Sunday, December 28, 2008

Relationships Count

As I have delved into the 'blogosphere' in 2008, I have come to enjoy the time I invest writing these posts. As a result, I have learned more about others through their comments & sharing, as well as been able to read about others through their blogs. I look forward to continuing this blog in 2009 and hope that it adds value to you.

The purpose of this blog is 'Simple'. I want to add more value to your life by sharing mine in some way. Through this, I hope to continue the development of our relationship.

I want to share an excerpt from an article I read today about 'A Life That Counts' by John Maxwell:

A Life That Counts Is Determined By:
1. The Relationships That I Form
Relationships help us to define who we are and what we can become. In my own life, I can see how relationships have shaped my character, values, and interest. I consider relationships to be my greatest treasures in life and an immense source of joy.
Most people can trace their failures or successes to pivotal relationships. That's because all relationships involve transference. When we interact with others we exchange energy, emotions, ideas, and values. Some relationships reinforce our values and uplift us; while others undercut our convictions and drain us. While we cannot choose every relationship in our lives, on the whole, we get to select those who are closest to us.
Relationship Rules:
Get along with yourself - The one relationship you will have until you die is yourself.
Value people - You cannot make another person feel important if you secretly feel that he or she is a nobody.
Make the effort to form relationships - The result of a person who has never served others? Loneliness.
Understand the Reciprocity Rule - Over time, people come to share reciprocal, similar attitudes toward each other.
Follow the Golden Rule - The timeless principle: treat others the way you want to be treated.

To view the entire article, click here

I hope we all live 'A Life That Counts' in 2009.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve & Top 5 Christmas Songs

Christmas Eve is a pretty special day at our house. I enjoy it almost as much as Christmas Day. The kids' anticipation is amusing. I like to do some shopping early in the morning just to watch people. Everybody's got a story. We go to church in early evening, and have a fantastic dinner with family at night. I can't wait to hear the laughing as we do gag gifts on Christmas Eve evening as well.

When growing up, my dad and I always had a 'wrapping' party for Mom's gifts while sipping egg nog (I eventually graduated to the 'spiced' egg nog!) and Christmas music playing. I miss that, as well as the evening at my Grandfather's house in Wellsburg, WV. The Christmas music on Christmas Eve seems to hold the most spirit. I thought I would list my Top 5 Christmas songs for you:

1) It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams
2) White Christmas - Bing Crosby (No one else sings it like Bing!)
3) The Christmas Song - Johnny Mathis - I have really only smelled Chestnuts roasting on an open fire once in my life I think and I don't know if Jack Frost ever nipped at my nose, but Johnny can belt it out!
4) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - The Carpenters - I swear I can still smell our Christmas trees as a kid when I hear this song!
5) Sleigh Ride - Johnny Mathis

I hope that you Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas that you are Blessed with what you want this year!

Share with me your favorite Christmas Eve traditions, or Christmas songs. I want to hear them!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Top 5 Christmas movies

To continue the Top 5 theme, I 'threatened' my cousin with a Top 5 Christmas Movie list, so here 'tis. When I think of favorite movies, I think of them, specifically, as when they come I drawn to them and unable to change the channel for some reason because they make me laugh:

1) A Christmas Story - Seeing Ralphie for 24 hours on Christmas Eve/Day is a must, but I do admit, by the last time it is on...I am ready for it to be over for another year!
2) Elf - Will Farrell is the only one that could have made this movie so funny
3) Home Alone - Some of the stuff that Kevin did to those robbers was downright horrific. Would probably be a PG-13 today!
4) Charlie Brown Christmas - Takes me back to the 4th grade when we did this for a Christmas Play and we knocked over the good tree during the play. Man, was Mrs. Nolan mad!!
5) The Santa Clause - Tim Allen has always been a favorite of mine...

What are your favorites?

Monday, December 22, 2008

5 Books on my reading list in 2009

My goal each year is to read on average one book per month. While it is aggressive, I generally finish up about half of them. I am really enjoying Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders right now. I want to finish it in 2008.
Here are the Top 5 books I will be reading in 2009. Any reviews are appreciated.
1) Do the Right Thing - I love the title and I like some of Huckabee's philosophies.
2) The Shack - After my post about Timing & Opportunity, two folks recommended this book to me and it had been suggested before, so I will heed that advice!
3) Tribes - I have enjoyed following Seth Godin's blog and his advice on marketing. I have heard good things about this book, also!
4) The Truth About You - This was a free one that I got from Thomas Nelson Publishing's web site. Get a free copy if you write a blog review. Plus, Buckingham's stuff is good to read. Normally, very data driven.
5) Every Day is Game Day - I wear a band with this on it that I received at an October retreat. It had a lot of impact on me then.
Some honorable mention books I would like to read, also are:

Got any suggestions for me? What are you reading in 2009?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Top 5 Must-read business books in 2009

My reading habits are sporadic at best, but I like reading a good business and/or leadership book. Here are my Top 5 business books I suggest for your reading list in 2009. Have you read these yet? What do you think? If not, and you read it in 2009, let me know what you thought. Do you have any favorites you can suggest for my 2009 reading list?

1) Profit from the Core - Simply loved this read with my team at Tuthill and implementing some of the concepts across our business and in our strategy.
2) Simple Church - While the title and the story is about a 'church', the processes cross lines. If both business and churches figured this out, both would grow significantly in both numbers AND impact
3) Good to Great - Classic Jim Collins read. I have read it twice. So many good concepts
4) Becoming a Coaching Leader - A process book made for leaders or managers to increase their impact on their team member's lives.
5) The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership - I don't think I could have a Top 5 reading list without a John C. Maxwell book. This was one of the first leadership books given to me in my career and it had a huge impact on my life and thus, career.

I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Top 5 Christmas Gifts as a kid

With two boys, ages 12 & 9, shopping this year has been quite fun...and challenging! For example, I asked them to list 5 things they wanted for Christmas. My 12 year old lists as #1 - Visa gift card, and #2 - Cash!!!! I just smile at him. He doesn't trust his parents to get him what he 'likes'.

