Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn’

I came across an article in USA Today entitled, Chasing Dreams of Doggy Stardom. It was an interesting look into what it takes for a dog to make it in Hollywood. And it’s not what you might think!

The focus was on veteran Hollywood trainer Mark Harden, who shared that the type of dog best-suited for on-screen work are those who make the most challenging pets.

“Your obedient King Charles Cavalier, who sits on command and never shreds a shoe, would most likely be best-suited for cuddling, not cutting up on camera.”

Harden stated he gets as many of his dogs as possible from shelters, looking for intelligent animals with “winner” mentalities who have been abandoned for being too spirited and generally unmanageable. They have a relentless tenacity that many two-legged individuals can’t stomach, but works on-screen.

A lot of these dogs wouldn’t work in a lot of people’s homes,” Harden says.

Not that it’s the dog’s fault. But something in their upbringing has made them a failed pet. Every day, they’ve won. They’ve succeeded in barking like crazy when they want, eating dirt when they want, ruining furniture. Whatever their misbehavior, they think they’re successful.

Of course, it ends them up in the pound, but they think they’re winners, and those are the dogs we like to get.”

I don’t know about your life story, but mine has a chapter or two where folks told me I didn’t belong in their house, and abandoned me at the “pound.”

Not one to sit quietly and cuddle on a lap, I was labeled “too much this” or “not enough that.” In my attempt to destroy bad practices, dig-up disrespectful behavior, or “bark” at unethical actions, I was deemed too spirited and unmanageable.

No matter. I would rather be a star than a pet any day.

And just recently I was reminded of how easy it is for leaders to abandon people on their teams who won’t sit quietly and do as they’re told. Instead of making an effort to harness the creative energy and develop potential, they drop the challenging ones off at the pound. (Either literally or figuratively.)

These leaders aren’t looking for stars; they’re looking for lap dogs.

Where are the leaders who are willing to transform pound puppies into valuable jewels and create teams that change the world?

Maybe it’s just too hard.  After all, it takes an investment of consistency, commitment, confidence, patience, and communication to reveal potential and uncover possibility.

It takes a star to recognize a star. And maybe that’s the problem. Many of today’s leaders aren’t stars — they’re so busy cuddling on the laps of their owners they fail to appreciate the star potential in others.

To share Apple’s well-known ad:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels.
The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things. They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,
are the ones who do.

If this story were to have a moral it would be this: Even if you find yourself abandoned at the pound, you’re still a winner. Dream the dreams. Take the risk. Live the life!

Whatever you are, be a crazy one — be a star!


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Don’t look back, they might be gaining on you.
~ Unknown

I was watching a news report recently about the U.S. Transplant Games.  For those who may not know, Transplant Games are open to anyone whose most recent lifesaving solid organ transplant— heart, liver, kidney, lung, pancreas and/or heterologous bone marrow— has been functioning for at least 6 months.

It was an inspiring tale of courage and staunch determination as images of racing athletes flashed across the television screen. What made the story even more compelling was that the only reason these games are even in existence is because a fellow human being was willing to literally donate a portion of themselves to benefit another.

Puts that $5 donation I made to the March of Dimes in perspective!

And although it was a wonderful report, it was the final few frames of the video that caught my eye.  In it, a small girl — perhaps 3 or 4 — was running on the track between events.

As young children like to do, the girl kept looking behind her as she ran, to see what was going on back there . . . who was watching her . . . who was gaining on her. (There were no other runners on camera so I’m not certain she was actually competing with anyone.)

The small runner tumbled a bit, and may have actually crossed the finish line, but would never have realized it because she wasn’t interested in where she was going. Her focus was on what was behind her.

There were some valuable life lessons in this short video clip.  Too often, we’re unimpressed in our own future. Unless someone else is following our progress or interested in our path, the journey looses its allure. Why is that?

Why are we fearful to travel our own path without approval.  Why does our life only have meaning if someone else says it does?

Why do we keep looking behind us?

What good does that serve?

Your life is not meant to be lived in competition with others. It was designed with you — your happiness, your satisfaction, your generosity, your gratitude — in mind.

Life won’t grade you on a curve, dependent on where the other guy placed.

Life doesn’t matter who is behind you or in front of you.  If they’re gaining on you or falling behind.

Who cares what is going on back there — behind you.

Run your own race. Set your own pace. The key to a fulfilling life, according to Ann Landers, is to “look ahead, that is where your future lies.”

Whatever you are, don’t look back!


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Late last month, “Jungle” Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, encountered a family of grizzly bears while hiking in Glacier National Park.

You may have seen Jack on The Late Show with David Letterman where he regularly visits and brings along a menagerie of exotic and dangerous animals. Or, perhaps, caught Jack’s appearance on an educational program as he humorously shares the wonders of our planet.  Regardless, Jack lives, breathes, and sleeps animals. They are his passion, his mission.

