Monday, November 4, 2019

AAAIIIEEEE!!!! MY EYES! MY EYES!!! Oh, wait, it's morning....

What’s the first thing you do every morning? 

No, not that. 

I mean, to what do you pay attention? 

Believe it or not, your first focus of the day tends to set the tone for the rest of the day. 

My late mother-in-law used to say, "If you wake up killing snakes you'll be killing snakes all day long."

Ok, well, I appreciate country wisdom as much as the next person...but, you get the meaning.

First thing in the morning I do some stretches in bed. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not doing some sort of heroic workout...I'm just doing some simple movements to (at 67) make sure all the parts are working.

Then, I sit on the side of the bed and, out loud, say, “Thank you.” And, “It’s going to be a great day.”

Now, let's be honest; sometimes neither phrase comes out very enthusiastically, but it’s a positive start.

What could you see, hear, say, feel or think that would start your day off in a positive way?

I have a friend who does a meditation; I tried that and immediately went back to sleep...sitting up.

I tried the early morning workout...3 times...and I distinctly remember thinking on the way back home after the last one, "Just shoot me."

Over the years we all come up with habits that get us out of bed in one way or another. Try a couple of things that are positive and see what works.

One other thing I do is check out before I go to bed. I search, "Positive Quotes" and read one or two before retiring, so I'm setting my mind in a positive way. 

Then, in the morning, right after I do the "Thank you," and "It's going be a great day," I check Pinterest again for another positive quote.

Here's what came up this morning, "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every now and then or the light won't come in," by Alan Alda.

Maybe it's time to give your rise-and-shine routine a little scrubbing.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

From Wild Wings to Ruling the World

The little guy couldn't have been much more than 4-years old and he was tearing up the game on the tablet in his hands. He was totally oblivious to the chaos around him.

His dad had brought him to Wild Wings on Sunday afternoon for all the pro football games. Fans on all sides were yelling at the tops of their lungs.

Dad was having a beer (just one) and the game king had already had two juice boxes (apple).

As I watched, his fingers flew across the pad and his face immediately reflected wins, losses, shoot downs and being shot down. He was in the zone.

His father looked up from watching the pad over his son's shoulder and our eyes met. Both of us shook our heads, amazed at the kid's prowess.

At 4-years old I was probably still learning to wave bye-bye. Today, saying that young people are growing up with extraordinary techno skills has become, well...ordinary.

Here's the point: No matter what your age, if you are not reaching out to someone younger to learn techno skills, hacks, ideas and predictions you're already falling behind.

Every Tuesday morning at 10 am I meet with an incredibly smart, ambitious and astute 35-year old.  I talk to him about the bigger picture of business and he laughs about the techno-topics I have no idea about.

The one thing we always agree on is that in a couple of decades the 4-year old Pad King and his friends will be ruling the world and we'd better understand the language they are speaking.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Thoughts About a Turkey Leg

Ran into some guys around lunch on Monday and one had what was left of a  Famous Turkey Leg from the NC State Fair.

We all got a laugh about it and I congratulated him on having ANYTHING left after leaving the fair. I can't even remember everything I ate last Friday.

But, after I drove away I thought about the guy's willingness to use what he had to fill a need. I saw a woman throw away about that much turkey leg as I was walking out the fair gate.

Too often, we overlook resources we have that could move us to the next level or, at the least, help us take a step forward. The resources could be time, energy, money, contacts, stuff, knowledge or...leftovers.

A few years ago I met a couple from Nashville, NC, who wanted to start a small business. They needed $375 to get started, but didn't have the cash. I asked them, "When was the last time you cleaned out your closets, attic and garage?"

They looked at me and their eyes lit up. Two weeks later they had a yard sale that pulled in $758. I remember the number because I loved the example.

We always have something we can use; even it it's only our sweat, our brainpower, or a leftover Famous Turkey Leg from the NC State Fair.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Uh, Oh! Time To Pull Over

Recently, I saw a wonderful posting on FaceBook. 

It read, “Do you ever feel like your body’s ‘check engine light’ is on and you’re still driving it like, ‘naaah, it’ll be fine’?”

