Monday, December 17, 2018

Trip and Tumble, or Take It In Stride


You know, on those weight/height charts I’m either waaaay too heavy or I should be 6’3”. In fact, I tell people that my body looks like what someone who goes to the gym 4-5 times a week, but is also the poster boy for Golden Corral buffets, looks like. ‘Cause that’s me, right?
So you understand right away that I’m not saying I’m an Olympic athlete—although I think I’d look great in one of those skin-tight suits, but that’s another story.
However, on Saturday night, once again, going to the gym on a regular basis saved me. 
I was helping a friend get settled into her new condo and when I stepped off the first step of a flight of stairs I tripped.
Now, let me set the stage…this was not one of those, “Ooops, I scuffed my shoe” kinds of trips. This was an upper body pitches forward, there’s only a small handrail but it’s out of reach and I’m looking at the landing about 10 steps down kind of trip. This was a double-trip. A trip on the stairs and a trip to the ER.
However, I was able to hop off the top step, turn in the air and land on the second step. In an instant. Whew!!
I stood there for a second and did what you would do; said a little Thank You! prayer, turned and looked at the remaining 8 steps and the landing, and then simply shook my head in amazement. 
Later, while lying in bed in what, yes, was a moment of self-congratulations, I thought about my instant, automatic reaction. I realized there are a ton of folks my age and younger who would have been lying in the ER with a cast on an ankle, at least.
I was not in that condition because I try and stay active; gym time, biking, walking, some swimming and stretching. No running, though. If you ever see me running look behind me. There will be something bigger and meaner than me chasing me!
My whole point here is that there are moments in all our lives at which the physical life we lead either helps us win…or fails us. 
I’m for winning. Stretch a little and take a walk today.

And, watch out for the stairs.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

5 Weeks...Think About It....5 Weeks


Thanksgiving is over! 

You’re thrilled you don’t have to see some of those people for another year, you’ve thrown out or frozen the left-over left-overs and you’ve started thinking about the Christmas decorations. 

Take a few minutes and think about this: You have about 5 weeks until the end of 2018. What goal did you have for this year you haven’t reached? 

You have 5 weeks. 

GO! 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Simplify Thanksgiving


It’s Thanksgiving Week and talking about being thankful seems like such a cliche. But, many of us are running wide-open planning for the day, cleaning, shopping, cooking, traveling, getting ready for Black Friday, and wondering how we can minimize our time with annoying family and friends. Whew!!! Try these 2 simple things: First, pick one person who you are thankful is in your life…and tell them. Second, take a walk. If the weather is not cold and wet get outside alone or with others and enjoy the day.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

November is National Caregiver Month


Stop for a moment and consider the people you know who are family caregivers, have been family caregivers or can see it coming in their futures. 

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, during the past year, 65.7 million Americans—or 29 percent of the U.S. adult population involving 31 percent of all U.S. households—were involved in caregiving. That means around 1 out of 3 of the adults with whom you come in contact are carrying a weight you many not be able to see. 

Reminds me of the quote by Ian Maclaren (also known as John Watson) in 1897: “Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle.”

Let's remember caregivers.

Sunday, October 28, 2018


Is it just me, or have we all been seeing Christmas decorations since July 4th?! 

Since this week sees the beginning of November it does seem time to start looking ahead to the holidays.

During the next few weeks I’ll be suggesting a variety of gifts and experiences for you and others that can get you and them closer to a Perfect Workday. 

My first suggestion is a wonderful little book, It’s Never Too Late, by Patrick Lindsay. Hardbacks are available at amazon.com and are incredibly inexpensive, $2-4; making them perfect gifts for family, friends and clients! 

Each page offers the suggestion that It’s Never Too Late To…succeed, be content, save money, find a soulmate, have a pet, say I love you, ask for what you want, be free. 

Interestingly, my favorite life quote is, “It is never too late to be the you you might have been,” by George Eliot (which, by the way, was the pen name of a woman, Mary Ann Evans). 

