Friday, April 21, 2017

The Perfect Workday: Febreze and The Liberal Redneck

The Perfect Workday: Febreze and The Liberal Redneck: I have a confession…wait…no…well, yes…I did steal a Z off the Chapel Hill Pizza Hut roof in 1973. But, it was a for a good cause! It was Pa...

Febreze and The Liberal Redneck

I have a confession…wait…no…well, yes…I did steal a Z off the Chapel Hill Pizza Hut roof in 1973. But, it was a for a good cause! It was Paul Zuerner’s birthday and, well, he’s a good guy.

(Sorry, I digress)

My confession is that I absolutely LOVE the new Febreze commercials. “I love youuuuu, but sometimes you stinnnnnk!” Go to the bottom of this blog and you should be able to click on and see it. Whoever the singer is, she’s wonderful.

Now, here comes a wild connection. If you have never checked out the comedian, Trae Crowder, The Liberal Redneck, he deserves your attention. I’ll go ahead and offer a disclaimer about his language (pretty heavy-duty), but this is a very smart guy with an ability to articulate some important points in a dramatic way. See the link below.

Today, I was listening to one of his rants recorded last fall after the election. He was talking about being at Thanksgiving lunch/dinner with relatives who voted the opposite of you. His best point was, “Just love’em, know they are wrong and just love’em.”

Immediately, I thought of the Febreze commercial! “I love youuuuuu, but sometimes you stinnnnnk!” Maybe that’s the best way to get back on solid ground with some folks.

At a time when polarization is the name of the game in our society we need to start thinking of ways to pull ourselves together. Humor can be a great way to do that. 

Remember, y’all….I love youuuuuu, and sometimes I stinnnnnk!!!

Wait…that’s not right.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Bad Things, Good People

Just received an email from a guy I’ve known for a number of years….here’s how the second paragraph started….”About six weeks ago I received the shocking news that I have stage 4 lung cancer. It’s inoperable and incurable.”  

This is a really, really good guy…we’ve helped each other in a variety of ways in business and, to some degree, in life….I immediately realized it was one of those moments in which I wanted to reach out and tell the people I love that I love them…

Whatever time you are reading this, pick up your phone and call someone; sit down with your laptop, pad or phone and text someone; walk in the next room where they are, get their attention if they are sitting near you, tap them on the shoulder and wake them up if they are lying next to you…and tell them you care about them.

This ride doesn’t last long and, to be honest, we don’t know when it will stop. We spend too much time focused on the little things as the big things ease on by us.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

CHICKENS??!!! WHAT THE %@#&??!!!

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”  Mark Twain

The rooster that alarm-clocked me this morning reminded me; Key West has the highest WHAT THE %@#&! factor of any place I’ve ever been. 

Oh, you’ll see/hear/taste/smell/feel some surprising things in New York, Tijuana, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Munich, London and Chapel Hill. But, for sheer volume of WHAT THE %@#&!, you’ve got to come to Key West. It is a wonderful microcosm of 21st Century America.

A friend of mine has been a solid, well-respected businessman in this area for 30+ years and, to him, all this stuff is like the stop sign at the end of your street; you see it and note it, but after you move past, it’s gone. He said, “The tourists love this stuff, but the locals think, ‘Just get rid of it.’” He also realizes, though, the value of the tourists.

Last night I leaned against a lamppost on Duval Street (WHAT THE %@#&! Central) and watched people’s reactions as they walked past one of the drag queen shows. As you can imagine, facial expressions ranged from horror to delight; from surprise to nothing-special. I wanted to be close enough to hear comments and the range was what you’d expect. “Wonderful!” “Godless!” “OMG!” (Literally, “O...M...G!”) and “Oh, My God!” “I loved that dress!” “Why do they do that?” And, the night’s winner, “What would their mother say?!!!”

Obviously, the comments are based on what’s normal for those folks…and, what they think normal should be for the rest of us. (see the Mark Twain quote above)

In Wednesday’s Raleigh News and Observer, writer J. Peder Zane talks about how the media is increasingly seen as an “enemy of the people,” as the president put it. And, while Zane certainly does not agree he does offer that the frequently left-leaning focus of the press is not supporting America’s claim to be the world’s free speech leader.

