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?