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.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The 4th Is Over! What's Next?

We’ve all been in jobs in which we were asked to provide annual projections, sometimes 36-months forecasts. 

Long-range corporate planning needs those guesstimates but, from a practical standpoint, I’ve always been more focused and worked with more urgency looking at shorter horizons. 

I use holidays. 

Last weekend’s July 4th holiday signaled the middle of summer; next up, Labor Day. 

I can stay more focused and get a lot done if I'm staring down the barrel of 6-7 weeks instead of 12 months. 

Then, Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year—Easter—Memorial Day. 

From a practical standpoint, what if you looked at the year in chunks from 6-7 weeks to 3 months? 

And yes, if it works better for you to look at the year and break it up into chunks like that then go right ahead. 

Whatever works for you, works for you.

Have a great summer....and get those used fireworks stems out of the front yard...the neighbors were watching.

Saturday, June 29, 2019


Got a haircut yesterday and my barber schooled me.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the slang word, schooled. It means to be taught something in an embarrassing way.

My barber, Chris, is a good guy, laid-back, and has been my barber for years. Yesterday, we were comparing notes on the summer. 

Chris said he had only a few plans and asked what I had coming up.

I said, “Not much going on. Might go to the beach. But, I’ve got a book I’m writing that I’ve just got to finish.”

At this point I was schooled: Chris said, “Oh yeah, you told me about that.”

Now, I only see Chris every 3 weeks, or so, and it takes about as long to cut my hair as it does to eat a reasonably decent cheeseburger. So, if Chris can remember sayingI had to finish a book and I only see him every 3 weeks I’ve probably said something about the book a couple of times. 

In other words, I’ve shot my mouth off about it and have done very little.

Simple. Seven words. “Oh yeah, you told me about that.”


Wisdom—true wisdom—is stunningly valuable. As such, we should take wisdom anywhere we find it. 

Thanks, Chris. I’ll finish the book by the next time I see you.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Just Get Me to 5 O'clock

I’m sure you’ve had one of these days.

Have a 10 am meeting so I’m up and at’em.

Get in the car and the tire light is on. Get out and check and, sure enough, one of the rear tires is almost flat. Nearest air pump is at a local convenience store so I take off. 

Realize on the way that I have no cash for the air machine. But, YES! the machine takes an ATM card! Fill tire so it’s good. I’m rolling.

Make a stop and need the ATM card. Nowhere to be found. Search throughout the car and even call some friends and tell them to look out for my card. 

Than, I realize I left it in the air machine!

Get back in the car and the tire light is on again!

Call my meeting friend and we reschedule.

Head to my local BB&T and Allison, the welcomer, couldn’t have been nicer. Temporary ATM card and am now at the tire place getting the tire checked.

And, it is not even 10 am.

This is one of those days on which you thank God, in all Her wisdom, that today is Friday.