November 30th 2006
If I pick up a book or magazine, it’s usually a business book or magazine, but for some reason, the Dec 2006/Jan 2007 issue of Best Life caught my eye with not one or two headlines, but several headlines that both attracted my interest and made me laugh.
The top headline that caught my attention was “The most dangerous seat on any plane.” As a business traveler, I was interested in taking a peak at this article to see if some of my favorite seats to sit in were listed among the safest.
The next headline: “Get Lean Fast!” Now, who doesn’t want to get lean or stay lean?
Next up: “5 Instant Stress Beaters.” Well, with reports I’ve read that over 90 percent of Americans are stressed, this seems like another article that may have a lot of interest from readers.
But there’s a lot more. How about “7 Secrets of Staying Young,” “8 Laws of Building Wealth,” “Flu-Proof Your Winter,” “The Heart Symptom You Must Never Ignore,” and Your Best Year Ever!”
Talk about hitting male baby boomers with some articles of interest right between the eyes; this issue of Best Life did just that and this baby boomer picked up a copy.
November 29th 2006
I’d like to think I’m compassionate, and on most days, I am.
However, there are those moments…those moments when I speak or judge without taking a deep breath, thinking before I speak, and likely come across as uncompassionate.
I read a neat quote today that is only fitting to share in this post about learning to be more compassionate. Here it is: “In judging others, it’s always wise to see with the heart as well as with the eyes.” I don’t know who authored the quote, but well said.
As someone who has the gift of gab, I’m thankful for my Mom, wife, kids, childhood pastor and friends who over the years have humbled and taught me lessons of compassion and how to be less judgmental. I’m still a work in progress, though, and experiences over the years have led to better insights on how to be a more compassionate person.
It’s safe to say this is one area I’ll be a lifelong learner.
November 28th 2006
How many times have you, or someone you know, said “If I only could find time…” I know those words have rolled off my tongue on numerous occasions.
If I only could find time to exercise…if I only could find time to spend with my family… The list goes on and on with all the things I’m sure I’ve said over the years.
Instead of saying, “I wish I could find time,” I now try and say, “I need to make time” this week to…and I fill in the blank with all the things I want to do each week. I schedule the time with myself – making the time versus wishing I had more time – to accomplish and do those things I want to do.
We all have the same amount of time, and it’s up to us how we choose to spend or invest our time – one of our most precious gifts in life.
How will you choose to invest your time today?
November 27th 2006
Have you ever heard of zootherapy? I must admit, I had never heard of zootherapy before this week.
I was watching a newscast and was fascinated to learn the benefits of zootherapy to adults, children and animals.
I read an article – which you can access here – that provided some greater insight and I thought I’d share it in today’s post.
November 24th 2006
Are you like every other sales executive who sells season tickets, group tickets, suites or a sponsorship?
What differentiates you and what you’re offering prospective buyers from what the competition is selling to your prospects?
How do you prepare for sales meetings with prospects?
Do you arrive at meetings with a good understanding of your prospect’s business, organization and/or industry?
Once in your meeting with prospects, do you ask good questions, listen and allow time for your prospect to speak more than you?
If you prepare well, have a solid understanding of your client’s business or organization, ask good questions and listen more than you speak, you likely will differentiate yourself from many of the sales executives in your marketplace.
November 23rd 2006
I read an inspiring story Steve Goodier shared and although it seemed at first to be most appropriate for Thanksgiving, it’s a lesson for every day.
Here’s Steve’s story:
Thanksgiving Day was near. The first grade teacher gave her class a fun assignment — to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful.
Most of the class might be considered economically disadvantaged, but still many would celebrate the holiday with turkey and other traditional goodies of the season. These, the teacher thought, would be the subjects of most of her student’s art. And they were.
But Douglas made a different kind of picture. Douglas was a different kind of boy. He was the teacher’s true child of misery, frail and unhappy. As other children played at recess, Douglas was likely to stand close by her side. One could only guess at the pain Douglas felt behind those sad eyes.
