Saturday, April 16, 2011

Death and Taxes

Death and Taxes

Well, it’s April 15th and one of the two things “they” say you can always look forward to happens today: Taxes. Glad that’s done! Now what do I have to look forward to: Death. Not!

As I wrote out the check to send in with the forms that I’m not sure even my accountant understands, I could hear the President and all the other talking heads in Washington proudly proclaiming that they’ve managed to reduce future budgets and thus our taxes by one trillion dollars. I don’t know about you but I have no way to (1) understand what one trillion is or (2) how they think that will happen or (3) what that would ever mean to me and you and everyone else. 

It seems that their plan is to reduce Medicare and social security and that should somehow do it. I guess if that’s true, then after they get finished with making sure we’re less healthy and secure, the next options will be further reducing the monies spent on fixing potholes; really, do you think they could spend less on all of this infrastructure stuff? Hey, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind paying whatever they say is needed to keep this boat afloat, but don’t insult our collective intelligence by suggesting the only pain we all have to share is the one that will make us less healthy and secure. C’mon Barack, why do you think we all took that leap of faith and voted for you???  But I digress…

If the only other things I can be assured will happen are taxes and  death then I’m terribly disappointed. I mean, what about a new days dawning, buds on the trees turning each spring into a beautiful bloom, babies yet to be born that will add to the family tree, friends whose friendship gets stronger every day of every year, new ideas and  business plans that come together and succeed, new styles of shoes to be worn to play, the next great home cooked meal, love that grows and warms the heart, the new puppy that replaces the aging pet you loved so dearly, the chance to rest and get ready for tomorrow?

Each of us has a glass that is half full of all that life offers and holds, and we can and should look forward to the results of our efforts to fill it further.  And that’s why we should never settle for death and taxes being all there is. That’s why we should get up each morning with the burning desire to do more, be better, try harder and care a lot. That’s why we can’t squander any of these precious moments by being less than attentive, respectful, trusting, understanding and loving.  And that’s why we should demand more of, and from, the people who we entrust with everything from planning taxes to running the things we need and use. That’s why we should never settle for “the only things we have to look forward to are death and taxes”. Get engaged, demand more of yourself and others, expect more than just enough to get by. You’ll be glad you did, and we’ll all be better off for it.

My message this week is about loyalty – to family, friends, colleagues and all the other things you believe in.

“Win one for the Gipper!”  Knute Rockne

Knute Kenneth Rockne (1888 – 1931) was an American football player and is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in college football history. He was the coach of the Notre Dame team in the 1920s and George Gipp was his star player. The story goes that Gipp fell ill and when dying he asked Rockne to promise that, when things were going badly for the team, he should inspire them by asking them to 'win one for The Gipper'. Rockne did, and the team won; later Ronald Reagan played the part of Gipp in the 1940 film about this called Knute Rockne: All American.

During 13 years as head coach, Rockne oversaw his "Fighting Irish" to 105 victories, 12 losses, five ties and five national championships, including five undefeated seasons without a tie. You can’t have a winning streak like that without a great deal of loyalty from those on and for your team. Great leaders know that people have to follow them willingly in order to be successful. And people will follow or ‘win one’, only when they’re inspired and feel like they want to and will be recognized for doing so. This simple truth is one that you need to learn if you want to be successful and great.  Always remember to do this if you want loyal friends and colleagues ‘win one’ for you.

Stay well!

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