Archive for April, 2010

Unfortunately, many a man’s reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.

Elbert Hubbard

Yes, I heard it when you said it the first time, and the second, and the third.

You care . . . You support . . . Of course, it is the most important thing . . .

But then I watched what you did, and it was something else entirely.

Not in the same zip code.

Not even close.

News Flash: Your continuing to say a thing does not make it so. In fact, it only serves to highlight the disparity between what you say and what you do.

Who are you trying to fool with your head nodding in agreement and photo-op appearances and tireless commentary? (Hey, I noticed that  your actions are suspiciously absent.)

Certainly you understand that “it is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable” [Moliere].

Perhaps it’s time for a reality check.

To think about your life. To put your time and money where your mouth is.  To quit saying and start doing. To display some character. To say what you mean and mean what you say. To quit lying to yourself . . . because it’s already evident to others.

The more you are willing to accept responsibility for your actions,

the more credibility you will have.

~ Brian Koslow

Whatever you are, be what you say you are!


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“Life’s a game, all you have to do, is know how to play it.”

~ Anonymous

I recently started a terrific new book about living your passion: Why Now Is The Time To Crush It! Cash In On Your Passion.

In it, author Gary Vaynerchuk provides many thought-provoking statements. One, in particular, is when he gives the reader three rules he abides by to achieve success:

  1. Love your family.
  2. Work super hard.
  3. Live your passion.

That’s it.  Nothing fancy or complicated. No paperwork to complete or forms to file. No memorization required. Three simple rules. Not easy, just simple.

I wonder why we make things so complicated and difficult? Why do we waste time searching for the loophole, the fast money, the easy way out?

Why do we schedule ourselves to death, but have little time for family and the things that really matter?

Why do we find it necessary to add more levels of control and layers of compliance and unnecessary hootenannies in order to create a life we can barely tolerate?

Maybe, just like those of us who fill up our bellies with junk food but are constantly hungry because our nutritional needs are not met, we’re living the wrong life. We’ve gorged ourselves on meaningless, tasteless, activities that don’t fulfill our life needs, while we’re depleted of passion.

Vaynerchuk goes on to challenge the reader with this:

Live your passion. What does that mean, anyway?

It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world.

You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing — working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same.

You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work.

You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.

Does this sound like you?

If not, why not?  Why do we feel like we must labor through this life until  . . . when?  One day? Promotion? Retirement?

Why can’t you start working super hard and living your passion today? Every day you should live your passion in some small way.  Until it grows into a bigger way.  And before long, your life and passion are intermingled.

Maybe the key really is in the three simple rules.

After all, “nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion” [Hebbel].

Whatever you are, find a way to live your passion today!


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I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.”
~ Woodrow T. Wilson

News Flash:  You can’t know everything.

Not so much a news flash for you?  Me, neither.

I apologize for the gratuitous use of hype!

If you know that you don’t know everything . . . and I know that I don’t know everything . . . why is it often so difficult for us to “borrow” knowledge, expertise, assistance, guidance and wisdom from others?

Why can asking for help be so difficult?

Even brides understand the importance of “Something Borrowed” on their wedding day.  It’s a symbolic gesture of asking for assistance. Yahoo! Answers explains it this way:

“Something borrowed” is usually an item from a happily married friend or family member, whose good fortune in marriage is supposed to carry over to the new bride. The borrowed item also reminds the bride that she can depend on her friends and family.

I like this idea of depending on friends and family who have it figured out. Of borrowing wisdom, expertise, advice, and guidance from someone who is further along on the journey. Of generously offering what you have when you encounter another who needs to borrow it.

Don’t let pride stand in your way.  If you need help, borrow some. If you have something to give, do so unselfishly.

“What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other?”
~George Eliot

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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Know thyself.”

~ Delphi Temple Inscription

The title read something to the effect of It’s Time to Make Enemies. “What an odd title for an article in a business magazine,” I thought.  Nevertheless, I was intrigued!

Seriously? Make Enemies? I thought our goals were supposed to be peace, love, joy, harmony, organic, and being green.


The author went on to say that as a business owner sometimes you just have to stand your ground, stay true to your goal, and be confident in your identity — regardless of who might walk away in a snit.

It was a much-needed update on Shakespeare’s, “To thine own self be true.”

Interestingly enough, the next day I was reading the “How I Did It” article in Inc. The author profiled Jerry Murrell, founder of the super-successful Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  Murrell is a no-nonsense guy with a clear mission. He knows what he’s supposed to be doing.