Over dinner a couple nights ago, we were discussing our favorite gifts as kids. I'll show my age, but my Top 5 went like this:

1) Mr. Quarterback - I remember when I got this game and absolutely wore out every 9-volt battery we had!! I simply loved this gift. In fact, I just put a bid on one on Ebay!! (You can find just about anything on ebay, you know...)
2) 10-speed bike - Got that when I was 10 and remember riding it in the snow on the street Christmas morning. Rode the wheels off that thing for 8 years!!
3) Atari - Wow did Santa do a nice job of hiding this one. Came downstairs and looked under the tree and nothing. I thought for sure Santa would have set it up and had it ready to go. I was crushed. Then, WAY UNDER the tree I found the box. Had to be like Ralphie getting his Red Rider b-b gun!! (Remember when you used to have to reach behind the TV and move the selector from Game to TV? The little 2-prong adapter was a pain in the neck! Back then, the Atari game new, I remember, was $189.00 with no games. Now, go to a big-box retailer and get the thing loaded with like 20 games for $19.95 and plug it right in the front of your TV!)
4) Evil Knievel motorcycle - Come on, you remember the had to put it in this stand, wind the stand, and let 'er go. The walls were never the same!!
5) Mom will swear that the Big Wheel was a favorite of mine, although I don't really remember 'getting it'. I just have an old photo (withheld for pride reasons since I had my Ninja pajamas on! - We also always got a new pair of pajamas every Christmas Eve! - A tradition we have continued in our house today). The story we love to tell about the Big Wheel was when I left it on the old floor register and melted the front tire flat. Made for some tough riding and funny 'thump' noises after that!!
All kinds of memories about toys - What were your favorite gifts you got as a kid for Christmas?
Stay on the lookout for some more 'Top 5' lists as I wind down 2008 and prepare for 2009. It is going to be a great year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How Low Can Gas Go?

I was talking with a good friend of mine this evening and told him that I could get gas here in Roanoke, VA, for $1.29 a gallon. He couldn't believe it and asked me to send a photo. I WAS WRONG!!! It was $1.25/gallon?

So, how low can it go? What are the prices in your area?

Now, you can watch the SUV sales go back up again!! So, what is the price that had you changing your driving behaviors???

I don't know why it is this low, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Timing and opportunity

This morning on my Facebook status (click on my link to the right to follow me there!), I asked "Why do I wait until the last minute to buy gifts?" Well. today that question was answered for least for today.

You see it's all about timing. I had my regular scheduled networking meeting from 7:30 -8:30 and was dressed to workout and talked my self out of it, but then back into it...After working out, I stayed and chatted with the owner a little bit about 'bailouts'. After discussing business and bailouts, I was feeling pretty lousy, but I knew I had to buy a Birthday card for Chris and should probably have a cake and even some flowers. If you buy at the last minute, you better do it right!

Anyway, as I stood in the card aisle trying to choose one of the many over-priced birthday cards, a Mother of one of the basketball players on the team that I coach had checked out and walked by me and stopped. She proceeded to tell me that when her son went home last night after practice that he told his dad that he really needed to come to his next practice...not to watch him..., but to meet his coach! She also expressed sincere gratitude to me for taking the time to coach her son. Now those of you who know me well, know that it took everything I had not to have tears flowing down my face at that moment. Because, that is why I coach those young kids. I want to have an impact on their lives and their parents lives and BE a role model. After that 5-minute conversation I was on cloud nine.

I am a man of faith. I believe that God had me stand in that spot and had that mother check out to cross my path and brighten my day. All of the things I did that morning and the time that I took to do them, led to that encounter. I am a Blessed man and I don't spend enough time being gracious about that. The words to Martina McBride's song Blessed say it so well:

I hope you all have a Blessed weekend. And, I'll try not to wait until the last minute for next year's birthday!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

What a day! A day to celebrate what we are thankful for. I certainly have been blessed more than I deserve: I am thankful for:
  • A wonderful wife and two fantastic sons
  • Great family & friends - I wish we were closer and could spend ALL holidays together, but I am thankful that we stay in touch
  • A roof over my head and food on the table
  • Living in a country like no other that gives me the freedom to practice my faith, and succeed when I work hard

I am also reminded of many past Thanksgiving memories. Growing up in Follansbee, Mom simply loved cooking thanksgiving turkey. We had a huge turkey, mashed potatoes, and homemade stuffing. We could eat the stuffing and turkey for leftovers Thanksgiving night, cold stuffing for breakfast on Friday, and creamed turkey for days!! Mom always had fresh Pumpkin pies as well and Dad had to have the canned cranberry sauce. Little things like remembering the plates (Pfaltzgraff brown) stick in my mind. I am thankful for those memories, also!!

Now, we have moved, started more family Thanksgiving traditions, and we travel to different places each year. This year, we came to Myrtle Beach! We usually have quite heated discussions trying to remember where we ate the past few years!

I wish all of you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving.

What are you thankful for and what are your Thanksgiving memories?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shopping Experience Pet Peeves - Top 5

As we get closer to the Holiday season, I learn just how painful it can be to go shopping. It only gets worse as we get into the Christmas season.

Wikipedia defines a pet peeve as "a complaint about specific behaviors, rather than general dissatisfaction". I define it as something that just torques me off and gets my blood pressure to rise.

Well, here are my TOP 5 PET PEEVES that occur while shopping:

1) Driving the wrong way through a parking lot to take shortcuts. Why is it so difficult to use the lanes that are provided? And, if you do it, can you keep it below 55 MPH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?

2) Driving the wrong way up the aisles when you can only get in the parking spot from the opposite direction.

3) Leaving an empty shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot next to parked cars on WINDY DAYS WHEN THE SHOPPING CART CORRAL IS ONLY 10 FEET AWAY!!!! I like to go up right behind them and take the cart just as they leave it and say "Don't worry, I'll get this for you. I know you are in a hurry.

4) Using a center turn lane as AN ACCELERATION LANE. If you do this beside me, I will likely drive with you on the side and make it difficult for you to exit this lane until you STOP.

5) There are 500 parking spots, but sure enough, someone will INTENTIONALLY park right next to my vehicle where I am parked and be sure to park so that I cannot open my door to get in my car!!!!!

I feel better now. Remember my recent post about Abraham Lincoln and not sending emails? This just doesn't work with Pet Peeves, but at least I can post it here rather than pointing someone out in the parking lot and embarrassing my children!!!

Other than this, I REALLY enjoy shopping...

What are your pet peeves in the shopping season? I will try to avoid them!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The most powerful 'tip' for a leader - Only $0.69!!

I have a friend & colleague, Daniel Brown, who just finished reading a great book: Becoming a Coaching Leader . He and I were reviweing it today and he had some great thoughts about how it impacted his view on leadership. As we discussed it, we thought of the power packaged inside the 'tip' of a ball point pen. The power to impact the lives of the important people in our lives with a $0.69 'tool' called an ink pen!

Leaders, take note. If you take an ink pen and a piece of paper and take 2 minutes to write a personal note to someone, it can have an impact that will leave a legacy. Imagine how you would feel (or have already felt!) when you receive a:

  • Birthday card from a friend in the mail
  • A kind note of congratulations when you get a promotion or win an award
  • A note of mercy and grace from someone who cared when you lost a family member or friend
  • A Thank You note for something you did for a friend in need
  • A 'Thinking of You' note that simply said hello.

Now, I know what you might say. "Well, I sent an email to them", or "I said hello to them on Facebook", but the feelings of receiving an email versus receiving a hand-written card are totally different. Why is it so difficult to take the two to three minutes necessary to hand write a note to someone and let them know you care? I admit, I am guilty of the email/Facebook copout! But, a personal note....with a REAL STAMP (not a machine stamp!) that has a lasting impact. I am willing to bet that you all have handwritten notes you received from someone that when you find them in the drawer, you read them again, and it brings a smile to your face.

