Blog Post # 323 – Perpetual Optimism

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier,” General Colin Powell.

It can be hard to stay positive.

To be optimistic when times are tough.

But every day is a learning opportunity.

A chance to improve.

Hanging out with people who are overly negative and complaining all of the time is a drag.

Brings us down and slows us down.

When we view a challenge as something that we believe that we can overcome, success is possible.

When we look at it pessimistically, success is most likely impossible.

Times are hard right now.

But this presents us an opportunity to be optimistic once more.

To acknowledge the tough road ahead but in a positive way.

We have a lot to offer.

And can serve as a light in these dark days.

Optimism is contagious.

Get the fever.

And, together, we can do anything.

Blog Post # 322 – Learn Something New Everyday

Last night, the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, Mike Matheny, spoke at the Father-Son Banquet at my son’s high school.

Matheny gave a fantastic speech and I am now a big fan.

The coach is a voracious reader.  He confessed that most of the books that he reads are about leadership and excellence.

He listed some of my favorites.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

Mindset by Carol Dweck.

All the leadership books by Ken Blanchard.

Coach Matheny had many great lessons for the young men and their dads.

We will discuss some of these in future posts.

He talked about following a Hall of Fame manager, Tony LaRussa, after Tony’s last team won the 2011 World Series.

Prior to the transfer of power, Matheny asked LaRussa for a sit-down.

He brought a big notepad and several sharpened pencils so as to take lots of notes from the Hall of Famer.

Matheny asked LaRussa what he needed to know about coaching.

LaRussa smiled and said, “learn something new every day.”

Matheny nodded, wrote this down dutifully and asked, “what else?”

LaRussa replied, “learn something new every day.”

That’s it.

Love this anecdote.  Applies to all of us.

We need to have a curious mind.

To find different opportunities to learn something from somebody else or from some experience that we go through.

And to see the cumulative effect of this learning.

To keep improving.

To find wisdom in small things.

To act on the wisdom and to never stop learning.

Love this.

 

Blog Post # 321 – It’s Different Now

Things have changed.

It is different now.

Before, I sat back.

Before, I listened.

Before, I was chill.

But things are different now.

Now, I speak out.

Now, I organize.

Now, I stand and say with a loud voice that this is wrong.

What you are doing is wrong.

I stand with the powerless.

I speak on their behalf.

I fight you with everything that I have.

Fight you in court.

Fight you in the press.

And I have allies.

Friends with bigger brains than me.

Bigger hearts than me.

More courage than me.

And they empower me.

It’s different now.

For sure.

Blog Post # 320 – What Say You Now?

You said that he wasn’t going to do all of the horrible things that he promised he was going to do.

You said that we should give him a chance.

You told yourself that it was okay to vote for a racist, but that vote did not make you a racist.

You told me that everything was going to be okay.

Well … now here we are.

This is who you voted for.

This is your candidate.

He hasn’t improved since the election.

He has gotten worse.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

We are now just seeing it on an expedited basis.

Closing our borders to refugees.

Ostracizing and vilifying 1.2 billion people for practicing their religion.

Shutting down the study of climate change.

Getting into bed with Vladimir Putin.

Do you continue to feel your vote was properly cast?

Do you still think that I’m crazy for having opposed this man so vigorously?

Do you now see what you have wrought with your vote?

What say you now?

There is still plenty of room in the resistance.

We will welcome you back with open arms.

Once you have had enough, just say the word and help us in the struggle.

What say you now?

Blog Post # 319 – A Collection of Mornings

A collection of mornings.

Newlyweds awaken with their whole weekend in front of them.

Nothing to do really, but they convince themselves that they are very busy.

Later, the mom has a fitful night sleep as their baby boy kicks inside her belly.

She never really fell asleep, but as the sun peeks through the window shades, she dozes off to a gentle sleep.

Fast forward and the baby has entered the world like a rocket, taking the parents by storm.

The baby nestles against his mother’s chest as the father rises to go to work.

More babies follow.

More mornings follow, too.

Mornings filled with family breakfasts, daily runs to the daycare as the sleep deprived parents try to get themselves presentable for work.

The babies grow.

They start sleeping in big kid beds.

Getting themselves dressed and making their own lunches for school.

Mornings consist of mom and dad trying hard to awaken the children so that they don’t miss the bus.

Future mornings will include loading up the family truckster to take sonny boy and his siblings off to college.

Dressing up for the children’s weddings.

Going to visit newborn grandchildren at the hospital.

Each of these beautiful days is brought to you by the morning.

A glorious morning where anything is possible and the rest of your life still stands before you.

Pretty cool, eh?

