Nix the Cliques!

Let’s make a pact – a contract.  Yes, you and me.  This story is about trying to prevent one of the most difficult situations a young person can face.  Peer pressure is one thing.  And wanting to be accepted is another.  But a clique, in its worse sense of the word, can be devastating for some child or youth who feels they don’t fit in – anywhere!  Let’s break it down…..and then try to do something that will help our young understand and decide for themselves what’s right and what’s not. First of all, we must realize that cliques start early.  I’m not talking about high school, or junior high, or even elementary school.  I’m talking really young.  If you’re around very small children, you will have noticed the tendency for 2 or 3 of them to constantly gather together, wanting to be with on...

Live to be 100!

I want to live to be 100 because I love this life and I am far from finished. With the passage of each year, new paths open up for me to serve as a channel of God’s love, and for making a difference in this world. While I understand that we can never know for certain what God has in store for us, I also know that so much of our health and wellbeing is within our hands. As I see it, sharpening my focus on being strong and healthy for the final leg of my journey is an act of love. It’s an act of love for my family who want me around and who don’t need to be burdened with any sort of worry or frustration as to whether I am taking care of myself as I should. It’s an act of love for my beloved circle of friends who count on me. It’s an act of love for the company that I have helped to shepherd ...

Higher Purpose

What are you doing at 3:50 am each day?  Hopefully, you’re enjoying some restful sleep.  For one of my business colleagues, Jen, in Joplin, Missouri, it’s the time she rises five days a week to carpool from Baxter to Joplin to hit the gym with friends, enjoying fellowship and exercise.  The early morning trek filled with friendly visiting usually rolls by quickly.  However, Thursday morning, October 14, 2010, turned out to be anything but “usual”. Attending a professional training course in Springfield later that morning necessitated Jen’s driving to the gym alone – no big deal – or was it?  Not far into her trip, Jen encountered a bloodied-faced, obviously injured man along the roadside, waving his hands furiously.  With her thoughts spinning (alone at 4:30 am on a lightly traveled road; ...

Integrity Always!

Integrity – doing the right thing – is a matter of good character.  Make no mistake, this is not a ‘sometimes’ or ‘if it fits’ guideline; integrity is the very core, the essence of who we are – as individuals and is the evidence of the character by which we make our daily decisions about right or wrong. As a business leader, I observed countless opportunities – day to day decisions made by business owners, staff members, and employees – in which they faced issues that tested integrity.  While I have been thrilled on a daily basis with reports of loving compassion shown by those wise business associates, I have also been equally dismayed by reports of less-than-fair incidents.  In every case, regardless of the circumstances, the guideline is clear – act with integrity, it builds trust – it ...

How’s Business?

“So, how’s business?” As entrepreneurs, we often get asked some variation of this question. People really want to know, and true information from someone who is actually out there making things happen can be so much more valuable and interesting than media coverage. Even among good friends or in “small-talk” settings, questions such as these represent big opportunities. Your response says something about your character and subtly indicates whether you are a person with whom others may or may not want to do business. It is absolutely true that everyday conversations can open doors or close doors. I’ve witnessed both and have come up with a few guiding principles: Never Complain! You might not have had the best week. You might be concerned about the direction of the market. Clients or cash f...

Gratitude’s Grace

My Dear Friends, I have recently been collecting my thoughts on gratitude – I must admit that given the devastating natural disasters we face year after year; the fact that so many of our precious, courageous service men and women will once again be away from the warmth of their families and homes; and the unsettled state of the world in general, my heart is indeed heavy.  And, as a result I think to myself, “Where exactly does gratitude fit into this current picture?”    It is then that my faith combined with my years of life experience nudges me, reminding me that gratitude’s grace is in the midst of it all – we just might have to dig a bit deeper – look a little closer — to reveal it. “Sometimes our light goes out, but it is blown again into flame by an encounter with another huma...

Absolutes

How dangerous and destructive is the habit of using “absolutes” in everyday conversation? Have you ever thought of this? Do you hear yourself using absolutes? If so, you most probably are steering your relationships and reputation down an unpleasant and rocky road. Over the last five years of mentoring various people, I have come to recognize one common thread when my mentees talked about conflict with a spouse, fellow employee, employer and/or friend. Everyone I dealt with was oblivious to this “common thread”; however to me it stuck out like a sore thumb. It was the frequent use of “absolutes.” Many of us have heard counselors stress that we should not use absolutes in our conversations – words such as “always,” and “never”. However, until I started me...

Choosing Character

Have you ever caught yourself thinking or even saying to someone, “Yes, it was definitely out of character for me.” Hopefully, what you truly meant was that a specific decision or action (choosing a color you don’t usually wear, trying a new trend, or a different technique, etc.) resulted in your stepping “out of your comfort zone” and actually had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with your core values or character. While taking the initiative and courage to step out of our comfort zone often serves as a favorable personal and professional course of action; abandoning our true character for even an instant can be catastrophic for us personally as well as for the many others in our lives. Why? Because it betrays who we are born to be, pulls us ‘off course’ and prevents us from shar...

New Year / New Day

It was around my 50th New Year’s celebration that I actually got it. As I was entering my life’s second half, I realized that this annual exercise of making resolutions, possibly breaking resolutions, and doing it all over again the next year was a luxury that was not going to go on forever. I realized that I needed to get far more purposeful than I ever had before about what I wanted my life to be. I determined that every day that lie before me in the year ahead was going to be precious beyond measure.  Every single day. New Year’s Resolutions are good. Writing a letter to oneself on the first of the year, to be opened on December 31, congratulating oneself on achieving, becoming, doing and giving all that you planned is better. What’s best is knowing and believing at your very core that ...

Good Grief

I slept until noon or after. Me! The one who never sets an alarm, not even on Sundays. My resistance was way down! I had no immune system – I didn’t eat right, didn’t drink enough water; I took antidepressants and antianxiety drugs. I finally asked my doctor if we could just set up a standing appointment, and I would always be there. He laughed out loud but didn’t realize that I was truly serious. I didn’t clean house, I let dishes stack up for days at a time in the kitchen sink. I didn’t wash my hair, didn’t put on my makeup – well, I guess I have to confess that I didn’t do anything of any consequence. I sat and stared into space – pretty much all day, every day. Nothing motivated me. Friends called to check on me, asking, “How are you doing?” And my answer was always the same: “Oh...

Proactive or Reactive?

Are you Proactive or Reactive? Which one are you? We have many God given facets to our personality. By nature, we are either a “waiting” or a “moving” personality, with a tendency to be either “external” or “internal” processors. And we are, by nature, either proactive or reactive. Regardless of which category we are in, each category has strengths as well as potential limitations. Have you ever heard someone say: “That’s just the way I am. That’s just the nature God gave me?” Or maybe you’ve heard someone say, “Well, my dad was this way and that’s just the way I am.” People use these excuses for limiting behavior. Those statements are about as wise as saying there is no value in going to school...

Never Just Another Day

It was a powerful exercise for me to share the Seven Personal Pillars that have served as a foundation for me over the course of my life. These fundamental, deep beliefs have supported my sense of meaning, purpose and connection.  Please find these sessions in our archives. The opportunity to review and reaffirm these pillars reflects another practice that has proven to be very important to me: a determination to be very intentional about my day, my week, and my life. I laughed recently when I came across this quote from Zig Ziglar: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” I love this quote, because it is so true. I believe that a life well lived begins every single day, with a reaffirmation of what’s most i...