There is another It’s Never Too Late book by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way. All three  books push the reader to find those talents, skills and dreams we all have within us and create successes. They all make wonderful gifts for ourselves and others. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Are You a Sore Head?


Almost everyone knows the trail of failures Abraham Lincoln experienced before becoming president, but he kept trying. 

None of the stories about millionaire successes or superstar athletes start with, “I was winning from Day 1!” They rejected defeat and kept plugging away. 

As Americans, we count persistence as one of the key components of success. In fact, grinding persistence is a cornerstone of the Protestant work ethic;  one of the founding values of the United States. 

However, many cultures around the world and throughout history take a different view. They believe that if you consistently find a door locked, well….as success coach Jay Shetty offers, “If the door doesn’t open maybe it wasn’t your door.” 

Now, I’m not saying we should give up on the first rattling of the doorknob. 

But, after going through all my keys and banging on that door for awhile I’m going to ask myself four questions: Do I have a clear PURPOSE/GOAL I truly want to see fulfilled? Do I have a definite PLAN, not just a hope? Am I FOCUSING my energy on reaching the goal? Do I have OTHERS who will support and encourage me to keep going (and who may have ideas I haven’t tried)? 

I’m all for persistence but, in some cases, continuing to bang your head on the door just gets you a sore head.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Thank you, Hurricanes Florence and Michael


Here’s the question that should be on lots of our minds: Many of us have recently experienced two of the largest hurricanes to hit the United States in the last 50 years…what have learned? 

Of course, as communities, states and a nation we should continue to prepare for these eventualities.

But, what did you and I learn as individuals? What will we do differently? Buy a generator? Start keeping more bottled water during hurricane season (late summer/early fall)? Keep a little more cash on hand? If you live at the coast will you heed the warnings in a more realistic way? If you leave the coast where will you go? 

We all experience challenges in our lives. The key is to learn from them. If we keep responding to challenges in the same way we get the same results. If the results are what you want, great! If not, you need to try something different. 

I’ve learned two lessons from hurricanes Florence and Michael: Do a better job of keeping a full tank of gas in the car; don’t wait until the gauge shows, “Empty” to fill up. And, don’t keep so much junk in the garage that I can’t quickly make space for my car. Simple things? Yes. Would doing those things make my life less stressful when a challenge arises? Absolutely! 

What did you learn?

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Wisdom Straight From the Clothes Basket



“Have you ever taken anything out of the clothes basket because it had become, relatively, the cleaner thing.” The wonderful line was written in 1963 by Katharine Whitehorn, a celebrated writer for London’s major newspaper, The Observer. Whitehorn was known for her wit and was a keen observer of the changing role of women.

 I love the quote because it is a bump against perfectionism. I truly believe that perfectionism has ruined far more dreams than lack of money. 

You believe you can’t step out until just the right time, or until you have finished your current project, or until you have boxes checked in all the right areas. 

Granted, most of us have areas of our lives in which we want things to be a certain way. But, take a moment and do a little self-examination: Do you think in all-or-nothing terms? Something is either right or wrong, good or bad, perfect or a disaster?

Do you tend to think in one extreme or the other, rather than seeing the characteristics of people and situations existing along a range of values? For example, you tend to think, "She is mean,” instead of, “She can sometimes be mean.” "I had one cookie and messed up my diet I might as well eat them all.” 

Cut yourself some slack. Give yourself, and others, the benefit of the doubt.


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Just a Little Different

Stay with me on this, even if you don’t care about sports I’m sure you will get the point I’m offering. 

My goddaughter is a senior at the University of Alabama and she is wonderful! She invited me to Tuscaloosa last weekend and I had the chance to check off one of the items on my Bucket List; I saw the Alabama Crimson Tide play a home football game. 

In the 8-hour drive south I kept wondering if the experience at a game there would be any different than the experience here; I go to UNC games. 