Another friend of mine, Jim Karger, wrote a powerful book Why Work Isn't Working Anymore. In it, he devotes and entire chapter to the 'Care Card'. I am compelled to think that if we all read the chapter of this book, we could replace the word 'Work' in the title of the book with 'Church', 'Family', 'Country', 'Politics', and on and on and on.

The power in the 'tip' of a ball point pen has the potential to leave a seismic impact.

So, are you willing to INVEST $0.69 to save the world?! The $750 billion bailout would buy a lot of pens and have a BIGGER impact...

Who has had an impact on your life? Let them know. WRITE them a note.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do you REALLY want to send that email?

Email is a great communication tool. Or, should I say Email has the potential to be a great communication tool if used effectively?!

The bad parts of communicating via email:

1) You can't hear 'tone' in an email. Unless, YOU USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. ARE YOU YELLING AT ME?!
2) You cannot communicate 'intent' via email
3) You can't clarify mis-interpretations.

I know there are many other challenges in communicating via email.

I have heard that you should never go to the grocery store when you are hungry. (That doesn't work with the liquor store!)

I suggest that you don't send emails when you are upset or angry. Once you hit that 'SEND' button, it is tough to get it back. Sure, you can try to 'recall' the message, but normally that is too late.

Abraham Lincoln was a wise man. Obviously, he didn't have to deal with the challenges of email, but he did use letters to communicate. If he was upset when writing, he had a fantastic approach. He would write his letter, store it on the corner of his desk, and then come back and read it later. This would give him time to clear his head, and be sure that he wanted to send the letter or re-write it based upon what he 'heard'.

Last night, I got my Irish up and started to type a heated email. I chose not to hit the SEND button, stored it in the DRAFT box, came back and read it an hour later, and was thankful that I did not send it. I hit the DELETE button instead of SEND! There have been other times that I have sent communication and regretted it.

So, when it comes to sending email, be Abraham Lincoln.

Have you ever sent an email that you regretted and it resulted in a damaged relationship? Or, even better, have you typed one, reviewed it, and NOT sent it to save a relationship?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

They're watching you - Your kids, that is!!

When I attended a the Building Champions Experience recently in Bend, OR, their CEO, Daniel Harkavy and his wife had a breakout session titled "Parenting - They're watching you". It was a great session and Chris and I took a lot away. Not only are they watching, but they are listening to you as well. I was driving in to the gym today and heard this country song on the radio title - Watching You. There are a lot of crazy country songs that tell some wild stories, and ones that tell really great stories. This is one of those great stories. If you have a few minutes, watch this video. It tells a great story and is a wake-up call for us parents!

Have a great week!

Monday, October 20, 2008

What a hit!!!!!

Did you all see this awesome, crushing hit in the South Carolina/LSU game this weekend?.....BY THE REFEREE!!!!!!!!!!

He didn't just bump him...He broke down into linebacker stance....shuffled with the QB...and Forearm shivered him!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding me??????!!!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Building Champions Experience 2008 - Conclusion

There were over 150 leaders and coaches who concluded their time together at BCE 2008 on Thursday morning. After four days of reflection, planning and connecting, Daniel Harkavy gave a powerful message to the group. The Life Plan is a tool that he describes as being based upon the scripture verse Psalm 90:12 - Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

He used the music video below to illustrate this message. I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch & LISTEN. It is powerful!

Throughout the past few days, the coaches of Building Champions used video clips, music, quotes, and books they had read and/or written to inspire us. They also spoke from their hearts to all the leaders there.

In my life, music, video, and reading are things that inspire me and have defined a lot of the teaching methods I have used in my career. Everybody has a story to tell and they tell it in different ways. In the near future, I will look to manage this blog to add some of the media that inspires me and I hope it adds value to you as well.

There are many other ways you can be inspired. Are you being intentional finding time to REFLECT on those things that inspire you, PLAN the time to develop yourself and CONNECT with those critical accounts in your life. Remember, our days (and seconds - just watch the video!) are numbered!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Building Champions Experience 2008 - Day 2 & 3

As these events can go, Day 2 & Day 3 were very full. I invested time in my Life Plan and Business Vision. I went for a hike on the Sun River and met a lot of new folks, intentionally, along the way. These events are full and can be overwhelming as well.

Chris and I were able to attend breakout sessions on Marriage and Parenting. I attended other breakout sessions on Daily Disciplines and one that has stuck with me the most for my personal growth was the session titled Every Day is Game Day. One takeaway with regards to an inspirational quote for me: "What you did yesterday determines who you are today. What you do today determines who you are tomorrow."

It has been a powerful week as well with music, video clips, and letters from family showing their love for me. That was a great surprise! I look forward to sharing some of these things that inspire me with you on this blog.

Today we finish up. Then, off to Seattle to throw some fish!!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Building Champions Experience 2008 - Day 1

The first day at BCE 2008 was a great day. We didn't get started until 2:00 so it gave Chris and I a chance to go to the gym, do a little shopping, and have a great lunch at the Pine Tavern in Bend, OR. Named for the knotty pine paneled walls and two HUGE pine trees growing right up through the center of the restaurant!

When we got started at the retreat, the music was energizing. CEO Daniel Harkavy opened up with a great video of the current challenges we are facing in our economy, and simply asked the room of about 175 leader, "What's Next?" It set the stage well.

Some things that stuck with me after Day 1:
  • Key words for the week: Intentional, Disciplined, Simple, Grateful
  • Definition of Discipline - "Do WHAT you should, WHEN you should, WHETHER YOU FEEL LIKE IT OR NOT!" - Great definition
  • Work smarter , not harder, does not imply that you don't have to continue to work hard!
  • Two of the coaches struck me with tips they gave: 1) LEARN - Come with a humble spirit and ask the question in each of your interactions "What can I learn from this interaction?" 2) LISTENING - "Don't listen to agree or disagree. Don't listen to like or dislike. Listen to learn. I really have to be aware on this one.
  • One of the Coaches presenting came up to me and thanked me in the hall at the end of the day. He said he focused on me visually because I was affirming and it made it easier for him to present. I was happy to help and I learned something for presenting in large groups. Look through the crowd and pick out two or three folks visually who are affirming your message. It does make it easier to present and give confidence.

Chris and I finished off the night with a nice dinner with some of the folks we have met here.

Day 2 goals for me: 1) Intentionally connect with at least two more people. 2) Listen to Learn! Be aware of when I am judging what is being said as agree/disagree.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Quotes of the day - From Jim Collins (Good to Great)

  • The greatest CEO’s from the greatest companies in history had one distinctive characteristic that separate them from other leaders. The trait is humility.
  • If it is about you…you will not build something great. And only you know if you are all about you.

