Posts Tagged ‘Gene Mauch’

I leaned on her
and she took my weight.
~ Hilary Swank referring to Mariska Hargitay

You know all these challenges and tests and trials that you’ve been facing lately? The stray balls out of left field? Those events that (if they don’t kill you first) are supposed to make you stronger?

The circumstances that stretch and pull and change who you are, what you think, how you view the future?  The conditions that (if you allow them) shape your idea of what you can successfully persevere through and overcome?

Yes, I’m talking about those things.

They haunt us at night and burden us during the day. They test us. They taunt and question and demand answers.

And all along we thought the exercise was one for our own self-development.

That our triumph was a solitary victory — one that would propel us forward toward achievement of our own dreams and goals.

But what if it’s not all about us?

What if the result of our overcoming difficult circumstances, is to enlarge our spirits so that we have the capacity to help carry the burdens of others?

What if the true agenda of these challenges is for us to develop ample strength so we are able to bear the weight when others need to lean on us?

Maybe all of this challenge and persevering and overcoming isn’t for us. Maybe our making it to the other side is so we are in a position to help others get there, too.

You can’t lead anyone else
further than you have gone yourself.
~Gene Mauch

Whatever you are, others are counting on you to make it!


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You have to make taking care of yourself a priority” [Christina Maslach].

If you have flown on a commercial airplane, you’re familiar with the pre-flight safety speech indicating that if the cabin should lose pressure, oxygen masks will descend from overhead. You are instructed to put on your mask first, before attempting to help those around you.

At first thought, the action seems a bit selfish — this idea of taking care of yourself first when others require your assistance. The truth, both in airplane safety and in life, is this:

“You can’t take care of others if you can’t take care of yourself” [Mary Mazzer].

Investing in your mental well-being, creativity, and personal development by reading books, attending thought-provoking seminars, enjoying an afternoon away, listening to inspirational CDs, and associating with others who are like-minded, is every bit as important to your emotional health as drinking adequate amounts of water, eating a balanced diet, getting sufficient rest, and engaging in regular exercise is to your physical well-being.

There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self” [Aldous Huxley].

It is irrational to think that you can operate your car on a long-term basis without proper maintenance: air pressure in the tires, gasoline in the tank, and oil in the engine. Yet we live our lives at maximum output for extended periods of time without a thought of our own maintenance schedule.

We work relentlessly, day after day, helping others, saving the environment, taking the call, attending the meeting, offering advice, rushing to assist, and providing support — while watching our energy, enthusiasm, and cheerfulness dissipate into exhaustion, frustration, and anger, as our “fuel” light indicates we are dangerously close to empty.

We regularly convince ourselves we are too important, or too busy, or the situation is too critical for us to step away and spend time replenishing the resources. The problem is that if we don’t take time to invest in ourselves, we will have precious little to draw from tomorrow, and even less the day after. Ineffectiveness becomes the norm as diminishing resources results in our working harder and harder with less and less.

Stephen R. Covey refers to self-renewal as the “Sharpen the Saw” principle, and relates the following story in his book, The 7 Habits for Highly Effective People.

Suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree.

“What are you doing?” you ask.

“Can’t you see?” comes the impatient reply. “I’m sawing down this tree.”

“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”

“Over five hours,” he returns, “and I’m beat! This is hard work.”

“Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?” you inquire. “I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”

“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the mans says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing!”

Sometimes we become so blinded by our own activity, that we fail to see how ineffective we have become. Gene Mauch said, “You can’t lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself.” And, truth be told, you can’t get very far on an empty tank. The investment you make in yourself today, will produce profitable returns in the lives of others tomorrow.

I hope that my achievements in life shall be these — that I will have fought for what was right and fair,

that I will have risked for that which mattered, and that I will have given help to those who were in need,

that I will have left the earth a better place for what I’ve done and who I’ve been” [C. Hoppe].

Desiring to accomplish great things is noble; however, it is important to remember that water does not come from an empty well. The very best thing you can do for those you care about, is to take the very best care of yourself.

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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