But stumbling upon a family of wild bears is another matter entirely. Without a script or camera crew, interns or producers, this wasn’t your typical walk in the park. It was survival of the fittest.

One of the 125 pound cubs started charging toward him and a group of hikers, and then, Jack said,  everything happened so fast.

Just like the insurance commercial proclaims, it’s true that life comes at you fast!

Fortunately, Jack was able to fend off the attack with a few well-timed blasts of pepper spray.  The experience shook him up a bit — although he has carried the spray for more than 15 years, it was the first time in his career he ever needed to use the deterrent.

When asked by a reporter for advice he would give to other hikers finding themselves in similar circumstances, Jack replied, “Don’t be afraid. Be prepared.”

Wonderful advice for all of us — whatever our own brand of “angry bear family” looks like. The time to wonder if you’ll be able to handle the unexpected is not at the moment of confrontation — when your life, future, and dreams are on the line.

The time of preparation occurs in the hours, days, weeks, and months when you’re practicing and packing and plodding along.

No lights. No cameras. No cheers or accolades.
Just a relentless pursuit of the goal.

So that when the time comes — and trust me, it will,
when you round the corner on the trail and meet the angry bears,
when life calls upon you to prove your mettle,
you’ll be able to spring into action — instead of recoil in fear.

Don’t wait for tomorrow — the time to prepare is now. Otherwise, as Benjamin Franklin said,

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Whatever you are, be prepared!


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The words “I am” are potent words;
be careful what you hitch them to.
The thing you’re claiming
has a way of reaching back and claiming you.
~A.L. Kitselman

The other day, I was asked a simple question, “What do you do, exactly?”  In essence, the writer of the email was asking who I am, what am I all about, and how do I do it?

On the face of it, I should have been able to spout out an answer in 30 seconds flat.  In fact, my mind started racing with all the “things” I am and “things” I do. A list of possible answers appeared.  Multiple choice.

You’ve been there. The directions state, “Select the top 3 choices that best answer the question.”

TOP 3?  These types of tests always cause a bit of panic. Because not all the answers on the list are wrong. Some are just more “correct” than others.

You start by crossing off the obviously incorrect answers.  And then you attack the list again, selecting the top 5 to begin weeding out the contenders.  But what about this one you didn’t select. It’s like number 5.5 — really, it could be equal with 5.  Oh, dear. The selecting and re-selecting and trying to anticipate can drive one a bit mad.

Just like life!

Who you are is defined by your choices, your actions. It is not defined by the car you drive, your address, the labels you wear, your marital status, political affiliation, position in life, title, or heritage.

The effects of your vacation destinations, coiffed hair, affiliations, education, and polished resume vanish like a mist if character is missing from the equation.

Who you are is not defined by the elections you’ve won, the stages you’re invited to speak from, the books you write, or programs you broadcast.

Who you are is what you do when life gets messy and people are illogical. What you think about during those quiet times — outside of the spotlight. How you react when life is throwing lemons. Do you take responsibility or find someone else to blame?

Your response to those who are in no position to repay or propel you forward or open doors for you.   Are you known for your kind benevolence, grace, and dignity or by your malice and disdain?

The way you conduct yourself when others are standing in your way.  Where do you step? On others to get what you want, or into the role of a mentor to help them get what they want?

Do you build up or tear down. Include or exclude? Help or sabotage?

That’s who you are.

And people can see it. Regardless what you advertise about yourself.

As Paul Vitale says, “What we do flows from who we are.”

Whatever you are, if you don’t like who you are, change what you do!


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One thing I hate:  the overuse of the word hero.

For those of you unfamiliar with the rules, a hero is not a musician or entertainer or sports figure simply because her music is awesome or his dance moves are amazing or the score was record-breaking — those are idols.

A hero is a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.  Think of soldiers, police officers, fire fighters, social policy game changers, and many others whose names history records but the public forgets. They are rarely promoted by glitzy ads or high-priced marketing firms. Their acts speak for themselves and validate the title of hero.  Like the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 who thwarted a fourth attack targeted for the White House.

One thing I love: reading magazine interviews. It’s not necessary for me to know the person being interviewed (and often I do not). I find the simple back and forth rhythm of question and response intoxicating. Without a writer to misinterpret or mold the responses into a clever piece of prose, the simple or ranting or complicated answers provide a rare and honest look into the psyche of the interviewee.

And the more clever the question and original the response, the more enjoyable the interview.

So, it was with great delight that I came across an interview conducted by dwell magazine with Mexico-City based industrial designer Emilano Godoy, during which Godoy was asked to name his antihero.

His response?  “Lee Iacocca.”

