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)

 

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On Falling Down

On Falling Down

I’m a firm believer in ‘masterminding’ and one of the people I am honored to count as a friend, mentor and mastermind conspirator is Nancy Morris. Nancy is the ‘un-guru’ of business psychology and people development. She’s really good at what she does. We have lunch together at least once a month to chat.

LEARNING AT LUNCH

At our last lunch, we got onto the topic of inevitable failures in business and Nancy, as she always does, said something that got me thinking. I made a comment about people that always need to be right. Nancy was quick to correct me. She said, “No one thinks that they always need to be right. But many people think that they should never be wrong”. Told you she was smart. The paradigm shifted.

Being wrong is okay.  It’s actually better than okay.

FAILURE IS INEVITABLE

In a recent article on entrepreneur.com, Chris Byers, CEO of Formstack noted that, “In business, failure is inevitable. It’s what you do after you fail that makes a difference.”

I couldn’t agree more. However, it is also crucial to note that repeating the error is a choice. As infants we were all faced with the challenge of learning to walk. Our parents didn’t plunk us down in front of a computer, launch a powerpoint presentation on how to walk and hoped we’d ‘get it’. We fell down. Lots. A child falls an average of about 290 times before they actually learn to walk. Failure is how we learn. Failure is how successful people motivate themselves to move forward.

TRACTION IS ESSENTIAL TO GROWTH

Byers goes on to say, “In order come up with new and innovative ideas, new concepts have to be tried. New ideas don’t need to be committed to for life, but trying something new and seeing if you can get traction is essential to growth.

Make mistakes. Learn from them, don’t repeat them. That’s business. And it is the road to success.

Something to think about: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”  (George Bernard Shaw)

Who The Heck Is Miss Vickie?

Who The Heck Is Miss Vickie?

Every once in a while my thought processes wind up on a very twisted offramp. These are usually things that I think about late at night or when the power goes out.

Recently a good friend recommended a new flavor of potato chips called Miss Vickies Smokehouse Barbecue. I tried ‘em. Pretty good actually. But here’s where the lateral thinking got a bit wonky. I started wondering about Miss Vickie. Was she a real person or just some figment of imagination cooked up by a potato chip marketing guru?  Google, here I come.

Turns out that Miss Vickies is owned by Frito-Lay.  Aha, I thought to myself. There is no such person. It’s just a name created to catch my attention. However, a little more Google and voila, there really is a Miss Vickie. The recipe originated with Vickie and Bill Kerr at their potato farm in New Lowell, Ontario. The chips saw their debut at the 14th annual Alliston Potato Festival in 1987, gained quick popularity amongst festival go-ers and over the next few years the chips were produced and marketed from Pointe-Claire, Quebec until they were purchased by Frito-Lay in 1993.

It wasn’t a big leap from there to start wondering about other brand names. You can see how this almost turned into an all-nighter. I just had to know how far I could take this so I compiled a list.

REAL PERSON OR FIGMENT OF THE IMAGINATION?

(See how many of these you get correct.  Answers at bottom of page)

Mrs. Fields?

Chef Boyardee?

Dr. Pepper?

Granny Smith Apples?

Marie Callender?

The Reuben Sandwich?

Duncan Hines?

THERE IS A POINT TO THIS

In today’s world of instant worldwide communication, internet marketing gurus and global reach it is crucially important to make sure who you’re dealing with. When you’re approached with a great new product, idea or opportunity, please do your research first. Anything can be made to look real on the internet. As an entrepreneur its very easy to make snap decisions and many have lived to regret their decision. Here’s a good rule of thumb.  The more pressure that someone puts on you to “start today before the opportunity is gone”, the more likely there’s a reason they want your money today.

Be careful out there my friends. And if you’re looking for a great article on how to find a legitimate opportunity, you really should click this link and spend a few seconds reviewing an article called ‘How To Start A Home Business’.  It’s safe.  No sales pitches.  I know because wrote it.

And as always, we end with something to think about. “Your initial instincts about investments and people are usually correct. We do a lot of due diligence in this business and most of the time it comes out where we started.”  (Alan Patricof)

ANSWERS

(Tell me how many you got correct in the comments section below)

Mrs. Fields?  Real Person. Mrs. Fields Cookies was founded by Debbi Fields (b. 1956, Oakland, California)

Chef Boyardee?  Made up. Chef Boyardee was a fictional creation whose name was taken from the given names of the company’s three founders: Boyd, Art, and Dennis.

Dr. Pepper?  Figment of imagination. Charles Alderton, a young pharmacist working at Morrison’s Pharmacy in Waco, Texas is credited as the inventor.

Granny Smith Apples?  Real Person. The Granny Smith originated in Australia in 1868. Mary Ann (Granny) Smith found the seedling (believed to be French Crab) growing in her garden where she had thrown out some apples.

Marie Callendar?  Real person. The legacy of Marie Callender began in the early 1940s in Orange County, California, when Marie, an accomplished baker, first launched her legendary pie business delivering freshly baked pies to area restaurants.

Reuben Sandwich?  Real Person. Most print evidence credits chef Reuben Kulakofsky from the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska.  Sorry about that New York.

Duncan Hines?  Fictitious, sort of. There was a real Duncan Hines, salesman, entrepreneur, author, critic and philanthropist. He did not, however, invent the cake mixes that bear his name.

Why Your Resolutions Will Fail

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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.