Lasting Lessons from My Dad

Sadly, my dad passed away this past weekend. He was 84 and lived a full life. Many times he commented to me that he couldn’t believe he lived this long. When he was a child, he told me, living to 65 seemed like a reasonable expectation. I am glad he beat his own expectations and gave us many more years to be with him. Dad came from a generation where you lived up to your responsibilities. He didn’t complain about it and believed that one of the most important things you could do was to teach your children was to become independent adults. He didn’t coddle us, but also did judge us too harshly. He was always there if needed.

The Importance of Taking Time Off

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate more benefits of time off. Sure, when I was younger, I liked going on vacation, but it was just a chance to blow off steam and have fun.  When my kids were little, it also allowed me to spend quality time with them. Now that I am […]

Happy New Year – 2021!

Happy New Year Everyone! As we close the book on 2020 and begin to author a new story for 2021, I wanted to share a song and artist that has been very inspirational to me. Paul Weller has been a true artist for 5 decades now. He follows his own muse without regard to fame […]

Timeless and Timely Quotes by M. Scott Peck

M. Scott Peck had a significant impact on me many years ago.  I often look back to the writers who have influenced me in the past to help navigate the present.  There is a lot of natural fear circulating around these days.  The Coronavirus/COVID-19 is a scary threat, as all threats are that are randomly […]

There Is Much To Learn From Saint Patrick

You don’t have to be Catholic to admire and appreciate the life of Saint Patrick – the Patron Saint of Ireland.  He was born more than 1,600 years ago but his memory still lives on.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that his holiday is often a day of much fanfare and celebration for people of Irish background.  Saint […]

Leadership Thought #267 – Happiness Comes From Within

Life can be a roller coaster at times. There will be highs and there will be lows. The important thing is not to overreact or think that everything has to be perfect all the time. Perspective is important. There is no silver bullet. There is nothing you can buy or pill you can take that will make you happy for any extended period.

Thomas Edison Quotes To Celebrate His Birthday

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”  “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they […]

Leadership Thought #456 – Life Goes On

A fascinating aspect of our human existence is that despite what happens to us, in most cases life simply goes on. The world stops for no one regardless of the challenge or tragedy they are confronting. Of course, we all know how the journey ultimately ends but until that point we are forced to be resilient and navigate whatever twists and turns come our way. No matter how far you climb the ladder of life there will always be some things beyond your capacity to control. Sometimes all we can do is accept our circumstances and react in the best way we can.

Thought Provoking Quotes From Dr. Gordon Livingston

I have always been a fan of Dr. Gordon Livingston and his four books: Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart; And Don’t Forget to Dance; How To Love; and The Thing You Think You Cannot Do. I highly recommend all of them. I often refer to each of these books for inspiration and guidance. Today, I thought I would share some excerpts from his first book to help launch the week on a positive and thoughtful note:

Leadership Thought #452 – 4 Things to Get You Through Tough Times

I was talking to my son the other day about his schoolwork and some frustrations he was having. He is a good kid and is in all honors classes. I have noticed though, as the years go on, that school which was once relatively easy and fun for him has become much more of a chore. While not commenting on the varying degrees of teacher quality we have encountered along the way (which is troubling), I believe he is going through something we all go through in life. Rarely is our individual curve always upward sloping and everything comes easy for us. Sure, some people are seemingly blessed in certain aspects of life, but for the most part we all hit periods of frustration, disappointment, and/or low motivation. When you have a passion or care about something it is much easier to marshal the energy required to work through the rough patches. When it is something you have to do rather than want to do, it isn’t always so easy.

During the conversation with my son, we discussed four things that help you get through these difficult periods: Ability, Humility, Effort and Attitude:

Leadership Thought #436 – Are You Aligned With Your Values And Priorities?

I’ve often heard it said that if you want to know what a person truly values, pay attention to what they do, not what they say. Actions do speak louder than words. Many of us are hypocrites and don’t even realize it. I have a professional belief that a considerable amount of unhappiness in leadership (and life) is due to individuals living in conflict with their true values and focusing on the wrong priorities. We are either moving closer to or further away from from the person we’d like to be. There is no standing still. The person we become is a direct result of the outcomes we create and how we get there.

Leadership Thought #434 – Life Can Change In An Instant!

We all know that we meet the same end but we usually don’t know when or why. Most of us avoid spending much time at all thinking about our mortality. It is almost taboo to think about our own expiration date. We stay focused on the moments at hand and feel like our future is open-ended. Why does it take a crisis for us to appreciate the tenuousness of our time here on earth and the true importance of our close relationships? It is a shame we can’t be in this mindspace more often – maybe it would make us all slightly better people. The truth is that we are all living on borrowed time and how we spend that time matters. I heard a speaker comment recently that in every interaction we are either giving life or taking it away. I liked it when he said it then and like it even more now.