Jim said many more things at this conference. What we need is a little humility. He says that "only YOU know if you are all about you." I agree with that to a point. God knows as well, but I am challenged with this every day. I believe my purpose in life is to add value to others. The question becomes: "Am I doing it for me, or for others?"

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Barber Shop Talk

Funny how I 'feel' when I go to Ed's Barber shop to get my hair cut. My barber, Mazz, is over 70 and loves to talk about his grand kids (today it was more about his daughter that he "put through college over 20 years ago and it costs $26,000 (he tracked it!) and today it costs that much for one year?" He drives to Greensboro each weekend on Sunday..."about a 90-minute ride to have lunch with the family and the wife. Route 220 to Route 68, lots of nice houses on that road"). While in the chair, one patron asks Ed, the owner, "Who do you think will win the debate tonight?" As only Ed can do, he replies "Well, if you are a republican, you probably think your candidate wins and if you are a democrat, you think your candidate wins. It doesn't really matter." Ask him about the old piece of natural copper he has on his book shelf and your cut will take an extra 5 minutes.

In the middle chair, Dave cuts a doctor's hair, who proceeds to give only a $1 tip on an $11 haircut! Are you kidding me?! Dave is the quiet one in the shop. He takes the most ribbing from Ed.

Of course, to ring up the haircut, the barbers have to hit $5, $5, $1 on the register and pull the handle each time. No electronic register, and certainly no debit card machine - CASH ONLY. And, you know where the register is? Out in the middle of the floor, actually closer to the customers waiting to get their hair cut than it is to the owner!!

One of the songs I heard on the radio while I was there today "Delta Dawn, what's that flower, you have on..." Clearly, an A.M. radio only barber shop!! Dubble Bubble gum and DumDum suckers, of course.

I don't know, call me crazy, but the simple life and talk in Ed's barber shop is somewhat calming in these times. One of those trips I look forward to every 4 weeks. I rarely have to say a word...Just Listen & smile!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Leadership and the Law of Timing - The Bailout Bill goes down

So, the bailout vote failed today and the finger pointing has started...

As I watch the news right now, I am taken back to the second Leadership book I read over 12 years ago. It was a gift from a mentor and friend of mine, Tom Carmazzi. The title was The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. In it one of the laws is the Law of Timing which states that "when to lead is important as what to do". And, it further says that the right decision at the wrong time is met with resistance..., the wrong decision at the wrong time is disaster...and the right decision at the right time is met with support.

Now, I have never been a fan of Nancy Pelosi, and that would be an understatement on my part. However, her 'speech' today just before the vote bashing the Republican right is a clear sign of her lack of leadership and her total ignorance of the Law of Timing. Whether what she said was right or wrong, it was the WRONG TIME to be on her stump and go partisan politics. Would the Bill have been approved without the speech? I don't know, but I assure you that her timing was simply atrocious.

Investors lost a trillion dollars today as the Stock market fell nearly 10%. Nearly 2/3 of Americans are in the stock market, whether they own stock, mutual funds, or participate in a 401(k), or EMPLOYED by a company on the stock market! There has been a lot of talk comparing Wall Street and Main Street. Wall Street = Main Street...

This country is crying out for strong leadership. If some of our congressional leaders understood the Law of Timing, it would go a long way to influencing my vote in a few months...

Friday, September 26, 2008

'Problem Solving' - the Bailout - What Options were NOT Considered?

To make an understatement, the '$700 billion bailout' has been at the top of the headlines in newspapers, television, and blogs. 'Do you support it?', or 'Do you not support it?' and 'Why?' have been questions asked of politicians, consumers, and friends. It is quite a problem that our economy, and subsequently, our leadership, is facing.

We face problems on a daily basis. We face problems that are on a much smaller scale, but that seem to be as important to us as well. Family, finances, where to eat dinner, etc.!!

In any event, when I solve problems, the key is to always have alternatives. For every problem, there are always multiple solutions. Some better than others. But, the key is to have alternatives. Here is a simple process I use when evaluating a problem:

1) Define the problem in a sentence format.
2) Brainstorm at least 7 possible solutions to the problem. If you can't think of at least 7 on your own, then ask a confidant, family member, or friend. Two heads are better than one is normally the case in problem solving. But, don't stop until you have at least 7 options.
NOTE: Doing nothing is normally an option, but RARELY a good option!
3) Ask yourself the question "What options did I not consider?" This will normally generate a few more alternatives.
4) Rank the alternatives against your goal and your values.
5) Do a 'gut-check'. If it doesn't feel right, you need to understand why. You may have to go back through steps 2 through 4 again. Trust your instincts. Not your ego, but your instincts!

I am sure there are other ways to solve problems (5-Why's, 7D, family meeting, etc.). What works for you in business and life?

So, my question for our govenment as they make a decision that ultimately could cost me and my family a lot of money is "What options did you NOT consider?" If I had the confidence that they used a process to come to the answer of a bailout, it would be easier for me to support it, even if I don't agree with it. (This is an entirely different topic for the future. Supporting a decision even when you don't agree with it)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Are you an 'Incomplete Leader'?

If you answered 'Yes' to that question, then I say "CONGRATULATIONS". Being an 'incomplete' leader does not mean you are an 'incompetent' leader.

I just finished listening to the Maximum Impact lesson entitled "In Praise of the Incomplete Leader" by John C. Maxwell. I clearly had a few takeaways from this:

1) As a leader, I am not strong in all areas of leadership...AND that is OK. Believe me, I have plenty of weaknesses.
2) I have to recognize that all leaders and team members are not going to be 'like me' and that is a good thing. I talk about this in the Building Champions interview I did about a week back. When I started a new career with my mother-in-law in real estate, I worked really hard to get her to do things my way rather than focusing on the areas of her strength and allowing our team to be more successful as a result. BIG MISTAKE on my part
3) There is a need to surround yourself with people who are stronger in areas than you are. This is how you will continue to grow, both personally and professionally.

What are the key areas for your business/life/home that are critical in your development? Are you strong in all those areas? If not, congratulations! Go out and find resources(hire, delegate, confidants) to complement the areas of your leadership weaknesses. If I can fulfill any of those resources for you, let me know.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Champions edge Interview link

Hi friends - In a previous post, I told you I would follow up with a copy of the interview I did with Building Champions on their monthly Champions' Edge call. Well, here 'tis. I still haven't listened to it myself, but I have to admit, I did have a good time with the interview. I hope you enjoy.

Click here and then click 'Listen to Past Calls' then click the September 2008. You can listen from the play button, or right click on it and save it.

Give me some feedback on it as well!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dumb commercial...or Brilliant Marketing

Have you all seen the Microsoft commercials with Bill Gates & Jerry Seinfeld?