It was a different world. Dramatically.  

The fans at Alabama are very serious about the game. Once the game is in hand, though—it was Alabama 28-Louisiana Tech 0 at the end of the first quarter—they relax and have fun. Carolina fans’ primary interest is the social side; the game is secondary. 

Children at Bama games aren’t playing with toys in the stands like they do in Chapel Hill, Bama kids are watching the game and yelling “Roll Tide!” And, they can tell you about the icons of Crimson Tide football. I mean…little kids. 

Here is the Lesson: In one area of their lives those folks live in a different world. Not better, not worse, just different. Are you looking at some people in your world as different? Is it slowing you down? For the most part, they are just like you and me.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Slipping, Stumbling and Making It Happen



Believe it or not, there are only a few really important questions you need to ask yourself in life. 

One question you might not consider is, “How do I treat myself when I slip on one of the banana peels of life?” What is your self-talk like? Be honest. Do you berate yourself, “I’m so stupid!” “I always mess up!” Or, do you perceive any mistake, setback or flaw as a failure? 

If so, you are holding yourself back. Research is beginning to show that self-compassion—cutting yourself some slack—is more important than self-esteem—seeing yourself as a winner—in your trek toward success. 

I’m not talking about making excuses for yourself. You have to try. In trying, though, stumbles are simply a natural consequence of growth. We all stumble, but some of us see the bump in the road as failures and let them slow us down. 

Winners see the slips and slides as the outcomes of continuing to try. So often, our egos get in the way. We are so concerned about how others see us that we stop trying. It is 100% guaranteed that you will not fail if you do not try. 

And, most of the time, those people who are laughing and pointing at you when you stumble are not trying. 

They don’t really matter, now do they?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Goodbye Florence

Most of you reading this have been in the path of Hurricane Florence for the past week. I’m sure your experiences have ranged from benign—little or no loss of power and no flooding; to horrifying—no power, flood damage, maybe displaced from your home. 

If you are reading this, though, you are alive, you have power for your computer and/or phone and you can probably walk over to your sink and get clean drinking water. 

Thousands of our friends and neighbors aren’t as fortunate. In coming days and weeks you will encounter endless messages encouraging you to help with the recovery. Do it. Get out and help in some way. 

However, don’t get so engaged with others that you forget to take care of yourself. This has been, and will continue to be, a stressful time for all of us. Drink more water and try to get more rest. 

Take time to appreciate your blessings. In fact, start and end each day with thankfulness. Each morning, write down 3 things you are looking forward to, today. Before bed, jot down 3 things for which you are thankful. 

We are here, alive and able to handle challenges; those are my 3 for today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Flying the Flag



A hurricane flag is not usually a sign of good things to come; it's a sign of challenges and, possibly, dangers. The wonderful thing about it though is that it gives a sign of what might be coming.

What are the hurricane flags in your life? Are your credit card accounts getting too high? What are your scales telling you? Are there family issues you should pay more attention to? What's happening at work?

We all have challenges facing us, but there are always a few things we'd better take seriously.

What are the hurricane flags in your life?

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

One Of These Days...

How often do you hear yourself say and/or think: One of these days I’ll… Or, Let’s get together soon. (What’s the definition of soon?) When I get time I’ll __________. You know, I should __________.

 STOP!

 If something is important, truly important, make time for it. Set a day and time on your calendar and get started. You don’t have to finish whatever it is or do an extraordinary job, you just need to start.

 You need to step out, meet with that person, get something down on paper or on the screen, make that purchase…begin. 

Good intentions are wonderful, but that’s all they are, intentions. 

In the next five minutes get started on something you have been meaning to do. Point your mind in that direction and ACT! You’ll be amazed at the fact that the first step leads to the second and that leads to….

Monday, August 27, 2018

I'll Eat the Lion!!

