Archive for August, 2009

Today is the final day of August. Tomorrow we’ll turn the page to welcome September.

Temperatures are cooling, leaves are turning vibrant shades of red and orange, and football is in the air. In a few short weeks frost will settle on our lawns, and we’ll be carving pumpkins.

Before Summer fades away, Fall slides into Winter, and the new year begins knocking on the door forcing us to contemplate resolutions, let’s pause for a little introspection.  Consider this:

“The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this:
decide what you want.”
[Ben Stein]

“In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing.
The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
[Theodore Roosevelt]

Have you decided what you want?
What is the “best thing” you should be doing right now?

What are you waiting for?
(Take action today!  New Year’s is four long months away.)

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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You don’t have to know
what you’re doing to start it!

At times, you can only see your next step
when you’re rounding the corner,
and sometimes it is a good thing
you don’t know what you don’t know.

When nothing is sure,
~ Lisa Hammond

What are you waiting for?

Please, PLEASE don’t tell me that you haven’t started down the path toward your dream because  you don’t know everything yet,  you’re not an expert or the plan isn’t complete.

You’ll never know everything you don’t know.  Because by the time you arrive at the testing sites scattered along the journey, what you thought you did know may be obsolete or incorrect anyway.  And you won’t know that you didn’t know until that moment. So, waiting until you know it all is a waste of time.

You don’t have to be an expert to start anything.  Have you heard of “on the job training”?  Of course you have.  The people we look to as specialists in their fields today, were considered novices on their first day.  Niels Borh said, “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.”  Expert is in the eye of the beholder.

To become an expert takes time — it doesn’t happen overnight. So, you’d better get started!

Feel like you can’t start because you’re still working on the plan? How much longer do you anticipate that taking?  Plans are well and good, but don’t use a desire to design the perfect plan as an excuse for inaction.  “A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow” [Lao Tzu].

Don’t wait until you know everything.
Don’t wait until you’re an “expert.”
Don’t wait until you have developed the perfect plan.
All that waiting will lead to regret.

Today is the day for you to begin.  Stop waiting. Develop courage. Welcome change. Embrace the unknown. Live in the moment. Take  the step. Become the expert.  Implement the plan. Do the impossible!

“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment, and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next” [Gilda Radner].

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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Trust yourself.

Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with
all of your life.

Make the most of yourself
by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility
into flames of achievement.” [Foster C. McClellan].

Have you ever found yourself faced with a situation or opportunity that just didn’t “feel right”?  That didn’t fit?

It might have looked great on the outside.  Friends and family cheered at your good fortune. They were excited for your big chance. They sent you emails and organized parties and were thrilled that you had found IT.

And, at first glance, IT  was attractive, and the people were nice enough, the risk was manageable and the payoff was enticing, and you wouldn’t HATE it. But underneath all the hullabaloo, it really wasn’t a good fit.

It felt like you were wearing someone else’s clothes.  The waist was too loose and the pants were too long and the shoulders too tight and the sleeves were too short.  And, besides all of that, the fabric was scratchy!

But your friends said

if you take a little off here
shorten the hem
switch this out
add this back in
wear a different shirt
and add some accessories . . .
it would fit and you would look terrific!

Well, maybe not fit — exactly, and probably not look terrific either, but it would be acceptable.

And your friends would be able to sleep a little easier knowing you had THIS — because it’s been exhausting for them to be worrying about you all the time. And besides, they tell you, THIS is certainly better than your running around nearly naked.  Of course, no one wants that, they explain.

But you’re not so sure. And not for a specific or tangible reason that you can point to and explain.

It’s just that the “fit” is wrong, the color isn’t flattering, the style is outdated . . . it’s not you! And you know that, sometimes, the wrong thing can be very difficult to return.

Sometimes you just can’t adequately explain the why or how or who or what and it doesn’t make sense to everyone.  It doesn’t matter that others cannot understand; the answer needs to be “no,” because you said so.

Because you know what’s best for you. Because you are willing to assume the risk of doing without right now for something better tomorrow. Because you realize that choosing to dress differently doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Because you don’t want to live an uncomfortable life wearing someone else’s ill-fitting clothes.

We all must realize  that “people take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost” [H. Jackson Brown].

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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It is not the easy or convenient life for which I search —
but rather, life lived to the edge of all my possibility”
[Maryanne Radmacher].

This powerful saying hangs on the wall of my office.  It is a constant reminder to step out of the convenient and into possibility.  To push the envelope. Explore the opportunity. Peer over the edge.

Possibility.  The potentiality for favorable or interesting results [dictionary.com]. That’s the answer I choose for my life. How about you?

How will you respond when life asks, “What next?”

Living a life at the edge of possibility takes effort. It takes planning.  It requires perseverance. And it demands a determined focus.

At the edge of possibility you won’t find excuses or complaining or procrastination. There are no crime show marathons. No Saturday morning cartoons. No time to waste.

Life lived at the edge is urgent. Details are important. Clarity is paramount.

Arriving at  the edge doesn’t happen by accident.  It isn’t easy.  There is a price to pay, but the view of the future is well-worth the sacrifice!

What would you be willing to trade for a life lived to the edge of all your possibility?

What fears are you willing to overcome?
What risks are you willing to take?
What dreams are you willing to dream?

What kind of life could you create if you were willing to toss out the convenient, step-over the easy, and commit to living a life possibility?

Of course, there will be critics and challenges and cynics. So what?  Don’t allow their unbelief and negativity to pull you back into a life defined by their lowest possible acceptable denominator.