I don't 'get 'em'. But, maybe I am not supposed to get them. You see, if it were just an ordinary Microsoft commercial, it would be pretty boring and we wouldn't be blogging about it all over (it is being blogged and chatted about by lots of folks!). So, by making a DUMB commercial, are they really generating buzz to chat about Microsoft, which makes it Brilliant Marketing? It won't make me go out and buy a new computer with Vista!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Champions' Edge Call

I had a blast today doing the Champions' Edge call. My Coach, Raymond Gleason, of Building Champions was the interviewer and I was on the 'Hot Seat' chatting about my journey from manufacturing to real estate sales & home construction!

When I get a copy, I will be sure to put a link here so that you can here.

For those who were on the call, I hope it was beneficial for you and added value to you. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How did we survive???

My dad shared the below story with me via email that was going around. It brought back memories for me. The 10-speed bike going down the hill right in front of the house. I wore the tires off that thing. Often, being called in for dinner after a full day of basketball - hours on the Highland Hills court that had metal back boards & chain link nets! Or, baseball - Home run derby with the tennis ball and the mini-Pittsburgh Pirate bats. I also remember the Dave Parker wristbands. Remember when you knew the players on your team because they stayed there for a few years! Don't know how we were lucky enough to play on those narrow streets and not break any windows. Or football...We really should not have played in Mr. Mott's yard after a rain. But, it really was the best field! Those were the days. What about you growing up? Read this and I know it will bring back some memories!!

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

We were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight. WHY?

Because we were always outside, playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them! We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them. Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. If YOU are one of them? CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, share it with your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Have you forgotten? 9/11/01

I posted this one year ago today and wanted to re-post. I still haven't forgotten.

Have you forgotten? I haven't. My prayers go out to the families who were affected 7(now 8!) years ago today. It seems like such a short time ago, and yet, sometimes it seems forever ago. My thanks goes out to those protecting us from another event like this in our country.
Never forget!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Book Review - Wins, Losses, and Lessons

Recently, I completed Lou Holtz' autobiography Wins, Losses, and Lessons.

Now, I must admit, I was biased picking the book up as I am a fan of Notre Dame football(despite the current condition of the program!), and Lou Holtz spent the first few years of his life living in my home town, Follansbee, WV, a place my parents, John & Vickey, still call home.

But, I also find Lou Holtz, with his ability to tell a story, relative success in most of his endeavors ,and his unique leadership style, to be fun and easy to read.

Now, when I read a book, I like to mark it up. This allows me to go back and review the main points I picked up and try to apply them to my life in some way. The pages that I mark up with a pen also get 'dog-eared', so that I can easily refer back to those pages. I can tell pretty early on in a book if it will keep my attention by the number of dog ears. For me, a great book would have at least 10 dog ears!

Upon completion of this book, I had 8 dog ears, so my rating would be an 8/10. I say this is pretty good for an autobiography! Some of the takeaways from this book:

  • Chapter 2 was titled "Success is a choice" - In it Lou says " Everyone's life is a compilation of the people he meets, the things he does, and the decisions he makes." - Profound. He goes on to say that no one but you determines your success in life and that making the right choices paves your way.
  • His family lives spread out through the country and they get together regularly for a 'family meeting'. In the acknowledgements, he details the 'agenda' for the trip so that the tough items can be discussed, adults get their time, kids and grand kids their time, and lots of family time! I thought it was great and would like to try it next time our family is able to get together for a week like we did this summer at Myrtle Beach. Now that my brother has also moved away from Follansbee, I want us all to be able to get together like this on an annual basis.

Once I got started on the book, it was difficult to put down. I recommend it for your reading pleasure, even if you are not an ND fan or from Follansbee, although clearly those qualifiers attach me closer to the story!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Are we getting 'twitter'-pated with technology?

As I have had the chance to start this blog, I have to admit it has been a little overwhelming, (and potentially addicting). I have learned about some of the available ways to read/track/comment/archive blogs. I am a little late. In 2005, there were 8 million americans who had a blog. In 2007, that number had increased to over 70 million.

The report also says that there are 120,000 new blogs started each day, or one every 1.4 seconds of every day!!

There are many methods to 'socially network'such as:


So, how many of these words have you heard of, and which ones are you using?

I think it is important for all of us, at many levels, to at least be familiar with some of the terms listed above. From marketing real estate to fuel transfer pumps to PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES, the next generation of text messagers, bloggers, internet surfers, blackberry users, iPhone users, iPod, podcaster, CONSUMERS requires it!!

I heard a comment from author John Maxwell on one of his monthly CD's recently when he said that one of his biggest frustrations about publishing his books were that once they were printed, they were frozen in time. He is exactly right. However, a blog, social network, twitter, etc. is more timely and fluid. When you learn more and grow, it can be added to the social network immediately.

Did you hear that? I did. It was the book publishing/bookstore industry screaming as they pull their hair out trying to figure out what to do to embrace this technology trend! Maybe they should twitter about it!!


P.S. - Remember when we thought CD's were the best media for music and we had to use a Road Atlas to find our way to vacation?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When was the last time you said...

"Today was the best day of my life!"?

I would have to say it has been a while for me. When Joseph got home from his second day of school and Mom& Dad asked him how his day was, we got the typical response "Good." Then, I told Joseph that the Lego he ordered came in the mail. All of a sudden, it was "The best day of my entire life!". His elation was genuine and spontaneous.

Those are the little things in life that make for the best days of my life!

What would it take for you to say that it was the "BEST day of your life" with genuine enthusiasm. What is your 'lego'? Even better, what would it take for us to wake up every morning and say "This is GOING to be the BEST day of my life!"

Or, are our expectations so out of whack that it would take a small miracle rather than making someone else smile, having someone tell you 'thank you' or 'I appreciate you'.

Better yet, why don't you make it someone else's BEST day of their life by doing one of the things above. Give 'em a Lego Separatist Spider Droid!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

First day of school!!

Every new beginning come from some other beginning's end!

School began today and summer officially ended for the boys & us. Brendan is in 6th grade and Joseph 4th. I have had a small tradition of staying home and making them a special breakfast for first day back to school. Send them off with Pancakes! Well, Brendan just wanted a breakfast drink, Joseph said he ate too much at dinner last night...You know the rest of the story.

As always, summer flew by. We went to Myrtle Beach a few times, went fishing, spent the 4th of July with my parents at Myrtle Beach, helped move my brother to Virginia, went to Salem Avalanche baseball games, had cookouts in the new neighborhood.

As the kids start a new year, it is my prayer that God protects them, gives them wisdom to do the right things, and gives their parents patience and guidance.