If you have small children and/or an eye for detail you’ve probably noticed that the new Animal Crackers box has the animals out of their cages and roaming free. 

A suggestion from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) led to the change by Mondelez, parent company of cookie producer Nabisco. However, PETA’s influence was only part of a basic understanding that the brand needed to change with the times. 

So, what does the new Animal Crackers box have to do with you and me? It prompts a question: What cages keep us from roaming free and having the life we’re capable of? Are there habits, people, circumstances, beliefs or attitudes keeping us caged? 

Here’s the wonderful reality: You have the key! Reach through the bars, unlock the cage and set yourself free!


Friday, August 24, 2018

Below is Seth Godin's blog for today....great thoughts. Who do you know who fits this description?

No reason to be surprised 

Now and then, someone comes along who surprises the status quo. She didn’t do well on her SATs but ends up writing a brilliant novel. She didn’t go to a famous college but builds a successful enterprise…
The surprising thing isn’t that success is uncorrelated with the filters we’ve set up. The surprising thing is that we think the filters and signals are actually accurately correlated with future success.
They’re not.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

What Happened?!!!

Yesterday, it hit me.

Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer,  is less than two weeks away.

How's this for a cliche', "Where has the summer gone?"

My summer has been challenging on a variety of levels and I've put off a bunch of things for a whole range of reasons.

Here's what I've decided: I'm going to make time for some fun stuff during the next couple of weeks. I'm going to jump on some of the ideas I"ve put off so I could get work done...things like going to the pool, going to a couple of movies, reading a couple of novels and taking some naps.

We hate to admit it, but so often we get caught up in life and tell ourselves, "I'll get around to that." But, we never do. And then we look back with regrets.

What is a fun activity you've been putting off? Yes, I get the fact that you've always wanted to go to Hawaii, but unless you are Bill Gates or Elon Musk you probably can't just call your private jet and take off this afternoon.

Look for something easy, close, economical and FUN that you can do...right now...and do it!!!

I'm going to post this blog and read the first 10 pages of a novel I've been hoping to read. What are you going to do...right now?!!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Around the Corner

The other day someone asked me, “What were the best days of your life?” I answered, “I’m hoping they haven’t come yet.” So many folks believe—though they may not admit it—that the best days of their lives are behind them. If that’s the case then whatever happens going forward is a downhill slide to the end. What a sad way to live! Instead, what if you have the attitude that a wonderful experience is just waiting for you to walk around the corner? The key, though, is that you have to be willing to make the walk; to offer the effort it takes to turn the corner and meet the extraordinary future. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Don't Look At This!!

See, you looked anyway!

It's the middle of summer and, whether we admit it or not, we're all looking for ways to simply chill. I probably spend more time on youtube.com than I should but, I'm tellin' ya, if you want to raise your spirits here are three suggestions that work for me:

1. Go to youtube.com and search "Fails"...these are videos of people doing outrageously crazy things and, to be honest, sometimes banging themselves up. This is the kind of humor where you crack up when someone falls down. If you are squeamish about this sort of thing Fails is not your glass of sweet iced tea.

The next two are wonderfully positive!

2. On youtube.com search, "People are Awesome" and you'll see folks doing all sorts of extraordinary and, to be honest, stunningly amazing things. It's all physical stuff that you'll look at and wonder, "How did they do that?"

3. On youtube.com search "Like a Boss" and you'll see much the same thing as on People are Awesome.

Bonus: There is one series on youtube.com that combines Fails and Like a Boss...it's kinda cool...folks are doing the same things (like skimming a railing on a skateboard) the Fails folks are...well...failing, while the Like a Boss folks are killin' it!

Try'em and see what you think! Have a great summer!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Toss It!