Are you ready to kick your life up a notch?

Walk over to the edge of your possibility and take a look around. Boundless opportunity awaits your arrival.

“. . . Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center” [Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.]

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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This minute. Hour. Day. Tuesday.

August 25.

Just another day filling another week stored in another month.
Or is it?

It is the postscript of yesterday.
The introduction for tomorrow.

Have you prepared for it? Anticipated it?
Did you dread its arrival?

Is it bringing you one step closer or taking you one step farther . . . away?

Anything special planned for today?
Lunch with a friend?
Staring a new job?
Embarking on a fabulous adventure?
Time with family?

What’s the weather? Rainy, sunny, cloudy?

Does it matter?

Will you have a moment to glance out the window? Walk down the street?
Play in the yard?
Enjoy Mother Nature’s bounty?

How will you choose to remember this day?

Will you remember it at all?

Will you leave a mark on it?

Will it leave a mark on you?

Will it be noteworthy enough to deserve a mention in your journal?
Let’s hope so!

Today is your day. Own it.
Fill it with the colors of your choosing.

Take a deep breath. Enjoy a good stretch.

Do something memorable.
Be gracious.
Show gratitude.

Memento Vivere: Remember To Live

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”
[Henry David Thoreau]

For the investor, these are perilous times.  The stock market is acting like a spoiled toddler.  The economy is struggling with a severe case of heartburn. The housing and job markets aren’t sending heartwarming correspondence. And Capital Hill resembles the Hatfield-McCoy feud.

What is a person to do?  Where is it safe to invest or, better yet, is there any place that is actually offering a return on investment?  (Certainly, you remember ROI from one of the many accounting, investing, or economic classes you endured for the sake of a degree?)

I’ve discovered that kindness, goodness, and assistance are paying a nice return.  So, too, are volunteering, humor, and encouragement.  These are just a few of many safe investments where you will find the returns are surprisingly high.

If you’re searching for additional investment strategies, maybe you should consider creativity, knowledge, and planning time.   Regardless of how much you’re willing to invest in these areas, you can be assured that the payoff will make you wish you had more to transfer into these accounts.  Benjamin Franklin said an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,” and I have to agree.

Make a note to steer clear of any investment into negativity, sarcasm, and fearfulness.  Apathy, bad attitudes, and despair should also be avoided. Research shows that these funds will take everything you have, demand more, and never return anything worthwhile.  In fact, you will spend so much time managing the deficient created by these accounts, all of your other resources will suffer.

While you’re reevaluating your investment strategy, make sure you are making sufficient contributions into your family members, friends, and colleagues.   You don’t need pockets stuffed with money or bank accounts overflowing with funds in order to make quality investments in others.  There are many resources at your disposal:  a telephone call, a handwritten note, a kind word, an offer of assistance, or a quick “thinking of you” email can pay marvelous returns.

As Orison Swett Marden said, “There is no investment you can make which will pay you so well as the effort to scatter sunshine and good cheer through your establishment.”  Now, that’s advice you can take to the bank!

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself” [Abraham Lincoln].

In my neighborhood, there are three churches on the same street. Although I have never set foot inside any of them, I’m sure each of these buildings are filled with loving, kind, devoted followers. I would imagine it is also safe to speculate that all the churches embrace similar goals (impact the community, increase membership, promote God, etc.).

Regardless of how similar these churches appear, they are quite different in their approach and methodology. Here’s how I know: during the past week, the following messages appeared on their signs, advertising upcoming sermons:

Church #1: Come to me all who are weary and burdened.
(Conventional message. Probably safe, but boring.)

Church #2: God’s Holy Wrath
(Holy Smokes — literally! I wonder how many new members will visit?)

Church #3: Everyone is Naked Underneath Their Clothes
(These people have a sense of humor; they must like what they do. I’d stop by.)

I found the odd collection of phrases to be quite humorous. While the intent of the ministers was to make a positive impact, their signs were not equally successful in communicating the message.

And, well, this started me thinking about the signs we carry around everyday — the ones we use to announce our attitudes and communicate our thoughts. Even though we don’t actually carry around pieces of cardboard with words on them, our signs are quite evident; people read them loud and clear!

Here are several signs I have “read” recently. Any sound familiar?

  • Why doesn’t anyone appreciate me?”
  • “How can I help?”
  • “Look at Me! I’m very important.”
  • “You’re not part of our group.”
  • “I don’t really care what you had planned.”
  • “Thank you for (finally) leaving.”
  • “We’re glad you’re here!”
  • “I value your input.”
  • “Your ideas are insignificant.”
  • “I’m grumpy. Stay out of my way.”

Think about this important truth: Perception is Reality. The perception you create through your actions — the manner in which people perceive you — becomes their reality. Your intent may be one thing, but the message you display is the real thing.

You may honestly believe people are important. But if you fail to return phone calls in a timely manner, regularly speak in a critical tone, or constantly run late for appointments, you are writing a different message. One that says,”You are irrelevant.”

You may have the best of intentions, but if your message is misinterpreted because of your actions, you’re in trouble and your effectiveness is compromised. As Mark Twain said, “What you are shouts so loudly in my ears that I can’t hear what you are saying.” Talk about miscommunication!

So, what does your sign say? If you don’t like the message, the good news is that our signs are easily erasable. We have the ability to update the message instantly by changing our actions and readjusting our attitude.

Ian Percy said that “we judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions.” Don’t forget that others are reading our signs and using that same standard to judge us right back.

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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