On A Sad, Reflective Day

On A Sad, Reflective Day

One of the most important mentors in my life passed away yesterday.  I should probably mourn his loss.  But I can’t.  He won’t let me.

I won’t use his name in this article.  And I ask you, if you know him, not to use his name in any comments you may feel compelled to add at the bottom of this post.  He asked me not to and I will not break that trust.

I can’t help but think about all the things I could have said and all the ways I could have honored him.   Not that I didn’t do that while he was alive.  I just didn’t do it enough.  The man took me from meagre beginnings to an enlightenment of who I was, who I needed to be and how I needed to get there.

There is an old expression, when the student is ready the master appears, and I promise you that’s true.  He arrived in my life at a time when I truly needed him.  We grew from mentor/student to longtime friends.  And he added Ginger and I to his life and his family.  His wife of 45 years, his two exceptional children and grandchildren were his greatest joy.  They were all with him yesterday in a quiet, loving place.  All gave him hugs.  All said goodbye.  All told him how much he was loved.  Then he asked everyone else politely to leave and spent the last few moments of his wonderful life holding hands with the remarkable woman that was by his side for almost five decades.

His passing wasn’t a surprise.  He’d been ailing for several years and always the realist, he knew his time was limited.  He confided in those closest to him exactly what he wanted done when he passed.  Rather, the list should be called the things he didn’t want done.  For that reason, we are today honouring his legacy and his wishes by observing the following requests.

As he directed, there will be no public funeral.  No announcement of his passing will appear in the local newspaper.  And there will be no outpouring of grief.  Instead of what is considered the norm in our society, he simply wanted those he mentored to spend a few minutes today in quiet reflection of their own contributions to the world, not his.

So, in his honour, I have spent most of my day counting the blessings that were showered on me simply from knowing him.  And tonight, also in tribute, I will sit down and enjoy two fingers of scotch.  Neat.  No ice.  And I will say to no one in particular, “So a duck walks into a pharmacy”.

See you around my friend……

Regular readers know that I always close with something to think about.  Today’s is something he would have loved.  And he would have laughed.

“I am prepared to meet my Maker.  Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”  (William Shakespeare)

 

Why Your Resolutions Will Fail

archer

Before I delve into a totally upside down look at New Year’s Resolutions, I do want to say Happy New Year to you.  You personally.  Thank you for reading my blog and putting up with my musings for yet another year.  I’ve been writing blog articles for almost 9 years and some of you have been with me since the very first post. Please know how much you are appreciated.

This blog was designed as a ‘safe haven’ in the wonderful world of blogdom. I don’t post sales pitches, recruitment articles or those annoying and distracting banner ads on my blog. I don’t blog for money. I do this because I need to write. I write because it makes me feel good, fulfills at least part of my creative side and feeds my soul. My goal is always to find the positive messages that we so desperately need in today’s world. And sometimes I just write because something funny happened on the way home.

YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS WILL FAIL

Pretty cheeky headline. I honestly don’t know most of my readers well enough to be positive that you will fail. So I’m going to identify the reasons that I believe most will and you can tell me (in the handy comments section below) which of these is your personal challenge. And please, if you are one of the blessed few that sets New Year’s Resolutions and achieves them, leave a comment about how you overcame the obstacles.

Fellow blogger Ramit Sethi notes: “In an interesting quirk of human behavior, we would rather continue doing something that doesn’t work than try something new that COULD work — but also could fail.…… Think back to your resolutions from last January. Did you follow through? Do you even remember what they were? Yet how many of us were tempted to make more resolutions this year?”

THE BIG THREE

Resolutions need to be SPECIFIC. If your resolution contains words like ‘should’, ‘could’ or ‘might’ you might as well just give up right now and avoid the frustration of the ultimate collapse of your goal. “I should start saving some money” is interpreted by your brain as being unimportant because the word ‘should’ really means “I’m probably not going to do this”.  Instead, try something very specific like “I will lose 15 pounds by March 01, 2016”. That’s just step one.

Resolutions must be REALISTIC. Despite your best bravado, a goal like “I want to go to the gym 5 times a week” is doomed to failure because the word ‘want’ is a failure word and honestly, how many times a week did you go to the gym last year?  Using the example in the previous paragraph, “I will lose 15 pounds by March 01, 2016. I will achieve this by working out at (the name of the gym) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:00 until 8:30 p.m.”