Yes, his picture was different. When asked to draw a picture of something for which he was thankful, he drew a hand. Nothing else. Just an empty hand.
His abstract image captured the imagination of his peers. Whose hand could it be? One child guessed it was the hand of a farmer, because farmers raise turkeys. Another suggested a police officer, because the police protect and care for people. Still others guessed it was the hand of God, for God feeds us. And so the discussion went — until the teacher almost forgot the young artist himself.
When the children had gone on to other assignments, she paused at Douglas’ desk, bent down, and asked him whose hand it was. The little boy looked away and murmured, “It’s yours, teacher.”
She recalled the times she had taken his hand and walked with him here or there, as she had the other students. How often had she said, “Take my hand, Douglas, we’ll go outside.” Or, “Let me show you how to hold your pencil.” Or, “Let’s do this together.” Douglas was most thankful for his teacher’s hand.
Brushing aside a tear, she went on with her work.
The story speaks of more than thankfulness. It says something about teachers teaching and parents parenting and friends showing friendship, and how much it means to the Douglas’s of the world. They might not always say thanks. But they’ll remember the hand that reaches out.
November 22nd 2006
As we give thanks this week for our many blessings and lessons learned over the years, I share this lesson learned from an Oyster. The author is unknown and it’s a great lesson for all of us. I hope you enjoy. Here it is:
There once was an oyster
Whose story I tell.
Who found that some sand
Had got into his shell.
It was only a grain,
but it gave him great pain.
For oysters have feelings
Although they’re so plain.
Now, did he berate
the harsh workings of fate
That had brought him
To such a deplorable state?
Did he curse at the government,
Cry for election,
And claim that the sea should
Have given him protection?
‘No,’ he said to himself
As he lay on a shell,
Since I cannot remove it,
I shall try to improve it.
Now the years have rolled around,
As the years always do,
And he came to his ultimate
And the small grain of sand
That had bothered him so
Was a beautiful pearl
All richly aglow.
Now the tale has a moral,
for isn’t it grand
What an oyster can do
With a morsel of sand?
What couldn’t we do
If we’d only begin
With some of the things
That get under our skin.
November 21st 2006
As Thanksgiving approaches, and we think about our many blessings, I’d like to share with you an inspiring story about how each of us have the ability to reach out and touch people in positive ways. The author of the story is unknow. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did:
Her name was Mrs. Thompson. As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie.
Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with the other children that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.
Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners…he is a joy to be around.”
His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”
His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”
Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.”
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag.
Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume.
But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.
Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to,” After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children.
Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded.
By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets.”
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer — the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.
The story doesn’t end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he’d met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did.
And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”
Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t really know how to teach until I met you.”
Please remember that wherever you go, and whatever you do, you will have the opportunity to touch and/or change a person’s outlook.
Please try to do it in a positive way:“Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly”
November 20th 2006
I read the quote below by William James for the first time today and thought I’d share it in today’s blog post. It’s definitely appropriate for my long distance running, but it’s also a great message for seeing our dreams through and not giving up too soon.
So many times – just like when we start to hurt or get winded during a long run – we slow down, stop and call it a day. When we make this decision, we only cheat ourselves. This quote is a great reminder to keep running until we catch our second wind.
“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you.”
November 16th 2006
Our kids want me to learn how to snowboard with them. At first, I thought this was a great idea. Well, my brain thought it was a great idea, and then my body reminded my brain I’m not the young, try anything kid I used to be.
I’m guessing I’d do a lot of falling with both my legs strapped to a board versus the traditional downhill skis, and I’m not sure what would hurt worse, my butt or my ego? I’m guessing both would be pretty bruised.
Oh, what the heck. I think I’ll give it a try. Hopefully I spend more time on my feet than on my backside…although I may find myself falling forward as well. Either way, I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun…for those watching!
November 15th 2006
Following a long break that included sporadic runs from time-to-time, I’m back to running daily.