What have you thrown away lately? No, not whatever might have been on your plate last night at the end of the meal. I mean STUFF you don’t really need. I just put a Planet Fitness t-shirt in the donation box; tossed a bunch of business cards; trashed a stack of magazines and put some old stereo equipment that didn’t work out beside the street. All of that took about 5 minutes. Try it. In the next 5 minutes see how much can you throw away. And, if you hear that voice in your head saying, “But, I MIGHT need this!” don’t listen to it. Now, try 5 minutes a day for the next week. You’ll be amazed!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday the 13th...a new one

The blog below was written exactly 4 1/2 years ago, December 13, 2013...seems like the thoughts still work: 

Today is Friday the 13th and I’m presenting my last seminar for 2013 and believe me, the irony that the program is titled “Positivity” has not escaped me.

The key to positivity is to increase the quantity of small, positive experiences. Doing so raises our level of positive feeling.

Raising our level of positive feeling has been shown to improve health, make us more confident and improve our quality of life.

A wonderful example of positivity is the simple fact that I get to present a program like Positivity.

What 3 things will you do today that are positive? If you do’em I promise you’ll get a little bump in positive feeling. Do that enough and that little bump starts turning into a general feeling that things aren’t as tough as you might think.

Science is showing that the old talk about “think positive” really does has a therapeutic effect...it may even be able to offset Friday the 13th.


Have a great weekend and see you Monday.

Start Now!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Reach Out to New Vibe Folks

It’s often said that each of us—our vibration/rhythm/attitude/success—is the average of the five people with whom we spend most of our time. 

Stop for a few seconds and think about who, in your life, those people might be. Tick, Tick, Tick. 

Now, here’s the tip: If you were going to change some of those folks in order to raise your average who would it be? And, yes, I get the fact that some of them may be family members who are challenges, but with whom you have to spend a significant amount of time. 

So, what if you found some new contacts whose vibration/rhythm/attitude/success was high enough that it offset the lower vibe folks? 

Look around for some people who would be positive, new contacts and create a simple plan that puts you in touch with them.

And, have a great July 4th Week!!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

What Do You Want to Attract? SEXIST ALERT!!

SEXIST ALERT!!!

In today's world you never know what will crank some people up, so let me go ahead and ask forgiveness for the simple example below:

I have a friend from college who used to stand on the sidewalk and when young women would walk by he would often ask, "Would you like to go to the movie tonight?"

He didn't know them but, as he told me, "I thought they were cute and it seemed like a quick way to get an answer."

The key: He took action.

I thought of my college buddy when another good friend, Garrett Biss, a wonderfully positive speaker and author in New Bern, NC, passed on some Jack Canfield (author of the Chicken Soup For the Soul series) advice yesterday. He said, "Canfield talks about the fact that action is the core of attraction"

Now, if God opened the heavens and said, "Ok, you little scooters, here's something that will truly make your dreams come true..." the advice would be something like what Canfield and Biss offered.

Action is the core of attraction.

What do you want to attract? What action do you need to take to attract what you desire?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Monday, June 18, 2018

Rub Some Dirt On It

I'm willing to bet you've been dinged in the recent past.

The last week or so has been a time of dings for me that have been emotional, physical, professional, financial, and relationship.

As most of you know, a "ding" is a minor injury or minor damage. It can be a stubbed toe, a somewhat hurtful comment said or heard, an unexpected expense, a business connection that didn't work out or the damage caused by that dope who didn't put his grocery cart away.

Dings aren't fatal...unless you get too many of them at one time...but they are annoying and they slow us down. In fact, if you focus too much on the dings then every little injury or bump-up becomes a big deal.

The major damage is that dallying on the dings pulls our focus away from the bigger, more important, challenges; the stuff that really matters.

However, if we rest up/tune up/gear up we can usually correct or heal the ding.

As we used to say in Robeson County, "Rub some dirt on it and let's get back to playin'!"

Have you been dinged lately?

It might be time to rub the hurt spot and move on.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

What Would the Undertaker Say?

"Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry."
Mark Twain

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Last Sentence Should Be On a National Monument

This is Seth Godin's blog today. A great thought. And, the last sentence is so uplifting it should be on a national monument.

How far behind? 

Should you give up?
There are people who have read far more books than you have, and you will certainly never catch up.
Your website began with lousy traffic stats, in fact, they all do. Should you even bother?
The course you’re in–you’re a few lessons behind the leaders. Time to call it quits?
Quitting merely because you’re behind is a trap, a form of hiding that feels safe, but isn’t. The math is simple: whatever you switch to because you quit is another place you’re going to be behind as well.
It’s not a race, it’s a journey. And the team that scores first doesn’t always win.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Ya Gotta Help Celebrate This Birthday!!

Where do you get life advice?

If you are like most of us you pick up a tidbit of information here and there, get your fingers burned and learn a little more and, hopefully, end up in friendships and relationships with good people.

If you're smart you seek out people who know what they are talking about and learn from them. For the last 50 years, one of those folks has been Dr. Ruth Westheimer...who turns 90 today!

At 4'7," skating out on the thin ice of sex talk with that crazy German accent, it was easy to blow her off as an oddity. But, if you listened to her here-are-the-facts and here-is-the-fun focus on one of life's most wonderful topics parts of your brain and body had to start lighting up!

Here are a few things you probably don't know:
- Grew up in Frankfurt, Germany
- Sent to school in Switzerland in '39 after her father was arrested by the Nazis
- Parents died in the Holocaust
- Trained with the Israeli army as a scout and sniper
- Wounded in battle
- Married 3 times

If you believe great life advice only comes from the people/broadcasts/websites/sources you pay attention to most of the time it's a sure bet you're going to miss something that could help you have a better, more successful, happier life.

Celebrate Dr. Ruth today!

PS....look for information somewhere new today.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

How Do I Keep These Papers Together?

Today is National Paper Clip Day!

Created in the late-1800s, paper clips have changed very little. They still do the job they for which they were created.

Think about what life would be like without paper clips; papers everywhere, fingernails torn and ragged from trying to pull out staples.

Also, think of all the other uses for paper clips: hooks for Christmas decorations, fish hooks, toothpicks, plant stems, window locks (hook and twist) and many more.


All Hail the Paper Clip!!! Simplicity itself.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How Do You Decide to...Decide?

You know, there are some decisions I'm great at making and others...well...

I can't tell you how much money/time/stress/heart-hurt/physical pain indecision has cost me. My tendency to see a wide range of options/opportunities and want it all has been stunningly expensive.

And yes, I get it that that outlook would be judged as immature by lots of folks...however, I know others who see it as optimistic and hopeful.

Suggestions for dealing with indecision range through:- Flipping a coin- Examining the upside/downside- Acknowledging the outcome of indecision (what happens if I don't decide?)- Sleeping on it- Doing a survey among friends and/or experts- Trusting instincts- Setting a deadline- Getting out of your head by changing the environment

How do you deal with indecision? Zap me back and let me know!


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Hit the Spinner!

Ok...you didn't expect this....the device above is a potty training urinal. Now, stick with me...

You use 4 powerful suction cups to hold it to the wall in your bathroom. Little boys try to hit the orange spinner in the middle so it teaches focus. Then, a parent comes in and lifts the light green container out and empties it in the toilet.

Understanding how little boys--and sometimes, big boys--think and the need for potty training, whoever came up with this is a genius! While there is a serious purpose, it teaches a necessary skill and there's a fun aspect to it! It's learning and conditioning without thinking!

Let's take this one more step...what do you need to learn in life? Is there a way to make the learning a little more fun? DON'T BE SO GROWN UP! Some of you are thinking this is silly...well, sometimes silly creates success.

My philosophy is, "Whatever makes it happen makes it happen."

If this gadget interests you for kids or grandkids (it's a perfect baby shower gift!) go to https://amzn.to/2GZouET.