So, how did you all invest your summer this year?!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Book review - The Faith of Barack Obama

Those of you who know me well know that I like to read books on leadership. I was given the opportunity to receive a copy of Stephen Mansfield's book, The Faith of Barack Obama. The timing of reading this book coincided well with the recent Saddleback Civil Forum where our two presidential candidates were questioned by Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. (On a side note, I thought that it was the best format ever for a presidential 'debate' of sorts. Both candidates did well. )

In Stephen Mansfield's book, I find that he does a nice job of detailing the story of Barack Obama's faith from his birth to today. As a man of faith myself, I found the book to be an easy read. The author states right up front that he is not a Barack Obama supporter, but the book is fair in it's presentation. In the first few chapters, Senator Obama's faith history growing up is described and later in the book, the author does a nice job of drawing comparisons to other Presidents and presidential candidates including Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and George W. Bush.

What I really appreciate about the book is that it provides us with the information needed to make a choice about Senator Obama's faith journey. For example, the author invests a lot of the book on the relationship of Obama and his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. It asks the right questions: "Why did Obama Stay at Trinity United Church of Christ, not just for some twenty years, but even after his pastor's radical views became public?"

Anyone unsure of the positions of Senator Obama on faith-based initiatives, as well as the life he lived growing up should read this book prior to making their choice for the next President of the United States.

This book did not change my view on who my choice for next President for me. It did; however, answer some questions for me, while generating a few new ones as well.

I want to thank Thomas Nelson publishing for the opportunity to read this book. If you get a chance, take a look at Michael Hyatt's blog. He is the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Setting Expectations...for kids!

My two sons, Brendan (11) and Joseph(9) are blessings to me. I enjoy watching them grow and they are growing up too fast!

I have to admit that teaching them the value of managing their resources(time, especially!) has been a challenge for me. One of the tools I have used in my personal life is called the 'Time Block' where I outline where I need to invest my 'time' and then 'block' it out on my weekly calendar. I use Outlook for this. Each block of time is broken into 30-minute intervals on a daily basis and I try to plan my 'perfect' week. It includes activities for the key areas of my life: 1) Faith, 2) Those closest to me - Chris & the boys, 3) Family & Friends, 4) Self (physical & personal development), and 5) Finances.

My kids needed something similar, but nothing I tried seemed to work. They had their goals & they were simple - allowance & time to do things THEY wanted to do. To achieve the goals, there were certain basic expectations we had as parents, but at the end of each week, the lines were blurred. So, I set about to set up a 'visual control' for the kids as well. If a time block worked for me, why wouldn't it work for the kids? In fact, how better to get them to manage their priorities in life, but to get them to block their time at a young age?

I needed the time block to be simple and colorful to keep their interest, and visual for me to check up on their expectations and 3M graciously obliged by introducing a post-it weekly planner. Those who know me well know that sticky notes are a necessity of mylife! In fact, my brother-in-law saw this at my house and said "Staples saw you coming when they brought this out!"

I set the example and outlined my week on the post-it calendar and used it to model for the kids development of their own. The process was fun and painful at the same time. The kids enjoyed the cutting & pasting, but didn't really like that they had to write down when they needed to do it. They also wanted to create 'shortcuts' - "Dad, can't I just write this down on Monday and they write 'every day' on one sticky, instead of making 5?" Nope...Every day. Below is the outcome of the exercise...

Purple = family time

Green = Basic expectations (make bed, put away clothes)

Orange = Projects - These items are allowance earners(clean garage, vacuum basement, READ BOOKS)!!

We posted these in the garage right by the entry door to the house. Now, I am not naive enough to think that everything will not be perfect and the kids will NOW do things without being asked. Even I don't hit my time block 100% and I have been doing it for years! However, in the first two weeks, the boys are much more aware of their responsibilities.

So, tell me, what tools do you use to manage your priorities? What about your children - how do or did you set their expectations?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I love Sunday Mornings!

Sunday morning for me is very relaxing. I set an alarm to get up so that I can enjoy 'my time' for a couple hours. As I reflect on what I do, it still is a practice of continuous improvement...of managing my priorities...

'Standard Work' for Sunday Morning

1) 6:18 get up after hitting the snooze twice because there is just no reason someone should get up at 6:00 on Sunday if they don't 'have to'...

2) Put on a pot of coffee

3) Walk out to get the paper - What a beautiful day it is today! About 60 degrees & sunny.

4) 'Organize' the paper for reading - Pull out all the junk ads and put them aside. Does Dick's Sporting Goods really EVER have a sale, or are they just trying to fool everyone with this ad?

a. Homes section first (need to review my ad for accuracy & other realtor ads for ideas!)

b. Main reading section - Sports first, of course!

c. 'Extra' section last as it has the Sudoku puzzle...Even after the comics (yes, I still read the

comics! Lots of good stuff in the Dilbert strip)

d. Then the ads - Target (pronounced tar-jhay here in the South!), and of course, the Staples ad. Free Glue today!! Showing my age here as I have evolved from Best Buy to Dick's to Sears to now Staples as my favorite ad!!

e. Skim Parade magazine - Of course, the best issue is the how much people make issue. Also, found a new number puzzle in the Ask Marilyn section that is pretty cool called Numbrix.

f. Tear out Sudoku puzzle and mess up the Extra session for Chris (she is still sleeping peacefully, though. She'll never know. I digress. I love to watch her sleep. She is at peace...More on that in the future...)

g. Hopefully, I finish just in time to watch Ed Young Television.

h. 8:30 now. Time to get ready for church...Day gets hectic from here as it really isn't enough time to get ready. But, I love those first 2.5 hours...My Time...Church, lunch with the family, Open House, and today...Leave for the beach for a few days. Sneak in a couple more days before the kids go back to school..

OK. my Sunday morning has just been thrown for a spin. Instead of Ed Young being on, it is replaced with the Olympics. Phelps going for 8 golds..1 down and 7 to go...Have you all read how much he will actually swim in the next 10 days or so? What a machine!

Tell me about how YOU spend YOUR Sunday mornings.

Have a great week


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Church Soup

So, I get up this morning and I am looking at different churches on line. Trying to find a church to visit with some contemporary flair. We decide to go to our home church...Covenant Presbyterian in Roanoke. Today is Youth Sunday and they did a fabulous job. They playeda clip audibly in church today that they had heard it at their youth trip in the last week. I am so glad we decided to go to church today at Covenant. The youth did a great job and this 'Church Soup' spoke to me!!!

Click on the link to listen in. It is humorous and very poignant as well. Don't worry about where you go to church...just love each other!!

Church Soup

Have a great week y'all. Don't let opportunities pass you by this week to add value to someone's life!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lessons of the Square Watermelon

A friend recently shared an article with me about the paradigms we have and the infamous quote "If you think you can, or you think you can't,'re probably right!"

Toyota Production System at work! If you haven’t read this before, it is a great read. Great lesson that challenges paradigms we all probably have. My guess is that we all have one of these things that someone has told us "We've always done it this way" and I believe them without challenging the assumption!! My most recent one is in building homes. I was told "It is more expensive to build a story-and-a-half then it is a two story...Then, I go around quoting it!!! I am in the process of challenging that assumption right now. I will let you know how it comes out.

