- Share more
- Make time to talk
- Go outside together
- Turn off the computer
- Reach out
- Make new friends
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Everywhere I went last week I saw people carrying gift bags into stores and businesses – everyone was giving gifts to family, friends, colleagues, casual acquaintances and even those they didn’t know personally but knew they were in need. This reminded me of when I was a kid and my father would buy several dozen bottles of “schnapps” (that’s how he referred to all types of liquor) and give them to his best customers. He’d buy the bottles, package them in colorful bags or boxes, carefully fill out the to and from information on those little note cards and then load them all into his car for delivery. As the youngest, I would sometimes get to accompany him as he visited these customers and expressed his thanks. The warmth and sincerity of these visits and the feeling behind the giving impressed me because these were not only the friends and family that I knew from my childhood; this gift giving was a whole lot more inclusive than that. And from this I learned that everyone matters when it comes to saying “thanks”.
From this simple practice I learned several things:
• Treat your family like friends and your friends like family
• You shouldn’t wait for a special occasion to let people know that you care
• Simple gestures mean a lot
• A “thank you” goes a long way
So, from these lessons comes the real meaning of this holiday season. It’s a time to be thankful for all that we have, to be mindful of what having family and friends means and to never overlook or take for granted those around you who give and mean so much to you. Take time today to make sure you’ve expressed these sentiments to all who matter. And if you haven’t, well it’s not too late because it’s never too late to let someone know that you care.
My message this week has to do with actively participating in the things you do:
“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.” -George Jean Nathan
George Jean Nathan (1882 – 1958) was an American drama critic and editor. He graduated from Cornell University in 1904, where he was an editor of The Cornell Daily Sun. Noted for the erudition and cynicism of his reviews, Nathan was an early champion of Eugene O’Neill and co-authored with H.L. Mencken.
Elections are the ultimate form of participation and Nathan is right about the effects of not voting. The same can be said about participating at work: think what might happen if you do not get involved and make suggestions, if you hang back and let other less qualified people struggle without your assistance, if you look the other way when mistakes are made or if there are questions that you fail to answer completely. If you do not participate fully in these kinds of situations they might not turn out as well as they could or should. If you do not do all you can then you’ll always wonder if your participation might have helped improve things. Make a commitment starting today to get fully involved and then actively participate in the things that are happening in your world. Don’t allow bad things to possibly happen because you didn’t.
Happy Holidays and Stay Well!
Friday, December 17, 2010
I’m old fashioned enough to still believe that being and interacting with people in the flesh (as they say) is better than connecting in cyberspace. Oh sure, it’s easier in cyberspace (like this email message) but I think there’s something to be said for writing a letter and putting a stamp on it and sending it in the mail or picking up the phone and dialing the number and saying hi and then talking live or sitting down with someone and watching and listening to them with your eyes and ears and all the rest of your senses. Yeah, Skype is cool, but being in the same real space and time with someone is way cooler and a whole lot more satisfying. If we don’t watch out, one day soon we’ll all just be staying in bed with our WiFi connections rather than the human connections that are so much better. When those old AT&T commercials used to encourage us to “reach out and touch someone”, I don’t think they ever envisioned that we’d be doing it in such impersonal ways. In this holiday season, when family and friends are so important, reach out in a more human way: in-person. I think you’ll be glad you did.
In this holiday season, it’s important to be more human than not, and not-for-nothing, my message this week is about life’s blessings:
“Reflect upon your blessings, of which every man has plenty, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” -Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812 – 1870) was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era, responsible for some of English literature's most iconic characters (like Ebenezer Scrooge). The continuing popularity of his novels and short stories is such that they have never gone out of print.
Counting one’s blessings often leads to the question of whether the proverbial glass is half full or empty – this age-old reflection in many ways points out clues to a person’s personality and style. If you look back on the things you’ve done, the results they produced, their impact on others and the effect they had on your life, you can’t help but see and compare the good versus the bad. And therein lies the basic challenge of life: were any or all of these more good than bad? Which is it? And what then can or will you do about it? In the end, it’s probably better to be an optimist about things, to see the good things and try to improve upon them and to recognize the not so good and find ways to improve them too. Do that, and you’re likely to be seen and heard and respected as a real person. And that’s a good thing!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
My message this week is about the power of teams and the fact that "two heads are better than one".
“In order to have a winner, the team must have a feeling of unity; every player must put the team first -- ahead of personal glory.” Paul “Bear” Bryant
“Nothing but a winner”: that's how Bear Bryant described himself even before he broke the record that made him the "winningest" coach in the history of big-time college football. Every player on every team that he coached knew what victory demands of you every day of your life.
Big time coaches are always talking about “team”, and how there’s no “I” in team, and why everybody has to work as one in order for all to win. Every kid who ever watched the Three Musketeers learned about “all for one and one for all”. So when you go to work, or take on a chore at home, or play with friends, you know intuitively that it’s best to work together. You understand (like your mother told you) that “two heads are better than one”, and that “the load gets easier when everyone puts their shoulders to the wheel”. You know these things – so accept these truths, live them all the time, believe in them with all your heart, and let them create that feeling of unity that puts the team first – ahead of personal glory. That’s how to be a winner!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
I noticed in last week's local Laguna Beach paper that a group of Tibetan monks were here to create a sand mandala. Always having loved that old Peter Paul and Mary song "The Great Mandala", I ventured over to the church where they were working to see what this was all about. As I sat there and watched, the words from that song filled my head:
Take your place on The Great Mandala,
As it moves through your brief moment of time.
And it's been going on for ten thousand years!