Immediately I stopped reading.  Here was an answer I was not expecting! Twenty years later, what in the world could this Mexico-based designer still have against a former leader of the Chrysler Corporation?

I attempted to unravel the mystery. Does Godoy hate American Enterprise? Was he still holding a grudge against the uninspired design of the K-Car? (If true, who could successfully argue against his point?) Was he dumping the effects of global warming at the doorstep of the rust belt?  The explanation wasn’t that pedestrian.

I looked back at the page to find the rest of Godoy’s response, “So much talent going into the wrong industry.”

And there you have it. To Godoy his antihero was identified by an individual who was failing to fully exploit his talent.

And then I started wondering what Iacocca could have accomplished if he had attempted a different challenge. What field might he have selected, and how would history remember this man if he had?

I did some research and discovered that according to dictionary.com, an antihero is not necessarily an enemy, it is a main character who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure.  They are void of such things as nobility of mind and spirit, idealism, courage, or a life marked by action or purpose.

They may have the spotlight,
but they are not living a life fully worthy of the applause.

Perhaps fear or the expectations of others causes them to live far beneath their potential. Maybe they have tried and failed so many times, that their spirit is crippled and their courage has evaporated. Regardless of the reason, there are far too many of us living a life void of action and purpose.

We have become a society of antiheroes. This should not be. We are greater than this!

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark,
in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite,
the not-yet, the not-at-all.
Do not let the hero in your soul perish,
in lonely frustration for the life you deserved,
but have never been able to reach.
Check your road and the nature of your battle.
The world you desired can be won,
it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.
~ Ayn Rand

Whatever you are, be a hero!


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It emerged during our conversation that this man was one of the few undertakers in the Orkney Islands.

“What do people do if someone dies when you’re away?” I asked.

“They wait,” he said.

I read this exchange in an article entitled The Edge of the World; it was a glimpse into Scotland’s northern Orkney and Shetland islands.

The undertaker’s response represents the simple, uncluttered life of islanders who are profoundly self-sufficient. In my mind, I could even hear his tone. The unspoken message was, “That’s a crazy question! What do you think they do?”

And this exchange started me thinking about those times in our lives when there is nothing left to do . . . but wait.

We’ve dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s. We’ve read and researched. We’ve explored and questioned.

No stone is unturned.

And like the farmer who plants a field in the spring, we wait for the harvest of our efforts to become mature.  The outcome appears, for the most part, out of our control.

This should be easy — this waiting.  But it might just be the most difficult time.

Without tasks and projects and deadlines to keep us busy — we tend to fret and worry, and lose sleep.

Instead of moving on to the next big thing, we stall out, hoping, checking, praying, questioning, checking again — becoming the source of our own crazy torment.

Think about this: Have you ever seen a farmer finish the spring planting and then leave on vacation until the fall?  No way! He remains busy throughout the summer and right up until the harvest.

Waiting is a time to remain busy, focused, determined! To be alert for possibilities.

Don’t think of it as a no man’s land — it’s chock full of preparation, promise, and opportunity. It’s a time to take advantage of the plans you’ve put into motion.

You must know that in any moment
a decision you make can change the course of your life forever;
the very next person you stand behind in line
or sit next to on an airplane,
the very next phone call you make or receive,
the very next movie you see or book you read
or page you turn
could be the one single thing
that causes the floodgates to open,
and all of the things that you’ve been waiting for
to fall into place.

~ Anthony Robbins

Whatever you are, don’t waste time while you wait!


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There comes a point in your life
when you decide to change
and never feel the same again.”
~ Unknown

Maybe it’s part of growing up. Perhaps it’s born of experience.

This understanding that brings with it the knowledge that you have the authority to decide.

It’s like something clicks. The curtain rises. The lights come on.

And you realize it doesn’t have to be this way any longer. In fact it only was that way because you allowed it to be so.

And finally you understand that in some weird because my not making a decision was my decision sort of way, you had been responsible for it all along.

And you thought by ignoring it you were absolved from all responsibility? Not in this lifetime.

Ignorance of the law — or your life — is no excuse.

Interestingly enough, this unexpected breakthrough occurred for me as I celebrated my 40th birthday. Not that one more candle on the cake, or one more turn of the calendar carried with it any particular significance. And whereas some people are horrified by their age creeping up toward the “Willard Scott will now mention you on TV” birthday, I found it liberating.

And the funny thing is as I share my story of when I finally realized, “I’m 40 now, I can do what I want!” I discovered that a lot of  people felt the same sense of freedom after four decades of life. They’ve earned the right to . . . whatever!

I only wish the point had come earlier in life — say, when I was 25. But maybe that’s the plan, you don’t earn the right until you have the experience.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is this thing will change, YOU will change, and life will never be the same again, when you decide.

Why not today?

Whatever you are, I hope you’ve reached that point!


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