Selected Quotes On Life and Success By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of my favorite writers. It is hard to box him into any one style because he does it all so flawlessly. While he is sometimes not an easy read, the effort is always worth it. There are nuggets of wisdom embedded throughout his work and the more you read him, the more thoughtful insight you come away with. He has a way of making sense out of life that is hard to match by anyone else. Personally, I recommend everyone keep a copy of his complete essays and reference the individual topics based on their current life situation.

The following quotes are just a very small snippet of his wisdom:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

“The ancestor of every action is a thought.”

“Thought is action in rehearsal.”

“Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.”

“There are no days in life so memorable as those which vibrated to some stroke of the imagination.”

“Self-trust is the first secret of success.”

“No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself.”

“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”

“Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood.”

“Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.”

“No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.”

“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.”

“Often a certain abdication of prudence and foresight is an element of success.”

“Some pursue happiness – others create it.”

“Life is a progress, and not a station.”

“Nothing can bring you happiness but yourself.”

“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

“All life is an experiment.”

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”

Birthday Greetings – Thoughts on Life – 2013

I feel fortunate to have made it this far in life. Not everyone gets to have this much time. As we age it becomes more obvious that time is finite. I wish you well on your own journey and that the time you have left is well spent.

Leadership Thought #429 – Concern For Our Kids…

I’m very concerned about the artificial reality we are creating for kids today. Everyone gets a medal or award. Disappointment and/or adversity is to be avoided at all costs. We are also teaching our children that they are the center of the family universe and everything revolves around them: their needs, wants, etc. If we let them to think everything they do is exceptional, then ultimately nothing they do will be. We allow them to continually isolate themselves socially and retreat into the comfort of impersonal technological communication without the wisdom of understanding the dynamics of human and social interaction. We worship their youth but then push them to grow up quickly and act more mature than they actually are (or should be). It’s almost as if a whole generation of parents is trying to make up for perceived deficiencies from their own childhood. We are forgetting how to be parents, coaches and teachers and instead striving to become friends, cheerleaders and positive psychologists.

Leadership Thought #410 – 22 Things You Could Do Wrong Today

Life is about habits and behaviors. All time represents is a series of moments and actions stitched together that seemingly always exist in the present. We can reflect on what we have done in the past, think about what we may do in the future, but we can really only ever control now. Part of my job is observation. Sadly, my best case study is often myself when it comes to areas of needed improvement. I never cease to amaze myself with what I consciously do wrong and regret later although I am getting better. I am also certain my human experience isn’t unique. You may catch your self doing some of the following things over the course of any given day that inhibit rather than promote feelings of self-satisfaction and happiness:

Leadership Thought #386 – Start Your Day Off Right

I’ve always been a bit annoyed with people who are grouchy in the morning on a regular basis. Sure, everyone has a tough morning every once in awhile, but to wake up every day in a bad mood is hard to comprehend. What could have happened between the time you first put your head on your pillow and when you woke up that is so bad you need to make everyone else around you unhappy? If you are too tired, then go to bed earlier. If you are having problems sleeping, then do something about it. Part of growing up is learning how to act like an adult.

Leadership Thought #380 – Change Is a Fact of Life

Change is a fact of life. Like or not we will get older. Our minds will get sharper then grow duller. Out bodies will get hard then grow softer. Friends will come and go. Loved ones will enter this world while others exit. If we have children, they will grow up and become independent adults and leave the nest. Our careers will follow a natural arc of emergence, growth, maturity and decline. We will have periods of minimal responsibility and other moments where it feels like we are overwhelmed with life/work obligations. It is difficult to grasp at times, but very few things will ever stay the same.

Leadership Thought #371 – What I Learned From My Dad

Since Father’ Day is right around the corner, I thought it would be fitting to share some of what I have learned from my dad. Every boy’s first role model is his father. You believe him to be a man of Olympian strength, Einstein-like intellect and the quintessential self-reliant individual as portrayed by Ralph Waldo Emerson. There was nothing he couldn’t fix or problem he couldn’t solve. I remember watching many cowboy movies as a kid and always assuming my dad would have made the better protagonist.

As we get older we learn that our dad is human like everyone else and if you are smart you eventually relieve him of the pressures of sitting up on a pedestal. However, many of the lessons we learn from our parents end up lasting a lifetime. My dad taught me the following:

Leadership Thought #344 – Every Day is A Gift

So much about life comes down to your attitude about it. I know privileged people who are regularly misanthropic and others with less economic advantages that seem to be mostly happy even though their lot in life seems comparatively difficult. Every day we wake up we get to make a choice about how we approach our life. We can see our existence as an amazing gift full of unlimited possibilities or a burden full of work, obligations and limitations. We can appreciate what we have or yearn for what’s beyond our reach. We can make a positive difference in the lives other people or focus exclusively on ourselves. We can build bridges to solidify positive relationships or forget to tend to the basic maintenance of effective human interaction.