Murrell’s secret recipe is to “keep it simple.” He never advertises, doesn’t offer a drive-thru, and is committed to offering the best burgers and fries in the business.  In the article, Murrell offered interesting and practical advice while providing a 21st Century spin on creating “enemies.”

When we first opened (in Northern Virginia), the Pentagon called and said, “We want 15 hamburgers; what time can you deliver?”

I said, “What time can you pick them up? We don’t deliver.”

There was an admiral running the place. So he called me up personally and said, “Mr. Murrell, everyone delivers food to the Pentagon.”

We  got a 22-foot long banner that said, ABSOLUTELY NO DELIVERY and hung it in front of our store.

And then our business from the Pentagon picked up.

I like Mr. Murrell.  And his approach.

As I see it, the problem is that we spend so much time and energy pleasing people who, in the grand scheme of things, distract us from our dream and divert resources from our mission, that we dilute our impact and erase our effectiveness.

Why is it that we feel compelled to ensure that each individual is content, comfortable, and appeased, regardless of the cost to ourselves?

Stop it.

Stay focused on your dream. Don’t allow others to sabotage your focus with demands that don’t fit your plan.  Let them go somewhere else for delivery.

Whatever you are, sometimes it’s okay to make enemies!


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It’s not who you are that holds you back,

It’s who you think you’re not” [unknown].

Do you realize how wonderful you are?

You are amazing.

You have unlimited potential.

You are courageous and daring.

An incredible future is waiting for your arrival . . .
. . . if you don’t quit.

If you quit, you get to stay right where you are, with your current set of circumstances.

Your future will become this very minute.

Really?  Is that what you want?

I don’t care what permission slip life has handed you to step out of the game: unemployment, illness, relationship melt-down, disappointment.  It’s bogus. Forged.

Write a different note.  One that’s authentic. One that reads, “YOU CAN WIN!” Give yourself permission to dare, risk, try, dream, imagine, live, fly.

You are in charge of your feelings, beliefs, and actions.

And you teach others how to behave toward you.

While you cannot change other people,
you can influence them through your own behaviors and actions.

By being a living role model of what you want to receive from others,
you create more of what you want in your life.

~ Eric Allenbaugh

Whatever you are, write yourself a permission slip to win!


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I don’t know what people may be trying to hand off to you, but there’s some idiotic stuff swirling around out there.

Anger and suspicion, criticism and self-doubt spring to mind. It seems most everyone is selling some brand of crazy — something you don’t want, don’t need, and — like the rotten apple in the barrel — negatively infects the rest of your life.

All too often we accept the demented feedback like it’s some beautiful floral arrangement.  We think about it. Talk about it. Place it somewhere important so we can look at it. Think about it. Talk about it some more.

We allow it to affect our thoughts, mood, day, relationships. We internalize it. Wonder what’s wrong with us that someone else would behave that way.

Why do we do that?

I thought you might enjoy a story posted on Positivity Blog this week. In it the author shared the following example as a practical way to deal with angry, destructive, critical, or nasty attacks:

A man interrupted one of the Buddha’s lectures with a flood of abuse.

Buddha waited until he had finished and then asked him, “If a man offered a gift to another, but the gift was declined, to whom would the gift belong?”

“To the one who offered it,” said the man.

“Then,” said the Buddha, “I decline to accept your abuse and request that you keep it for yourself.”

Simply don’t accept the crazy “gifts” other people are attempting to give you. You don’t have to.  Graciously allow the person who offered it to keep it for himself.

Whatever you are, I think it’s time to decline some gifts!


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Earlier this week I was listening to an interview with Jillian Michaels.  If you watch the TV program, The Biggest Loser, you’ll recognize Jillian as the “take no prisoners” personal trainer who is committed to transforming the flabby to the fabulous! She’s tough and each season she puts her team to the test.

During the interview, Jillian was asked to share steps listeners could take to reach their life goals, be they weight loss or something else.  Her response was thought-provoking:

Do you recall participating in Easter egg hunts, or playing tag, or competing in any searching games as a child?  If so, a parent or playmate may have given you clues as to how close you were to finding the elusive item.

Perhaps you heard comments like, “Oh, my, you’re really cold!” Indicating you were nowhere near the object. If so, you probably  immediately changed direction in an attempt to reach your goal.

Likewise, if you were near the hidden item, your partner probably clued you in with cheers of, “You’re warm!” As you continued in the right direction you heard, “You’re getting warmer! You’re burning up!!”

Jillian reminded me that life is a lot  like those childhood games of hide and seek — your goal is out there somewhere, and the path you take to reach it is dynamic, constantly moving. Every moment brings the opportunity to make a decision to move toward your goal, (You’re getting warmer!) or in the opposite direction (Oh, no, you’re getting colder!)

