Monday, March 31, 2014

A Tornado Jumped Over My House

On Saturday evening my television and phone went crazy! Lots of alerts about the possibility of a tornado heading my way.

I noticed a lot of wind and rain so I went outside on the covered patio to experience it. I know, I know, but standing out there with a cigar and a cold beer was great!

On Sunday my neighbor (who had been sheltering in their bathroom) came over and said, “Oh yeah, you know that the tornado jumped over our neighborhood, right?”

Say what?

I asked, “So, when it was raining sideways and the big pine trees were leaning about half-way to horizontal, that was when the tornado was right overhead?”

Correct.

Well….ahem…I guess the person who just broke up with me was wrong. She alluded to the fact…no…she may have actually said that sometimes I was just evil. But, if I was evil there’s a possibility that Tommy Tornado would have grabbed me up and deposited me somewhere out near Duck, North Carolina. You know, just kind of a karmic thing to set the world straight.

Yes, I’m being silly and serious at the same time.

In life we are often lucky and unlucky at the same time. For little reason at all…and, too often, for no reason that we can lay claim to…good fortune and/or bad fortune simply jumps over us.

There’s no rhyme or reason, it just moves on by. Sometimes we know about it, like my alerts; sometimes we don’t, so we don’t realize we could have been helped or hurt.

But, here’s the deal…it’s happening all the time. Every day an idea, opportunity (good or bad) or person comes close to us. If we aren’t open and receptive—or, at least careful—we miss it. 

And, while it isn’t fun to have the negative stuff land on us there’s no telling how much good in life we miss simply because we have our eyes on the ground and our minds and hearts closed.


Open up, look around, listen and watch for the alerts…they’re out there.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Give It a Little Try

The hot business strategy for the last couple of years is called a lean startup.

One of the keys is to come up with a minimum viable experiment. In other words, a test product or service that doesn’t cost much and can be tried to see how the marketplace responds.

You aren’t gambling much and the marketplace will tell you whether or not it likes the product or service and what you might need to do to change or improve it to make it more attractive.

Changing life for the better can follow the same tactic. Try a little of something (positive) to see if you like it. If you do, great! If you don’t you can ask yourself if you need to change the experience a little or drop it or simply try it again to see if your original reaction was based too much on fear of failure or not having the skills to make the most of the experience.

For example, if you like dancing but don’t do much of it why not try a lesson or two? You’ll probably feel a little uncomfortable at first but you’ve got to give yourself points for trying. And, the more you try the more likely you’ll get better at it.

If you’ve never been much of a cook but you’d like to be you don’t want to start  by trying something with 50 ingredients you don’t have and takes all day to prepare. Try something that takes 3 ingredients and turns out wonderfully in about an hour.

Minimum viable experiment.

Try a little and see how you feel.


Have a great weekend! See you Monday.

PS...I totally missed the fact that yesterday was the 1300th blog of The Perfect Workday! Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I'm Sorry for Being a Jerk

The last two months have been the most stressful of my life. I know things might get more difficult in the future, but I’ve never encountered challenges as difficult as those in the last two months.

The stress created by events of the time have caused me to act in ways that I’m not proud of. A week ago I snapped at a guy in a store when he wouldn’t stay focused on a task I’d given him. When I do something like that it’s my sign that I’ve gotten too much on edge.

So, yesterday I went back and apologized to him. While I didn’t go into details about the why of the event I simply said that I was sorry for being a jerk. He was cool with it, we shook hands and I walked away.

Now, he’ll probably remember that guy who acted like a jerk but I’m hoping he’ll also remember that the guy came back and apologized and tried to smooth it over.

If he has a similar situation in life I hope he does the same.

We all have bump-ups in life. What do you do? Do you let them sit and fester or do you try to find a solution and smooth them over so you don’t fall in that hole again?

One of the keys, though, is to not believe your willingness to say you’re sorry gives you license to be a jerk any time you get the urge.


I’m…sorry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Little Profit Each Day

“You don’t go broke making a profit.” Nicholas Sehadie, Australian sportsman and businessman.

The profit in life is the good feeling you get from doing something…well…good. You feel like you matter, as if maybe the world is a little better place because of what you did.

The best thing is that what you do doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. It can be something simple, easy, small and, best of all, unnoticeable to anyone else but yourself.


Making a little profit each day goes a long way towards having the life you want. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Plan for the Best

We all know we need to make plans. In fact, I’ve preached that philosophy in one way or another in almost 1500 blog over the last few years.

But, yesterday at lunch a friend showed me a different spin on planning that’s truly valuable.