He says, “I know I’m right, but concede they have reasons for their beliefs. Most of them, however, don’t give my views the same credit.

Zane’s first sentence is how I see Key West, Duval Street and a lot of what is going on on our national stage. Unfortunately, lots of Americans seem to fit in the second sentence.

In all honesty, I like the WHAT THE %@#&! factor of life. So, the message I always get from Key West is, “Fun is the focus and don’t take yourself too seriously.” 

What if we looked at what is going on in America now in the same way? I mean…hey…you’re saying/thinking WHAT THE %@#&! every time you turn on the news or read a newspaper, anyway…right? 

(and head for Key West the first chance you get!)

If you know someone who might appreciate this, please pass it on.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Pants on Fire!

The last couple of days I’ve been working like my pants are on fire. At 8 am tomorrow I’m heading out for a 12-13 day biz/vacation and…let me stop right here for a second…my neighbors know I’m heading out and they are all armed, so if you want to come to The Tree House and snoop around please wear bullet-proof armor.

Now, as  I was saying, the last couple of days I’ve been working like crazy to get a lot of things done because I knew I’d be heading out pretty soon. I’ve got a To-Do List on a big flip chart beside the front door, am packing (HA! flip-flops, shorts and T-shirts except for biz days), loading the car, and reaching out to contractors to make sure things get done.

This is a well-known phenomenon, working to get ready to relax. We do a better job of planning with To-Do Lists, focusing on what’s really important, anticipating challenges that might arise and creating contingency plans, and creating partnerships so things get covered when we are gone.

Think about it; we don’t spend a lot of time pondering what we should do when a vacation is coming—we just jump up and do it! And, in most cases, when it’s time to leave I’m betting 80% of folks are standing at the door thinking, “Screw it, if I forgot something it’ll be here when I get back!” The other 20% worries about it during the vacation. 

Here’s my question: What if we spent one day a week working like we are going on vacation the next day? I wonder what we could accomplish?

I have no idea when you might be reading this…what if you looked at the next 2 hours as pre-vacation? What could you get done?

Please share if you know someone who could use this.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

It Ain't Worked Out.....

This morning on CBS Sunday Morning designer Betsey Johnson said, "It will all work out in the end. And, if it ain't worked out, it ain't the end."

Not a bad thought with which to start the week.

Know someone who needs it? Share.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Orange Heads and Shrimp Feet

“Good morning, class! Today we’re going to explore a couple of new, exciting and useful words.”


(Tommy) “But, Mr. Collins! The world is going down the tubes! Carolina lost last night and we have Duke coming into Chapel Hill on Tuesday! And, the smartest people in the world, accountants and movie stars, can’t even get a simple envelope exchange done right! And, worst of all, someone from Clemson is president of the United States!!!”

“Tommy, I’m a little lost on that last one.”

(Tommy) “The orange bobble head guy!!!! I’m telling you, the world is horrible and hateful and we’re all gonna die!!!”

“Oh. Well, Tommy thank you for that current events update. In fact, you’ve led us to our lesson today.”

“Class, Tommy has exhibited a wonderful example of paranoia. It’s a medical condition characterized by delusions of persecution and a fear of impending doom.”

“Today, let’s look at two words, neologism and pronoia.

Neoligism means a new word of phrase, which pronoia is. Pronoia is defined as the opposite state of mind to paranoia. It means having the sense that there is a conspiracy that exists to help the person, that life wants you to succeed and will help you.”

“Some people believe the world—life—is set up to help them have the life they want and be the person they want to be. Not without work, you understand, but they believe life is on our sides.”

“Tommy, what would you think about that?”

(Tommy) “I hate Clemson.”

“Fine. Tommy please go see Nurse Comer about your meds.”