Lessons of the Square Watermelon

Japanese grocery stores had a problem. They are much smaller than shops in the USA and therefore don't have room to waste. Watermelons, big and round, wasted a lot of space. Most people would simply tell the grocery stores that watermelons grow round and there is nothing that can be done about it.

That is how majority of people would respond. But some Japanese farmers took a different approach. If the supermarkets wanted a square watermelon, they asked themselves, "How can we provide one?" It wasn't long before they invented the square watermelon.
The solution to the problem of round watermelons was not too hard to solve as the farmers did not assume it was impossible - and simply asked how it could be done.
They found out that if you put the watermelon in a square box when they are growing, the watermelon will take on the shape of the box - and grow into a square fruit.
This made the grocery stores happy and had the added benefit that it was much easier and cost effective to ship the watermelons. Consumers also loved them because they took less space in their refrigerators which are much smaller than those in the US meaning that the growers could charge a premium price for them.

There are a few lessons that can you can take away from this story which may help you:
Don't Assume: The major problem was that most people had always seen round watermelons so they automatically assumed that square watermelons were impossible before even thinking about the question. Things that you have been doing a certain way your entire life have taken on the aura of the round watermelon and you likely don't even take the time to consider if there is another way to do it. Breaking yourself from assuming this way can greatly improve your overall life as you are constantly looking for new and better ways to do things. This was one of the most difficult things for me to do because most of the assumptions I make, I don't even realize that I'm making them. They seem perfectly logical on the surface, so I have to constantly make an effort to question them.

Question habits: The best way to tackle these assumptions is to question your habits. If you can make an effort to question the way you do things on a consistent basis, you will find that you can continually improve the way that you work. Forming habits when they have been well thought out is usually a positive thing, but most of us have adopted our habits from various people and places without even thinking about them. It's a never ending process, but by doing this, you can consistently strive toward making all aspects of your life more enjoyable instead of defaulting to what you have now.
Be creative: When faced with a problem, be creative in looking for a solution. This often requires thinking outside the box. Most people who viewed this question likely thought they were being asked how they could genetically alter water melons to grow square which would be a much more difficult process to accomplish. By looking at the question from an alternative perspective, however, the solution was quite simple. Being creative and looking at things in different ways in all portions of your live will help you find solutions to many problems where others can't see them. I am not a creative person, but I've found that the more that you look at things from different perspectives, the more creative I have become. It's a learned art and builds upon itself.
Look for a better way: The square watermelon question was simply seeking a better and more convenient way to do something. The stores had flagged a problem they were having and asked if a solution was possible. It's impossible to find a better way if you are never asking the question in the first place. Try to ask if there is a better way of doing the things that you do and constantly write down the things you wish you could do (but currently can't) since these are usually hints about steps you need to change. Get into the habit of asking yourself, "Is there a better way I could be doing this?" and you will find there often is.
Impossibilities often aren't: If you begin with the notion that something is impossible, then it obviously will be for you. If, on the other hand, you decide to see if something is possible or not, you will find out through trial and error. Take away the lessons from the square watermelons and apply them to all areas in your life (work, finances, relationships, etc) and you will find that by consistently applying them, you will constantly be improving all aspects of your life.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Refrigerator Rights!!

A true test of a relationship:

Who comes to your house, invited or not, and has "refrigerator rights"? The best relationships are those where you are comfortable enough when you go to a friend's house and open the refrigerator door to help yourself! I want relationships with refrigerator rights. Welcome to my house. Help yourself to my refrigerator, friend!!

When you see Chris, my wife, ask her to forgive me for taking a photo of our fridge before she was allowed to clean it out!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Simple ____________

In my very first post, I talked about how I got the name of the blog - "Simple Leadership". I mentioned that it was a word from each of two books that I had been reading. I also mentioned that I would share these with you.

So, fill in the blank for me on the following. Each blank has the same answer. Send me your responses and I will let you know the various responses I get. Some of you may have already read this book, so play fair!!


"It is not enough to unite the ______ around the same what (purpose), but they also must be aligned on the same how (process."
"Leaders of the ______should outline the simple process but then allow leaders to implement with freedom and creativity."
"Recruit and offer accountability based on your simple process. Implement in each ______ department. Unite people around the simple process."
" A simple ______ is a group designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of growth. When people not only commit to the beliefs of a ______ but also to the simple and strategic process, the energy of everyone is unleashed."
" Simple ______ who desire to eliminate programs will inevitably offend the past or some individual."

I could add so many more, but you should get the flavor. So, FILL IN THE BLANK.

Hope you all are doing well.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Character Counts!

What an amazing match!! If you are a tennis fan or not, the Wimbledon championship between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal should go down as one of, if not the most exciting tennis match ever played. These two players battled in the longest match, both in time and games, in Wimbledon finals history. Federer had won 5 straight titles at Wimbledon. Nadal had one 4 of the last 5 against Federer. These two clearly are athletes that may go down as the two best players ever!!!

I found myself glued watching each stroke for a couple reasons:
First, the shear focus of each of these players is phenomenal. I can only imagine the things going through their mind as they played this match. But, to me, what was more apparent was the CHARACTER of these two professionals both during and after the match. There was no taunting, trash talking, or prideful outburst from either player. As they continued to each hold serve for nearly the entire match, they simply kept playing. After the match, Federer called Nadal a deserving champion and was humble in defeat. Nadal referred to Federer as a great champion and was happy to be on the same court. I pointed this out to my children as well as we watched. Neither of these players threw their racket when they lost a point. They didn't scream at the official if they felt there was a bad call. THEY JUST PLAYED THE MATCH.

These displays of Character were resounding to me. These two are champions on and off the court and are leaders in their sport that I will continue to watch into the future.

Watch others celebrate. Does their true character come out? Do they make you want to continue to 'play' with them, or do they make you wish you weren't even in the same building? Are you happy they are on your team? AND...What is YOUR character in Victory? I can learn from these two players... Character Defeat AND Victory.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Independence Day - More tears!

Good morning friends.

This weekend, I attended a patriotic church celebration outside at a local church. Songs were sang, the Baptist preacher - PREACHED, the orchestra played. What an incredible service. Afterward, we had hot dogs, hamburgers, and chips. The all American lunch!!

A couple posts ago, I asked what made you cry and I told you some things that made me cry. Well, a service like this is another tear jerker, for many reasons:

1) Before the service started, the Prelude was a Country song entitled "Have You Forgotten" - Never heard of it? Look it up on iTunes and download it. It is worth the 99 cents. Tear starter!!

2) When How Great is our God played, I was taken back to when my oldest son was baptized and how I cried uncontrollably at the responsibility and the love I had for him. As he sat by me and sang, yesterday (at 11 years old!), I realized just how blessed I am. Tears welled up... then...