We were talking about getting older and he was telling me how important it is to have things to look forward to.

He pulled out the calendar on his phone and showed me a number of upcoming events, vacations, red-letter dates and fun excursions he and his wife have planned.

He said, “Whenever I see those things I know I have something exciting and fun coming up. They keep me positive and optimistic about the future. I never want to be one of those guys who believes their best years are behind them.”

Yes!

When I hear people say, “Those were the best years of my life,” I think, “Then why are you around still taking up space. Give it up and let someone else have a chance at your oxygen, maybe they’ll make better use of it.”

I believe my best years are ahead of me…

How about you?


Make a plan for the best. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Screaming, Cheering, Crying Human Laboratory

The first weekend of the NCAA March Madness is over. We’re down to the Sweet 16.

Whether you like college basketball or not, if you’re not taking advantage of watching the games as a laboratory for human effort and emotion you’re missing the boat.

Watch the players and how they react to adversity, success, sadness and joy. Watch the coaches, especially, in tight situations. You’ve got the yellers, the pleaders, the encouragers and the “you better do it my way or you’re walking home” types.


Now, turn life around and look at the challenges you’re facing at in relationships, at home, at work and out walking around. How do you react to your own challenges? If someone had a camera on you when you hit an obstacle or reach a pinnacle would you want your reaction on national television?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pull Your Trigger Today!

What pulls your trigger? What gets your enthusiasm going and lights you up?

What turns you…into you?

Knowing what gets you going is a key to dealing with challenges, obstacles, adversity and success.

You’re always going to run into situations, ideas and people that slow you down.

Knowing what gets you back up to speed or helps you kick in an extra gear is crucial to having the type of life you want.

Do you know what pulls your trigger?


Pull it today!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Happy Truck Ringing Down the Street

I’ve often said in this space that life sends us messages and if we’ll pay  attention to them life usually goes smoother, we’re more accomplished and our personal happy truck comes down the street ringing the bell more often.

Recently, the message Let Go has been hammering me from a variety of different directions and I believe it’s applying to a number of areas of life relating to habits, situations, ways of thinking and opportunities.

Am I listening?

Not very well. In fact, I'm waking up in the middle of the night fighting the messages.

We hear, see and feel the messages but are reluctant to follow because doing so will lead to change. And, as the great, South Florida philosopher, Victor Perez—a Tony Robbins fan—might say, “we fight too hard to stay with the pain instead of reaching for the pleasure.”

The crazy thing is that as humans we often prefer the reality of pain to the possibility of pleasure.

We need to realize that whatever the source of the message—you can call it God, or Spirit or Life or Ralph—it’s probably a lot smarter than we are; so we might want to pay attention.

There’s some message you’re seeing, hearing and feeling. What is it? Is it time to pay attention to it?


Let’s be honest; you’d like to see the happy truck come ringing down the street again, wouldn’t you?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Just Rolling Around In Our Heads

Let’s just blister on by the reality that we are what we think. That bit of psycho-truth is, or should be, so embedded in our lives that it would not bear repeating.

But….there’s always a but isn’t there?

What do you roll around in your mind? What are you thinking?

Some studies show over half our thoughts are of a negative nature; over half of our dreams are less-than-positive.

Try this…simply pick one of the following words: Love, gratitude, joy, serenity, hope, pride and inspiration.

Now, spend just two minutes rolling that word around in your mind. If you feel yourself slipping off into a darker corner pull yourself back and start the two minutes over again.

I can promise that by the end of two minutes your heart actually feels lighter.

The physical impact of the little exercise can be lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, better and calmer respiration and a variety of other positive health impacts.

By the way, what you just did…is called meaningful meditation.


And you thought meditation was all about oooohhhhmmmmm…..

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Perfect Day

 Legendary UCLA basketball Coach John Wooden said, “You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ding! Going Up!

A friend read the last post and sent me this quote:

“Life is like an elevator; sometimes you have to stop and let people off.”

I’d add, “And, sometimes you are surprised when the doors open and there are people you want to invite on.”

Sometimes it’s not people you invite on the elevator, it’s a feeling or idea or event.

Spring is around the corner and March Madness starts this weekend with the selection show on Sunday night.

This winter, especially February, has been a killer. Let’s look for an upside.


Have a great weekend. See you Monday.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Can I Get a Little Help Here?!

The author, Arthur Haley, kept a picture in his office of a turtle on top of a fencepost.

He said it reminded him that the turtle certainly didn’t get up there on his own, that it had help getting to its perch.

None of us have gotten to this point in life without the help—or hindrance—of others.