Resolutions must be based on a WORKABLE PLAN, not on willpower. Willpower will get you started perhaps, but long term it will fail without a well-defined, specific, calendared plan of attack. Resolving that you are going to accomplish something and that willpower will get you there is much the same as shooting into the air and waiting for the geese to run into the bullets. You must turn your specific, realistic plan into action. What day and time are you going to the gym to buy a membership? Is every single workout on your calendar? If not, it’s not real.

On a positive note, I believe that you can achieve any New Year’s Resolution if you create specific, realistic, well-planned goals. After all, you’ve taken the most important first step – you’re reading my blog 🙂

Here’s to an incredible 2016!

Tradition compels me to end with something to think about. “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” (Confucius)

On Our 35th Anniversary

On Our 35th Anniversary

Whenever I am asked to take the stage, whether for a motivational speech, training seminar or keynote address, I usually begin by talking about my family and how blessed I am. Much of that part of the presentation deals with the amazing woman I married. And almost every time, someone comes up to me after the presentation and asks the question, “How have you managed to stay married to the same person for so long?”

The answer is simple. Marry an angel. That’s what I did.

Today is our 35th wedding anniversary.

It is definitely not the way we intended to celebrate. Ginger is still in hospital today recovering from major surgery. When I get to bring her home later this week, there will be a minimum two-month recovery period. It has become my mission to make the next two months wonderful for her.

She deserves it.

Those that have had the opportunity to interact with Ginger know what I’m talking about. She is a most remarkable woman. She’s totally selfless, an incredible mother to our two amazing sons and their beautiful brides and a guiding light for her students.

She’s a teacher. During the course of her career she has taught almost three thousand 13 and 14 year olds. I’ve lost count of how many continue to seek her counsel. Many of them are married now, some with children of their own, and she is still their inspiration. But mostly over the past 35 years, she has taught me. I can’t even begin to list the ways in which she has made my life wonderful and meaningful.

She is my ‘moral compass’.

The one thing I know for sure, every time, always, is that Ginger will do the right thing, no matter the situation. From the time they were little boys, when our sons were at a crossroads, I’d ask them “what would mom do?” To this day, when I run into a challenge I ask myself the same question because one hundred percent of the time what ‘Ginger would do’ is the right thing to do.

She is my best friend, my inspiration and my guiding light. Last night after I arrived home from spending the day with her at the hospital she sent me a text. I am going to share the content of that text with you because it touched me to my core.  She wrote, “You are my hero!  Thank you for all you do. I am always amazed by the things you do for me and the patience you have.”  That was followed by about a dozen hearts and smiley faces and various other emojis. I’m taking that wonderful message at face value with the full understanding that it could have been the post-surgical meds talking.

I shouldn’t be anyone’s hero.

When I received her text I couldn’t help thinking that if I really could be someone’s hero, I would want to be hers because after 35 years she still knows how to touch my heart and my soul every day. To this day, I have no idea why she said “yes” when I proposed.   But I have been blessed for 35 years that she did.

To know in your heart that you are loved and respected by someone you love and respect is the most amazing feeling.  That’s what I wish for you this Christmas.

May your life be blessed by someone that owns your heart, is your best friend forever and  loves you every day with equal doses of respect, honour and guidance.

Happy Anniversary sweetheart!  I’m good to go for another 35 years if you are.

 

 

Text Neck. Yep, It’s A Thing!

Distracted by technology

Let me apologize in advance.  I feel a rant coming on.  So there I was, reading through some of my favorite entrepreneurial websites and I ran across a phrase I haven’t heard before.

Text Neck.  Yep, it’s apparently a thing.  And not a very good thing.

Have we really come to this point that so many people spend so much time on so many handheld devices that there’s actually a new medical condition?  I’m calling it a condition because I’m not sure that the word ‘disease’ fits.  Maybe it is a disease.  Staring at your device and ignoring people certainly has become one.  I’m not even sure what my doctor would say if I made an appointment to discuss text neck.  I’m guessing his immediate response would be “you’re an idiot”.  He’s blunt like that.

Text Neck even has people talking about the right name for this condition/disease/whatever.  Some think it should be called Text Neck and others are lobbying for the name iHunch.  I’m not going to jump into that highly controversial slugfest.  I’m actually getting a headache just thinking about it.