When we are young and relatively stupid we often ignore the warnings our bodies and vehicles give us until we’re sitting/lying on the side of the road.

I will admit to being guilty on both counts.

Now, though, I’m at a point in life at which I pay much more attention to what my body, mind and heart are telling me. 

I am acutely aware when I need more water, food, sleep and/or exercise. And, instead of pushing my limits as I used to do (often a decision made by my ego), I’ll slow down a bit and, literally, ask, “Mike, what do you need?’

It’s amazing how often I’ll start to convince myself that something serious is happening when, in fact, I simply need to drink a big glass of water.

A few years ago I started checking the list above—water, food, sleep, exercise—when I began to slow down and get the, “Uh, oh“ feeling. 

If I go through my list and there is a check beside each item I know my down feeling comes from something inside my head or heart. So, I’ve added, “Positivity” to the list.

Sometimes a life event, negative thought, or memory will start holding me back and I’ll feel myself easing or oozing into a funk. 

At that point I realize I need a Positive experience/thought/person…and I, purposely, seek it or them out. 

I might watch a movie I know I’ll like, go to a museum or book store, get together with a friend, read something positive (maybe spiritual), look for a positive experience (meditation or going for a walk), or simply make a list of the things that are going right, right now.

As the wonderful Philly group, The Stylistics, sang in 1971, “Stop, Look, Listen.” Very often, that’s all it takes to start getting back on a positive/healthy track.

What is your body/mind/heart telling you—right this minute—you need to pay attention to? 

Use my simple list—water, food, sleep, exercise, Positivity.

Now, ease into it…….

Monday, July 29, 2019

I Don't Want to Grow Up...But....

If you were to talk to some of my best friends they would tell you that I have resisted being a grown-up most of my life. 

And, in many ways--good and not-so-good--I've succeeded; at least from outward appearances.

It seems, though, that we are moving through a time in which even the folks who are supposed to be the grown-ups in the room are acting out. 

In a recent interview, Gayle King of CBS This Morning, said, “The world seems upside down. We are encouraged to be our worst selves. In all levels."

Remember the homecoming parade in the wonderful movie, Animal House? One of the best scenes was when one of the Delta Fraternity guys led the Faber College band down a blind alley.

We are moving through one of those times in America when the folks at the front of the parade aren't leading us where we need to go.

So, if the grown-ups aren't going to act grown-up, what do we do?

Gayle King added, "We need to start holding it down, individually.”

And yes, I hate it! I've spent more than 4 decades perfecting my I'm not a grown-up act.

But, the outcome we are looking at--think again of the Faber College band in the alley--is not something any of us want.

So, here's our first contribution: You and I can do/talk/think something positive. When folks start down the negativity road we are hearing in conversations, seeing on television and online, and feeling in many situations, ask, "What is something good that is happening?"

I know it sounds trite. And, I know there will be some people who talk about the negative as if it is a good thing, but we need to bring them back to the positive. 

Remember, in some of our darkest days the real grown-ups--Lincoln, Roosevelt, King--focused on the future and the positive. 

It seems that we all need to step out and be grown-ups. 

If I'm willing to do it, you certainly can.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

You Take Care of You

One of the lectures we all get as children is, “Don’t be selfish!” 

Unfortunately, a lot of us take that directive waaaay too seriously. We internalize it to mean that almost anytime we are watching out for ourselves we are being “selfish.” 

Please take this moment as permission to take care of yourself. 

If self-care is new to you, start simply; drink more water, take a walk on a regular basis and try to get a little more sleep. 

It’s OK, you now have permission.

 Even the people who lectured you will agree. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Dealing a Hand of Misery Poker

I bet you have an acquaintance like one of mine, someone who loves to play Misery Poker. If Pouting Paul is in the room when someone notes a challenge, defeat or hurt he always has a worse story. 

Your mentioning that you bumped your hip on the kitchen island this morning brings a tale of woe from PP that has him figuratively helicoptered to Duke Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. 

Now, when he starts dealing a hand of Misery Poker I’ll gently ask, “Paul, what happened today that is good?” 

His awareness is starting to light up.