“Class, what would your day and your life be like if you assumed, every morning when you get up, that things were going to work out your way? You would know that you’d do your part to create the life you want, but you’d also understand there are no forces out there that are automatically or naturally against you. That life wants you to succeed and will help you.”

(Carol) “Mr. Collins, Tommy just took off his shoes and it smells like shrimp back here.”

“Thank you, Carol. I’m sure life has a wonderfully positive reason for offering this experience. Class dismissed!!”

If you think this blog might help someone please share it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Let There Be Light

"No matter how long a room has been darkened, the entrance of light instantly illuminates it."
Ernest Holmes

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Best Advice

In December, I attended a party for the daughter of a friend. The young woman graduated from UNC-G and, as you can imagine, her mother and all concerned were delighted.

One of the guests brought an interesting activity. Each of the other guests was given an “Advice for the Graduate” sheet and asked to fill it in. Any and all of the advice would be valuable to any graduate…or anyone, at various times of life. 

Here it is:
Be ready to___________________________
Never forget to ________________________
Be open to ____________________________
Prepare for ____________________________
Always remember to ____________________
Don’t allow yourself to __________________
Focus on ______________________________
Don’t be afraid to _______________________
Always keep ___________________________
Always think ___________________________

Take just a moment and fill in the blanks for yourself.

PS…except for “Don’t allow yourself to,” the word “Love” is wonderfully fitting for all the blanks. 

Send this to someone you think might appreciate it.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

See, I told ya....

Was delighted and dismayed to see an article in the Sunday paper backing up my last blog; the one about people lifting all the soap, shampoo and toilet paper from hotel rooms.

In fact, the article talked about some types of low-rent theft I had not thought about; like grabbing handfulls of condiments you don't need at the fast food place.

Recently, I saw a posting on FB about a customer ordering a small coffee with 10 creams and 10 decide.

I'll be the first to agree there's big theft and little theft...but, it seems to me that the little thefts say just as much about the person's character.

Granted, I'm not one to be casting the first stone...about ANYTHING....but it seems silly and low-rent.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Suitcase Full of Toilet Paper

The last week was spent on the road from Lumberton, NC; to Portland and Salem, Oregon; and back to Atlantic Beach, NC. Sometimes I have to look out the window to remember where I am. Having so much time on my hands prompts some observations that are probably left alone.

One morning I was having breakfast in the lobby of one of the fine hotels in our country (really, you should see the lobby of The Grand Hotel in Salem, OR!) and as I’m finishing up I notice a woman—a guest—walking around with an armload of fruit. 

She was walking from bowl to bowl testing apples to get the best ones. When she noticed me watching she said, “We’re leaving.” To which I offered, “Obviously.”

A few minutes later she reappeared with two medium-sized BAGS; one filled with fruit and one filled with bagels. She walked over to a large bowl of yogurt cups and started checking them out.

Now, I get the fact that the food is just out there, and you paid for a room, and if you ate all of it right there you’d be ok. But, does that give you the right to simply help yourself to mass quantities? Am I off base or does the caper lie somewhere between being rude and stealing?

Before I left I got the desk clerk, the head of housekeeping and the manager of the breakfast area together and told them what I had seen. I asked, “At what point does this kind of activity go from helping yourself to theft? Or, is it theft at all?”

Their answers were great…and stunning! The housekeeper said, “I can’t tell you how many times we go into the room of people who are staying for a number of days and EVERYTHING is gone; shampoo, soap, both rolls of toilet paper, anything that isn’t nailed down. And we can see it in their luggage. I stopped by one room after they’d been with us for 4 days and one suitcase was filled with toilet paper!”

The desk clerk and breakfast manager were nodding the whole time.

I understand the sliding scale of honesty most of us operate with. But, I guess my thought is that if you’re going to steal something make it worthwhile…steal something BIG! 

That HD TV in the room was looking pretty sweet.

If you think someone might like this blog, please forward it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Are You Visible or Invisible?

Over the weekend I ran across a wonderful thought I, and some of you, need and can use.