Blog Post # 318 – Price to Pay

We want to be in shape.

But we can’t find the time to workout.

We want to be rich.

But we spend almost every dollar that we earn.

We want our children to love us.

But we don’t spend much time with them and when we do, we (and they) are looking at our phones.

Real success carries a price.

The price of admission.

A price to pay.

Way too often, it seems, we glorify the result without putting in the work.

When we do this, the glorified, fictitious result often fades away without ever coming to pass.

Maybe we should focus on the work.

Focus on the exercise and the fit body will result.

Focus on the saving money and the bank account will grow.

Focus on the children and watch our relationships improve.

Having to work for something is not so bad.

In fact, the result that comes from hard work and sacrifice is that much more meaningful than getting lucky or having something handed to us.

Luck plays its part.

But you can’t outsource the real work that needs to get done.

For today, let us think more about the effort and less about the result.

Blog Post # 317 – Giving Voice

When did we become so jaded?

So cynical?

Our compassion muscles seem a bit flabby.

We forgive less often.

We empathize less frequently.

We find ourselves more strident in our views.

Let’s call a timeout.

A break.

We have a chance every day to listen.

To take action.

To be open to another’s perspective.

When things are tough and the political news upsetting, it is tempting to hunker down and focus on what’s best for ourselves.

But we are called to something higher, something bolder.

To look outside our immediate circle and to provide shelter to those who need it.

To empower the powerless.

To give voice to the plight of another.

We can, of course, do nothing and protect our little place in the world.

Or we can stretch ourselves, to reach out and help another.

Will we heed the people’s call?

And if not now, then when?

Peace.

Blog Post # 316 – The Other 1 Percent

The other 1 percent.

No, this is not a blog post about the rich versus the poor.

What we are talking about today is incremental, 1 percent improvement.

My buddy Greg Jenkins, Infusionsoft guru extraordinaire, sent out an email yesterday linking to an article by James Clear.

The article talks about how if we make 1 percent improvements across the board, the ultimate impact of those improvements vastly exceeds the sum of its parts.  

In other words, if we make tweaks to our systems or our lives by 1 percent across the board, then all of those tweaks combine to bring about extraordinary change.

Clear uses the example of the British cycling team that implemented a strategy to make 1 percent improvements in all aspects of the team’s routine in an effort to win the Tour de France within 5 years.

They won it after only 3.

The team changed the gels they used, the pillows they used, they washed their hands more frequently, etc.

All of these small, little changes had a profound impact on the success of the team.

So often in life, we look at change as a monumental task.

But, in reality, it is the small, incremental, purposeful changes that bring about massive success.

For today, let us think critically at the way that we are doing things.

And search for small, achievable changes that can add up to extraordinary change in our lives.

Blog Post # 315 – Action or Distraction?

Justifiable distractions.

We need to stay aware and awake as to what is going on in the world.

As engaged citizens, we should be paying attention.

And they do what they can to get us to tune in.

They tell us alternative facts.

They report on the latest outrage.

In fact, they have spent a lot of time and money to figure out what pushes our buttons.

All in an effort to grab our eyeballs.

To have us paying attention.

But is it possible that all of it is still just one big distraction?

Is paying attention to the powers that be really going to affect us in the here and now?

Obviously, they can set policy and implement regulations that harm us or the people that we care about.

And we do need to be vigilant.

But we cannot do so at the expense of our own work, goals and plans.

We should give a certain, limited amount of our time to paying attention and the occasional outrage.

We cannot, however, get consumed by it.

It takes us off our game.

Gets us so mad or depressed that we cannot act.

For action is what it is going to take to implement real change.

Action, not distraction.

We can choose to be crippled by our anger or our outrage.

Or we can do something.

Focus on something.

Build something.

For today, let’s give the news the appropriate amount of space in our lives.

And then let’s act.

Blog Post # 314 – Who Locked You Up?

What is holding you back?

Holding you back today.

Is someone preventing you from doing what you want to do?

Watching your every move and thwarting all of your efforts.

Stopping you whenever you try something new.

Are you locked in a prison?

Denied freedom of movement.

Confined to a jail cell of someone else’s making.

These examples are obviously extreme.

For the vast majority of us, we have tremendous personal freedom.

The freedom to choose our own path.

To make real change in our life.

Yet we act as if other people and our circumstances confine us.

Artificial restraints.

If anyone has thwarted our efforts, it is us.

If anyone has crafted boundaries on our success, it is us.

Today is the day to unlock the jail cell door.

To give ourselves a get out of jail free card.

Unlock that door and step out into a new sense of freedom.

We will be here waiting for you.

And your magic, your beauty, and amazement.

Your truth.