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” Confucius
Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC) was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the ‘Spring and Autumn’ Period. His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. Stay well!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I love Halloween; I paint my face and put on my Uncle Fester stuff and generally have a great time - I'm so into this that I also have one of those bulbs that lights up in my hand or in my mouth. During these last days of October I can focus on little else. As a kid I couldn't wait to get into my costume and spend the night collecting more candy than I could carry in a pillow case. As a young adult I attended endless parties in hopes of extending this fun day beyond its 24 hours. As a parent I think I had more fun than my daughter - for sure I was dressed up long before she was. And for more years than I care to admit I'd work at scaring the kids who came to our door by designing costumes intended to scare them away empty handed. I was so excited this week when a client was having a Halloween Friday when I was scheduled to meet with them - I was up and 'painted' long before I was supposed to be there. You get the drift - I am in the spirit!
Let's admit it - life is supposed to be fun and there's too little of that to go around these days. When's the last time you had some fun - not the kind where you smiled politely, but the times when you and your friends, family and colleagues had a really good belly laugh together?? There's too much serious all around us - life, work and even stuff that's supposed to be playful - we need to have a little fun! Halloween is the one day when you're supposed to have fun - so get out and do it.
"If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play." John Cleese
John Marwood Cleese (born October 27, 1939) is an English actor, comedian, writer and film producer. He achieved success as a member of the Monty Python comedy group. He later co-founded the production company Video Arts, responsible for making entertaining training films.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
I spent this past week hiking and driving around the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York and looking at the beautiful colors of the fall leaves. Like so many others, I try to I make this pilgrimage every year - not that I'm afraid I'll miss it - but because I want to see how time and nature continue with cycles that are timeless. In addition to the beauty, I am reminded of this process of renewal - the leaves change colors, they fall off the trees, and then next year the buds will grow and the process will start all over again. There's a comfort in knowing that life goes on and that we can be assured of these cycles - they provide the foundations of our lives and ease the transition from one season to another. And I am also reminded that time marches on, and that we should make the most of each of the seasons of our lives - to smell the leaves, to appreciate the beauty around us, and to be thankful for all that we're given. Take time on this holiday weekend to enjoy and appreciate all that you have - because even though beautiful things like these fall colors come every year, there's no reason to take them for granted.
My message this week is about professionalism and the need to see the glass that is our lives as always being half full.
"It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light." Aristotle Onassis
Aristotle Sokratis Onassis (1906 – 1975), commonly called Ari or Aristo Onassis, was a prominent Greek shipping magnate. His grandmother Getsemani always told him to remember: "men have to construct their destiny."
Life is full of good and bad - most professionals understand this and seek to balance their lives so either extreme doesn’t overly distract them. If you focus on all the bad stuff it will frustrate you, it will make you miserable, it will color everything you do. Sort of like thinking the glass is half empty. But, on the other hand, if you keep a positive attitude then all things are possible, you’ll have the confidence and courage to try new things, you’ll see all the opportunities that are in front of you. Sort of like the glass being half full. Onassis was right when he said to focus on the light – even in the depths of darkness (or when the glass is nearly empty) – that’s the time to take a deep breath and redouble your efforts to find ways to complete new things and be successful.
With the right attitude anything is possible, everything is doable and nothing is beyond your grasp. And once you try, you own your destiny. So, go on – focus on the light.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
This is a big week for me - I'm going to be 60. For the past several months, friends and family have all been quick to point out that 60 is the new 40. I gotta tell you: "I don't know what that means!" When I was growing up I clearly remember that I was most impressed with my father (and all the other parents of the kids I knew) when he was 60. People I meet today - personally and professionally - all seem to be most thoughtful and successful at that same age. So what's with trying to hide behind some false assumptions about age. We're all living longer and doing more longer, and there's no reason to make up something about when it's supposed to be really good. As I reach this milestone I have to admit that it ain't bad. Yes, I'll also admit that in my late teens and early 20s I thought anyone who was 60 was ancient, but now I can see how mistaken that was. Today I have less to prove; more experience, knowledge and perspective; a healthier attitude about being and doing good (personal/work/health) and a growing sense that I can help others with all that I have become. So forget about 60 being the new anything - it's 60. And I know with certainty that if I want 60 to be anything special, then I have to just get off my ass and make that happen.
Friday, September 24, 2010
This week we had an “equilux” - that's a day when day and night are just about equal in length. We normally refer to this as the autumn equinox or solstice, but by any name, this passage from summer to fall is a time when change again occurs around us. The days are now noticeably shorter, the nights are cooler, and the leaves are beginning to change. A bright Harvest Moon ushered in the change of seasons this year - that hasn't happened in nearly 20 years and is not scheduled to happen again until 2029. This full moon also coincided with the alignment of Jupiter and Uranus, adding extra flavor to this year's equinox. Try to figure the odds of all these things happening at once; on second thought, just enjoy this confluence of events and the world around you. Take a moment in your busy life to slow down and reflect on the passage of time and what this all means to you and those you love.
Are you going to add anything to life today? On your way to work, did you add to the craziness on the roads or were you one of the considerate ones – driving defensively, staying in your lane, and slowing and stopping when you were supposed to? At work, are you helping others, staying positive, lending a hand and adding to the general morale – or are you just there, waiting to see what’s in it for you? At home, will you help others and be there for your friends and family, or just sit in front of the tube and veg out? You’ve got choices – today and everyday; you can add to all that’s good, or take more than your share. If you have a passion for life – all of it – then you’ll give it your all, all of the time. Make up your mind to passionately add to your life today and see how that affects the world around you.
It’s not easy to find out whether someone is passionate; you can’t just ask - it has to be experienced. The best way to determine if it’s there is to see what shines through a person’s personality and actions. Be aware that what you’re thinking, feeling and doing shines through you to those around you. Make sure that the you that is seen by others is passionate about the everything you do. You’ll be glad you did, and so will they.