From Mark Nepo’s, The Book of Awakening:
“the cost of being who you are is that you can’t possibly meet everyone’s expectations, and so, there will, inevitably, be external conflict to deal with—the friction of being visible (my note: don’t you love the phrase being visible?). Still, the cost of not being who you are is that while you are busy pleasing everyone around you, a precious part of you is dying inside; in this case there will be internal conflict to deal with—the friction of being invisible.” 

Upon reading the paragraph I immediately thought of John C. Maxwell’s advice, “If you want to live a happy and successful life you’ll have to get used to having difficult conversations with people.”

Are you visible in life? 

If you are, good for you! If you are not, why not?

Do you know someone who is not living a visible life? Send them this blog today.

PS…One precaution…are you assuming the I’m just being me outlook because you think it's a hassle to learn how to work and live with others? 

Or, as an excuse for being a jerk? We don’t need more of those; we have enough already.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Momma Called...Stick With Me On This...

STOP!!! I’m going to use a phrase in a moment and some of you will automatically want to click away from the blog….I’m asking you to hang on a second and see if I have something to offer you can use.

Here we go: Tonight is the college football national championship (that’s the phrase….click, click, click…see, I told you some folks would bail!)

This morning one of the ESPN talking heads was interviewing Shaun Alexander, a former Alabama All-America and NFL MVP. Alexander was asked about Dabo Swinney, the head coach at Clemson and a former Alabama player and coach, possibly becoming Alabama’s coach if UA Head Football Coach Nick Saban retired.

Alexander said, “You never know, but when momma calls….”

The talking head thought the comment was cute and kept repeating it. She obviously had no clue that the comment was based on history, on truth; maybe you don’t know the history either. 

So, here it is: In 1957, Paul “Bear” Bryant was coaching Texas A&M….short story is that he had pulled the Aggies out of the doldrums and made them winners…unfortunately, Alabama, his home team, had run into some down seasons…Bryant took over the Alabama football team in 1958 and went on to become a legend in college football. 

When asked why he came back to Alabama, he replied "Momma called. And when Momma calls, you just have to come runnin'." 

Shaun Alexander was simply repeating the thought from a legendary story.

The comment jumped out at me because a lot of us don’t realize what, for each of us, momma really is. Granted, for the vast majority of us momma isn’t really…well…momma, anymore.

But, what if you understand that momma is really your key motivating factor? What if it is the thing/issue/belief/truth—or maybe, yes, a person—for whom you would do anything? You’d move mountains, change your habits, get moving, stand up to anything or anyone! 

We all know the old phrase, Who’s your daddy?

The real question, if you want the life you say you want, is…what’s your momma? What, if it/they called, would bring you runnin’?

If you like this, Like it. If you know someone who could use it, pass it on.

Friday, January 6, 2017

3 Days With Bean Eaters!!!!

Stopped by Whole Foods last night to grab some last minute supplies before the blizzard. It was a panic!!

Every register was working and the lines stretched back up into the aisles. A worrisome thought was that the longest line was in the aisle where they keep the beans. Spending 3 days snowed in with a bunch of people who’ve been living off beans is not my idea of a great weekend…especially where there’s a fireplace in use!!!!

The thought that struck me as I left (no, I’m not a line-stander so I went to Food Lion and things were fine) was that most of those people—most of us, for that matter—will spend more time planning for a couple of snow days than we will planning to have a successful life.

Think about it…when I ask people in seminars how many of them make lists to help them be more effective and efficient I’ll get, MAYBE, 1/3 of the group raising their hands. But, they’ll make a grocery list in a skinny minute.

After graduation from high school or college the vast majority of Americans never read a whole book the rest of their lives. But, they’ll stand in an aisle reading the nutrition content on a box or pull a People magazine off a rack near the register and read it.

And, when I look in people’s baskets I see chocolate chip cookies and ice cream, beer, wine and mixers. Now, I love all that stuff, but you know a bunch of those folks are going to wake up on Sunday morning, look in fridge and think, “Dang, we’re out of eggs, milk and bread.”

“But, we do have beans.”

Will someone open a window…puhleeze!!