The object of the game, if we’re going to move ahead to our goals, is to thank the people who’ve helped us, look for others who might help and ease away from those folks who are slowing us down.

The late-Jim Rohn, an extraordinary speaker and motivator, said that each of us is the average of the five people we most often come in contact with.

Wow!

If you believe that you’re probably immediately looking around at who influences you!


We’re all the turtle on the fencepost.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Your Madness

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” Robin Williams

Monday, March 10, 2014

It's Time for Spring Break

Had dinner last night in Chapel Hill with some wonderful friends.

After dinner I was walking back to my car and noticed how empty the streets were. It was Franklin Street, essentially main street for the home of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and there were no cars passing by and only a handful of folks on the sidewalks on a beautiful Sunday night.

This morning I realized that it’s spring break at UNC-CH.

Remember spring break? I’m not going to bore or excite you with details of my spring breaks but let’s just say that they definitely were a break.

What if we could do that now? Some folks do. A friend recently returned from a short cruise. I know other people who’ve taken off for a weekend to the beach, mountains, big cities, the country or simply shut off their phones and hunkered down for a weekend of reading and relaxation.

This has been a difficult winter for many of us. Looking back I can see that February was—hands down—one of the worst times I’ve encountered in decades.

It’s time we took a spring break. Even saying that makes me feel better.


With March Madness coming there’ll be opportunities to take off and relax a bit. Take advantage of any time you get to step back and away from the stresses. Find a way to look ahead and take a spring break, even if only a short one.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Oops! Oh, That's Great!

If you’re like most folks cereal was a big deal when you were growing up.

On this day in 1897, according to This Day in Business History, “cornflakes were first served at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan; they were loved immediately.”

 The basic process for producing them was discovered by accident. Brothers Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and W.K. Kellogg were trying to find a way to make vegetarian foods more palatable so they layered boiled wheat (yum!) on a baking tin.

Dr. Kellogg was called away for an emergency operation and evidently W. K. wasn’t paying attention. When they returned the next day they ran the wheat through a roller expecting to get a sheet of it. “What they got was individual flakes, the forerunner of all ready-to-eat cereals.”

Sometimes accidents produce victories. You simply have to look for the win.


Have a great weekend. See you Monday.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Treasure or Troubles

I see lots of people smiling when they are dancing.

I hardly ever see people smiling when they are running. Maybe they’re smiling on the inside, but I sure don’t see it on the outside.

However, if you stand near the finish line at a road race you’ll see some people grinning from ear to ear when they cross the finish line.

In fact, there’s credible research showing that when a runner sees the finish line their brain kicks out chemicals that trigger an adrenaline surge in the body giving them more energy to reach the goal.

In one of my devotionals this morning there was a line that jumped off the screen at me: Focus on the Treasure, not the Troubles.

Focus on the Treasure, not the Troubles.

What’s your goal? What’s the treasure? What's the finish line?


While it can be incredibly difficult to do at times, keeping your eye on the Treasure, the finish line, can push you through the difficulties you face getting there.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

21 Minutes

According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 21 minutes of daily physical activity such as walking or shoveling snow can prevent depression.

At a reasonably brisk pace 21 minutes is about how long it takes to walk one mile.


Get moving!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

And Then, I Got It

One of the managers at yesterday’s program talked about fighting the changes his manager wanted him to make when he was first hired.

“I’ve worked here twice,” he said. “The first time I thought I knew it all and that man right there (pointing to a manager across the table) had a lot of confidence in me. He kept telling me, ‘If you’ll just do it this way it’ll work.’ But, I wouldn’t listen and I left.

“After awhile I came back and started to listen and then I got it. And the job worked just like he told me it would. It took me awhile to work my way up into management, but now here I am. And I’m still listening to him.”

Is someone or something telling you and me to “just get it?”


How long will it be before we do?

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Must Read: The Alchemist

The message that life keeps offering a lesson until you learn it continues to be presented to me…continuously.

During the last 6 months the book, The Alchemist, by Brazilian novelist, Paul Coelho, has popped up in and around my life with maddening frequency. It’s the story of a Spanish boy’s journey to the Pyramids and his destiny. Last week during a seminar I even had an attendee bring up the book in her introduction to the class.

So, I downloaded it on Friday and read it today.

If you’re struggling to make a dream come true or trying to find a dream to chase (which is really the only way to really LIVE life) you must read this book.

Here are a few quotes that screamed at me:

An Arab proverb: “Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.”

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

“If a person is living out his Personal Legend, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”

“No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.”

Too few people are reading. Don’t be one of them. Leaders are readers