And in the very next moment, you have another opportunity to choose again. You can continue moving in the same direction — if you’re headed down the right course of action — or change direction so that “you’re getting warmer!”

I really liked the simplicity of the analogy, that you have the option to choose and choose again, and the realization that a wrong choice doesn’t necessarily spell eternal disaster.

If “You’re cold — really cold! Like an iceberg!” simply change direction and start heading toward your dream.  Before you know it, you’ll be “Burning up!”

There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.”
~ Winston Churchill

Whatever you are, I hope you’re getting warmer!


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Few Sundays pass by without my reading Section E in the Columbus Dispatch. For those living outside of Central Ohio, Section E is the Arts & Life Section.

I love Arts. I love Life. And I love all of the advice columns!

Boys write seeking guidance on girls. Coworkers complain about every imaginable (and some shocking) behaviors. Inlaws, outlaws, ethics, school, debts, children, pets, distant relatives, gifts, neighbors — it seems there is no subject off limit for discussion.

I enjoy watching the experts dodge the heavy issues, chat about the trivial, and quite often, offer up some genuinely helpful advice.

This past weekend Dear Abby published an exceptionally heartwarming letter from a woman who has been married for 40 years. It seems an earlier advice-seeker had been complaining that “men don’t do their fair share around the home.”   Well, that put “Jo in Phoenix” on the offensive, and how!  Jo wrote:

During the 40 years my husband and I have been married, we . . . have had a tacit agreement.  Each of us does absolutely everything possible to keep the home running smoothly, never tallying and setting up balance sheets.

Out of love, each of us does whatever improves our common good.

There’s more to Jo’s letter, but this is the section that impressed me. I have never heard a relationship described so beautifully and yet so practically.

I don’t have anything to add to Jo’s insightful wisdom; I just wanted to share it with you today.

Whatever you are, you should take Jo’s advice!


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By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the ash cloud over Europe, the result of an eruption by the hauntingly beautiful Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull.

And you’ve probably heard and read about the numerous ways life has been disrupted for millions of people.

  • Families stranded, miles apart.
  • People sleeping in airports; waiting for a glimmer of hope — an announcement that their plane is scheduled to depart.
  • Others seeking out various routes (train, bus) to arrive at their intended destinations.
  • Companies losing millions of dollars because 64,000 flights have been cancelled.
  • Folks unable to go where they want to go, do what they want to do, reunite with family and friends.

It’s as if the world is one big fat layover.

And I started thinking about the many people who are full of ash — ready to erupt at a moment’s notice.

Sure, they look beautiful and put together on the outside, but inside they are a seething torrent of hot gas, ash, and magna just waiting to escape and destroy anything and everything in their path.

They demolish dreams, dissolve relationships, defeat hopes.

They demand to be heard, destroy attitudes,  devastate plans.

Watch out for these kinds of people.  They may look attractive, but they are dangerous and toxic. They are manipulative, narcissistic, judgmental, insincere, and disrespectful.

What to do?

In his post, Ridding Your Life of Negative People, Evan Bailyn offers some good advice:

As human beings, we are given the freedom to hand-pick people
that contribute to our well being and enrich our lives.

We are not physically bound to anyone, and many of the people we interact with every day were not even our choices,
but rather the product of our environments.

We have no obligation to remain loyal to those who affect us adversely
unless we place little value on our happiness.

Don’t let negative people interfere with your most precious natural gift:
the capacity to love life!

Whatever you are, don’t build your home in the shadow of a volcano — literally or figuratively!


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“Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.”
~Mark Twain

I awoke this morning to the songs of Cardinals outside my window.  One was quite close, the notes clear and strong.  The other was somewhere in the distance, offering the faint melody of response.

Such an amazing way to start the day . . . the week.

It’s spring. The flowers are peeking up from their beds; the birds are singing, and each day seems to be bursting at the seams with an unreasonable amount of possibility.

Is there anything better? I’m sure there could be, but it would take a double-dose of most anything else to even come close.

It’s today, the beginning of a new week, your new life. I like what Og Mandino has to say on the subject:

Live this day as if it will be your last.

Remember that you will only find ”tomorrow” on the calendars of fools.
Forget yesterday’s defeats and ignore the problems of tomorrow.

This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year.
The saddest words you can ever utter are, ”If I had my life to live over again.”

‘Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day!

Step up to the starting line. Get ready.  Today is your opportunity create your future afresh.

Whatever you are, be a good one today — before it’s gone forever!


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