Remember, hit the spinner!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ever Crimped a Beer Can?

Anything that makes life easier is a good thing. If you go into almost any room in my house you’ll find a pen and paper; all the better to catch ideas or jot down reminders.

That’s a life hack.

We all know hacking first referred to cutting something with rough blows, but for the past few decades the term has meant using a computer to gain unauthorized access to data in a system. In other words, hacking is a shortcut. 
The term, life hack, has popped up as a way to describe any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency in all walks of life.

You can use empty toilet paper rolls or binder clips to organize computer cords; a pants hanger can hold a cookbook open; you can use an old ketchup bottle to squirt pancake batter into a pan instead of slopping it around with a ladle.

A friend of mine always puts a little crimp, an indention, in the side of a cold, sweaty beer can to make it easier to hold.

Search life hacks, or go to https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/100-life-hacks-that-make-life-easier.html and check out some of the cool ideas.


What do you do to make life easier?

Friday, April 6, 2018

Thanks, But No Thanks

 We’re all busy. 

But, some of us have a bad habit that makes busy even more challenging. We regularly take on more than we should. The habit’s source can be anything from having a lot of responsibilities and no one else to help to having trouble saying, “No.” 

Think about this for a moment: Do you have someone in your life who continues to lay responsibilities on your doorstep? They could be a family member—young or old—coworker, friend, neighbor or fellow church-goer. 

If you’d like to try an interesting experiment, the next time they bring you a pile of something to do simply say, “I’d love to help, but right now I’m totally swamped.” And then, shut up. 

See what their comeback is, if they have one. There will be a percentage of folks who will keep at you and it will be a wonderful opportunity to simply repeat, "As I said, I'd love to help, but right now I'm swamped." Don't say, "Maybe later, or give me a few minutes." Simply shut up. 

They'll probably give you that LOOK...you know the one that says, "I don't know who you are now." That's a good thing. Simply offer a light, "I'm sure you understand" smile.

However, you’ll be surprised how many will say, “Oh. Well. Ok. Thanks anyway.” And, you won’t have to worry about them as much in the future. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How to Best Use a Cellphone at Lunch

Learning a lesson that can make you much more successful is always a great thing! I just learned had one of those lessons; I learned the most effective use of a cellphone at lunch.

If you’re like me you see people on their phones at lunch all the time. Recently, saw a table of four people and all four were on their phones at the same time!

Today, I was eating lunch at Whole Foods and the person sitting next to me at the counter was reading a book…that’s right!…a book!…with pages and a cover and everything!

The wonderful lesson I learned was that she had placed her phone horizontally at the top of the open book as a way to hold the pages down so her hands were free. It was the best use of a phone at lunch I’ve ever seen.

What if, for one lunch hour a week, you read something? I don’t mean reading the newspaper or a current magazine; give that trying-to-stay-up-on-the-world part of your mind a rest. You could pick a book you’ve always wanted to read; remember those books you should have read in high school and college? Or, read a book about a topic you’ve always wanted to explore, but never thought you had enough time?

Now, some of you are thinking, “Well, Mr. Smartilonia, I could read a book on my phone.” True…but, it isn’t the same…and research proves that.

So, take a book to lunch. Plop your phone on the open pages to hold them down and as you’re reading look around. When you meet the eyes of one of those folks who’s shoveling sushi in their mouth and talking on the phone at the same time…just smirk.


I promise they are looking at you and thinking, “I should be doing that.”

Monday, March 5, 2018

How Good Can You Be?

Whether you like sports or not, hang with me for about 2 minutes.

This past weekend was extraordinary for two athletes; one at the end of life and the other at the beginning. 

Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a sub-4 minute mile died. In 1954, at the age of 25, Bannister ran a 3:59:4 mile at a time when “experts” in sports and medicine thought the effort could be deadly to those who tried. The accomplishment unlocked potential—both physically and psychologically. Six weeks later Bannister’s record was broken…but, he led the way. Eight years later Jim Beatty, a member of UNC-Chapel Hill’s track team was the first to run an indoor sub-4 at the Olympic trials in Los Angeles.

