Sitting astride his horse he turns and looks back at the town and says, “Sometimes people put too much store in gold.” He hesitates a moment, reconsidering, and then adds, “And sometimes they don’t put enough.”

While most folks in our society want to be more financially successfully those same people will look down their noses at others who focus too much on money. Remember,most people get the verse wrong..it isn't, "money is the root of all evil"...it's "For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”

Here’s the deal though; if you want to be more financially successful in 2012 you’re not going to pray it into existence. You’ll have to do something different. Powerball tickets are going from $1 to $2, which is still a deal if you win, but the point is you have to buy a ticket!

What are you going to do this week that gets you on the path to being more financially successful this year?