The worst part is that these are not just physical ailments.  They apparently also lead to psychological problems.  I thought ‘psychological’ problems were pretty much guaranteed if you were actually trying to figure out whether Text Neck or iHunch was a better name.

But I digress.  The article says that “If you haven’t heard the official term “text neck“–the slouched posture one gradually adopts over time from texting too much–chances are you’ve felt its physical effects in the form of headaches and a sore neck.

And even more concerning, according to a recent New York Times piece by social psychologist Amy Cuddy, existing research indicates that bad posture isn’t just reflective of a bad mood or low self-esteem–slouching may actually cause self-esteem issues.

STUDY SAYS ‘FEELINGS OF DEPRESSION’

June study conducted by researchers at the University of Auckland …found that participants with good posture reported feeling more confident and being in a better mood after the tests. And a study published last year inClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy found that bad posture may also affect your memory.

COPING WITH TEXT NECK

If you’re on your phone constantly, there’s no need to panic yet. Cuddy says that there are simple ways to prevent your phone from ruining your posture. Try using a larger device, so that you don’t have to slouch over as much to be able to read the screen. Remember to hold your phone at eye level, so you can read through your emails and texts while sitting upright.

I HAVE A MUCH SIMPLER SOLUTION

Put the darn device down and talk to people.

Or better still, put the darn device down and go have some fun outside.  You remember where outside is, right?  That’s the place you used to spend lots of your time before you discovered texting.  It’s easy to find.  Go to the door, turn the knob (usually a round thing that opens the door) and step outside.  You’re going to find the world’s largest screen with the highest possible resolution presented in breathtaking real colour.  Plus, it’s free.

Final thought is always something to think about:  “A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That’s why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.” (Truman Capote)

Philosophy From A Bear

bearbryant

I’m a football fan.  CFL, NFL and college games.  They’re all good.

Living where I do, I cheered proudly for the Red Blacks this season, but having been born and raised in the west I have to confess that if you cut me I still bleed Rider green.

I love football not only for the excitement of the game but for the many lessons that can be learned from the motivation, attitude and teamwork that must be in place to field a winning team.

There have been many life and success lessons learned from watching and reading what the great football coaches and players say and do. As I often mention during my workshops and coaching sessions, wisdom is everywhere. You just have to keep your spidey-senses up all the time.

Few examples better than this exist. I’m not sure who actually first wrote this but I’m going to give it to you as I heard it. The story centres on one of the greatest coaches in football history, Paul “Bear” Bryant. I’m pretty sure he didn’t write it. I’m not even sure if the story is true. But I like it and it’s my blog 🙂

By any standard, Paul Bryant was a superb strategist, motivator and coach. He is legendary, not only for his track record of success with the Crimson Tide but for his remarkable winning percentage and his longevity in the league. In the tough world of US College Football Bryant put up winners and contenders from 1958 until his passing in 1982. You read that correctly. Head Coach for 24 years. Remarkable.

All of which brings me to my point. Although the author of what follows is unclear, legend has it that it was found in Paul “Bear” Bryant’s wallet after his passing. Whether or not it was isn’t important. The message is.

THE MAGIC BANK ACCOUNT

Imagine that you had won the this lottery prize: Every morning your bank would deposit $86,400 
in a private account for your personal use.  Sounds amazing.

However, the prize has rules:

  • Everything that you didn’t spend during the day would be taken away from you.
  • You have no way to transfer the money into a different account.
  • You must spend  it or lose it by the end of the day.
  • Every morning the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day only.
  • Most importantly, the bank can end the deposits without warning at any time. It can simply close the account and the prize disappears.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Because you had to spend all the money today or lose it you would most likely buy anything and 
everything you wanted, not only for yourself but for everyone you love. You might even spend some of the money on people you don’t even know because it would be selfish to spend it all on yourself.

 Certainly, you would try to spend every penny because you knew it couldn’t be carried over until tomorrow.

ACTUALLY, THIS GAME IS REAL

Every one of us has already won this lottery. We just need to see it.

Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds 
to spend that day.
 When we go to sleep at 
night any remaining time we haven’t spent is not credited to tomorrow. What we haven’t used that day is forever lost.

Each morning, when we wake, the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time without warning.

SO, what will you do with your 86,400 seconds today?

Enjoy every second of your life! And remember to spend every single one.

As always, something to think about: “If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it. That’s all it takes to get people to win football games for you.” (Paul “Bear” Bryant)