At Oxford, I had the opportunity to visit the track on which the record was broken and speak with folks who knew Bannister. He was a doctor and academic in town. By all accounts, he was a wonderful person and a outstanding professional.

The intriguing part of the story that is rarely told is that Bannister was a medical student in the early-50s and did not have time to train as other athletes did. He broke the mile into quarters and knew the time he needed to run in each quarter in order to break the record. He trained for short, intense periods. He believed that if he focused on the quarters he could last the 4 minutes it would take to break the record. Today’s high intensity training proves what Bannister believed over 60 years ago.
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On Saturday, Shaquem Griffin, a linebacker from the University of Central Florida, also stretched physical and psychological boundaries by  bench pressing 225 pounds 20 times at the NFL Combine. The event showcases future college players who hope to be pros. In attendance are scouts, team executives and the media. The “Deuce and a Quarter” as it’s sometimes called is not a lot of weight for these guys, but it’s the standard for strength testing at the Combine.

Stephen Paea, a defensive tackle from Oregon State University, did 49 bench presses with 225; the most ever.

So, why is Griffin’s number important? Because, when he was 4 years old his mother found him in the kitchen with a butcher knife trying to cut off the fingers on his left hand. He had amniotic band syndrome, a congenital birth defect, that led to constant, excruciating pain. Doctors amputated the hand the next day.

Even with only one hand Shaquem kept up with his twin brother, Shaquill, on and off the field. The two played at UCF together. Shaquill was drafted last year and plays defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks.

The day after his bench press success Shaquem ran a 4.38 second 40-yard dash (the standard for speed), the fastest time by a linebacker in over 10 years. He certainly is no slouch, he was the 2017 American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year.

He said, “I always hold myself to a higher standard than a lot of people just because if we’re running drills, if I drop a ball, they’re going to be like, ‘Well, he dropped the ball because he has one hand.’ If anybody else drops a ball, they’re going to be like, ‘Well, maybe it was a bad ball.’”

Griffin was fitted with a prosthetic hand as a freshman and wasn’t able to lift the 45-pound bar. His best effort until Saturday was 11 reps with 225. He hoped he could do 6 at the Combine with the crowd watching. On Saturday, as his numbers went up, people were screaming for him.
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Both these men showed what we, as humans, are capable of with determination, focus and effort….and you and I complain when our latte is too hot?


Please.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

So, What Are Ya Afraid Of?

During the past few months I’ve felt like I was running through an obstacle course with crocodiles, dragons and pits full of lions with my pants on fire. 

Unlike many men I have no trouble admitting that my fear factor was pretty high.

Interestingly, over the last couple of days I’ve been getting messages from all kinds of sources about how to deal with fear. Online notes have just popped up, articles in magazines simply appear and TV commercials kick out the word “fear” on a regular basis.

I may not be the fastest dog on the track, but I can take a hint. Here are five of the best tips I’ve seen for dealing with fear: 

1. Do something! Get moving and take a step towards a solution right now. The interesting topic of micro-progress encourages us to take a small step.
2. Use positivity. Do something that makes you feel good. Be careful, though. Don’t choose a negative stimulus like alcohol, drugs or too much food.
3. Imagine the best. Imagine what it would be like if this situation worked out for the best. Feel what the success would be like. Use the mantra, “This is going to work out for the best!”
4. Accept that fear is part of life, it’s an innate reaction that kept us alive as cave people. I was a reaction to what we perceived as a threat to life. Understand, though, that fear today is very different than when we worried about being eaten.
 5. Ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Once you understand the worst threat you can come up with a plan to deal with it.


Even those among us who seem the bravest feel fear at various times. The difference in them and most of us is that they have learned to put fear in its place and keep moving.