I never thought I’d come to enjoy and appreciate long distance running as I have the past few years, but as a result of training for and running in my first marathon earlier this year, I certainly have a different perspective of running.
I’m even entertaining thoughts of running in a second marathon in 2007. I thought I’d be one and done, but I’m having thoughts similar to when I’m having a so-so round of golf and then nail that dream shot on the 18th hole.
Just as the challenge of golf brings me back to the golf course, the ultimate challenge of training for and running in a marathon may just bring me back for another 26.2 mile run in 2007.
November 14th 2006
One of my favorite sports growing up was football, and I enjoyed both playing and watching the sport.
I primarily played on defense, but also enjoyed playing offense and especially liked participating on the specials teams.
My coaches often told me that I needed to put myself “in a position to make a play.” As I recently watched a football game, I paid particular attention to the defensive backs and linebackers as they dropped back in their pass coverage, and just as they settled into their pass coverage areas, the quarterback attempted to complete a pass to a receiver.
The pass was deflected by a lineman, and the middle linebacker was in position to intercept the deflected pass. However, if the player wasn’t “in position to make the play,” he would have missed out on the interception and the pass likely would have simply fell to the ground.
In business, “being in position to make a play” is equally important. If we’re out of position, out of balance, or simply just not organized which places us out of position, we’re unable to take advantage of opportunities or maximize opportunities presented to us each day.
Quite simply, if we can place ourselves in a position to make a play each day, we’re going to experience greater success on a consistent basis.
November 13th 2006
The airlines have become more creative with generating revenue beyond ticket sales, and they should be applauded for their creativity and resourcefulness.
As a frequent business traveler, I prefer the airlines develop strategies to generate revenues beyond ticket sales versus simply increasing airfares.
One of the first moves airlines made a few years ago was advertisements on the tray liners. Some of the airlines then began offering headsets on flights for $2. Some people laugh and some complain about the charges, but I see many headsets sold on each flight and there’s no doubt the airlines are making a lot of money from people who choose not to bring their headsets on a flight.
The next revenue idea was pulled from the seat pocket on each plane when the airlines began carrying air-sickness bags with advertising on them. Again, some people laugh, but consider that one airline carrier is pulling in $10 million in annual revenue from the bag advertising and other similar initiatives.
There’s no doubt the airlines are laughing too!
In the latest story I read, the airline flight attendants became upset when they were asked to distribute coupons for a chain of ice cream stores. Again, I think this is a great idea and most passengers – especially ice cream lovers like myself – would appreciate the offer extended by the airlines.
The lesson airlines – and all of us – can learn from this latest move by airlines is to ensure proper communication with employees (especially those expected to distribute the coupons) prior to executing the promotion. The feedback, thoughts and ideas employees provide is priceless and will assist in creating a positive experience for all involved.
November 10th 2006
I recently stayed in a hotel that extended a customized touch-point that was very impressive.
The day I arrived, I received an envelope that was slid under my door. The general manager took the time to type my name on the envelope and also included a type-written letter that he personally signed.
The letter opened with welcoming me to the hotel and followed with “Our staff promises to make your stay with us like home away from home.”
Some other highlights included: “Sunny skies are forecast tomorrow with a high of 70 degrees,” and the manager then shared various events scheduled in the area, along with times and locations.
The letter closed with “Our Concierge, Cody, will be available tomorrow from 1 to 9:30 pm to answer any concerns you may have or other recommendations so that your visit is enchanting.” He followed with thanking me for choosing the hotel and “we hope you enjoy your time here with us.”
Included with the letter was a card with an inspiring quote, along with the sunrise and sunset times, and with the weather forecast. Well done.
November 9th 2006
I received an email with the following story I thought our readers might enjoy:
A few months before I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger He was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem to mind.
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to her room and read her books (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home… not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.
My Dad was a teetotaler who didn’t permit alcohol in the home, not even for cooking. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked… and NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you were to walk into my parent’s den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name?
We just call him, “TV.”
Ron Goch, The Telios Group
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