3) The orchestra played and the choir sang America the Beautiful. As I looked around the over 2,000 in attendance at the local high school football field, a few stood out. There was a group of 20 in the front of the bleachers that stood and sang AS THEY SIGNED!!! You see, they were deaf. They couldn't 'hear' the music, but their passion was incredible...Tears flowed

3) Then, How Great Thou Art played...Can anyone listen to this song sung by an incredible choir and orchestra and NOT have tears well up??

4) And to top it all off, the National Anthem played as service men marched across the field from our armed forces. Four of the servicemen came across the field with the Flag and posed with a rendering of Iwo Jima flag raising.

To not cry simply would have been un-American!!

We live in the greatest country in the world. Whether you are republican or democrat, Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish, Italian, Irish, or German, war supporter or not, etc. Where else in this world could you go where you can sing your beliefs, gather with others, express your viewpoints, and live the life we lead? Nowhere. And we have so many people to be thankful for giving us that right.

There are too many in our country that forget this. They view our Bill of Rights as their right to say whatever they want & criticize yet not act, abuse the system. There are those that feel they have the right to act however they wish, but they forget their RESPONSIBILITIES as well. For them, their should also be a Bill of Responsibilities!!!!!!

So, as we celebrate our independence this week, please take the opportunity to thank someone you know who served and protected our land, and continues to protect our land today!

And, if you hear someone who complains and bickers, someone who wouldn't be happy if you handed everything to them on a silver platter (they would want Platinum), rebuke them as well!

I hope you all have a blessed week and a safe, happy 4th of July!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"We must all suffer from 1 of 2 pains"

I heard this quote on a conference call today. It made me think!

"We must suffer from 1 of 2 pains: 1) The pain of Discipline 2) The pain of Regret. The difference is...Discipline weighs ounces, but Regret weighs TONS!!! " Bill Hart - Coach at Building Champions.

Which pain do you suffer from? I don't think I like my answer alot of the times!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What was I thinking?

Yesterday, I was cutting the grass at my in-laws' home. As I pushed that lawn mower around for nearly two hours, you can imagine that the constant hum of the Briggs & Stratton engine can be either an annoyance, or for me, a calming effect. For me, the sound of the engine is so loud that I can actually hear myself think! It actually is when I hear myself the loudest. Someone can be yelling at me from just a few feet away and I can't hear even their voice, but I can hear my own internal voice...loud and clear!!!

What are some of the things that I think about?

  • Well, I often think about how I can cut the grass in the least waste pattern. How can I knock off 5 minutes each time I cut the grass?
  • I think of other things that need to be done around the house
  • I think of ideas to improve current business ideas
  • I think of new business ideas
  • I also think of relationships I have that may not be going the way I want and how I can improve those relationships. How I can provide feedback to someone with whom I want to grow

The problem the time I am done cutting the grass, I have forgotten all of those thoughts and have not documented them. This could be the direct result of too many long nights in college!! In any event, I need to figure out a way to capture these thoughts. I can't take action on them if I can't remember them!!! I hope I am not the only person who suffers from this phenomenon called "Short-term memory loss brought on by many good times in college"!!

Maybe I need a peaceful place. I could take John Maxwell's advice and have a 'thinking chair', but the problem with a comfy thinking chair is that they are better for NAPS!!

I guess I will have to start carrying a notebook or recorder with me and stop the lawnmower several times and write the ideas down, or speak them into the recorded. (There goes that idea of taking 5 minutes off each time!). However, if I were THINKING, it may actually be more beneficial if it took me 15 minutes LONGER to cut the grass, while capturing all of the thoughts...Hmmmm...

Questions for thoughts this week:

  • Where are you when you are 'thinking' your best ideas? I don't think you have to find this place as Maxwell suggests to 'Find a thinking place'. I believe it already exists and we are just not AWARE of it consciously.
  • What do you do to capture those thoughts so they don't get lost? Do you need to carry around a notebook or recorder? I do!
  • Most importantly, are you acting on those documented thoughts? Do you make time in your schedule to reflect on these ideas, bounce them off your priorities, and decide whether the thoughts need to be turned into action?

I hope you all have a great week. If you want to keep receiving this without an email, just subscribe by entering your email address into the top left spot on the blog.

John Gallagher

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What makes you cry?

Last night I was at my oldest son, Brendan's, 5th grade promotion event. It was about 100 degrees in the gym with nothing but a couple fans moving around. It was HOT!!!

Until the 60 third graders stood up and sang their class song: My Wish by Rascal Flatts. As I watched my son, I got chill bumps up and down my arms - and a tear or two flowed down my cheek - they are welling up as I type this today. In case you haven't heard it, here are the words to the chorus:

My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to

Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small

You never need to carry more than you can hold

And while you're out there getting what you're getting to

I hope you know somebody loves you and wants the same thing, too

That's My Wish

Music is something that inspires me. I share it with others when I hear a song that inspires me. One way I try to build relationships.

John Maxwell says that to get to know someone better, ask them these three questions:

1) What makes you laugh?

2) What makes you cry?

3) What do you dream about?

Watching my kids play sports, sing in their school events...those things make me cry. Tears of pride, but tears, a big baby!! An inspirational song brings tears to my eyes.

I want to get to know all of you even better. Let me know what your answer is to one of those three questions above.

If you get a chance, download My Wish on your iPod. Listen to the words. Know that it is my wish for you as well!! Have a great day!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

SiMPLE LEADERSHiP - Intentional Relationship Building

I just 'graduated' from Leadership Roanoke Valley. When we had our graduation dinner, someone in my group said "Stay in touch." When you graduate from something, whether you 'graduate' from a a school, a job, a neighborhood, a city, or some other new start, one of the favorite ways to end the conversation is 'stay in touch'. Too often, I say, "I'll stay in touch"...and I don't.

One of the things that I believe is that Life is about relationships, the rest is just details. However, if I don't focus on the details of initiating, building, and maintaining relationships, then relationships suffer.

And so, here I am. Starting a 'blog'. I don't claim to be an expert on this, so I may miss some of the 'details'. It is my goal with this blog, though, to share my story. It is built with YOU in mind. AND, it is built with ME in mind as well. With this blog, I hope to add value to your life, and in turn, you will respond with things that are on your heart as well.

Why the title "SiMPLE LEADERSHiP"? As I was dreaming this up, I looked on my nightstand at the two books I was currently reading and took a word from each. I will discuss the books more in the future. Those who know me well can probably guess one of the authors! You also know that leadership development and focus (aka, simple) are core values I live by.

If you are reading this, you have made an impact on my life in a positive way. It is my hope that you will 'stay in touch' by reading it. If you are moved, respond to it by clicking on the envelope or the 'comments' below. If you want to keep getting it, subscribe to it by clicking on 'Posts' below.

I want to be more 'intentional' at keeping in touch. This is just one tool for me to do that.

Question(s) for action:

  • Who in your life have you committed to 'stay in touch' with?

  • What are you doing, iNTENTiONALLY, to build that small detail at a time?

Your friend, John Gallagher