Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Are you tough enough

Back in the day when I played sports the coach would give a dramatic pre-game speech that was meant to motivate and inspire the team to victory.  Inevitably a coach would state an age old cliché, “When the going gets tough the tough get going.”

That statement has been attributed to Joseph P. Kennedy father of slain President John F. Kennedy.  However eight years before Kennedy used the phrase the late great Notre Dame Football coach Frank Leahy  reportedly said, “When the going gets tough, let the tough get going.”

In my humble opinion, the differences between the two statements are subtle, but read them again. Mr. Kennedy’s words speak to an action that anyone that ‘is’ tough can do.  Meanwhile Mr. Leahy’s statement speaks to the action being something that anyone can do who desires to be.

Zac Vawter lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident.  Through the wonders of technology he was able to receive not just a prosthetic limb but a mind-controlled bionic limb.  Overcoming all odds and truly defining toughness, he climbed 103 stories to get to the top of Chicago’s famous Sears Willis Tower becoming the first person with a bionic limb to accomplish such a feat.  Can you imagine how rough his road to recovery had to have been both mentally as well as physically?  Yet he beat back doubt, maybe some self-pity and developed a “yes I can” attitude and truly stepped up.

What obstacle did Agatha Christie, Magic Johnson, Cher, Danny Glover, Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg, and even General George S. Patton had to overcome in order to achieve their own success?  They all are or had Dyslexia.  Don’t you think a person must have a certain level of internally ingrained toughness to surmount a learning disability?

No matter where you are in life.  No matter how great the obstacle may appear.  No matter your age, gender, sexual orientation, or any other thing you may see as a hindrance.  Be encouraged! Victory is at hand, but unless you get into the game you’ll never know how tough you really are.

Human beings have faced wars, famine, acts of God, economic downturns, political failure and a host of tragedies and did more than just survive.  We are conquerors!  If a (neither disrespect intended nor a pun) one legged man can climb thousands of steps to get to the top and people with an often looked down upon and misdiagnosed affliction can learn to function successfully—can you sincerely say, “I’m not tough enough.”

Monday, May 6, 2013

Instead of fleeting motivation try inspiration

The alarm clock cuts through the stillness of early morning quiet.  You jump out of bed ready to conquer the world.  Your motivation level is at an all-time high.  Surely the honey-do list will get completed right after working an eight or more hour day.  You are motivated to make it happen.

Then something does happen.  You spill coffee on your shirt/blouse.  The kids won’t cooperate and are at risk of missing the school bus.  Traffic is moving so slow, a one leg dude on a tricycle beats you to work.  Now your motivation is only a memory of what could have been.
Many people ask themselves, “Why do I find it so hard to stay motivated?”  Life isn’t lived on autopilot. No matter the best of intentions, things will and can occur that are outside of our control.  Big burst of excitement or high levels of energy attached to a particular situation can dissipate in the blink of an eye.

However there are times when stimulation and inspiration can far outpace the flightiness of interrupted motivation.  To be stimulated is to raise the level of physiological activity in the body or mind.  To be inspired is to embark on mental stimuli to do or feel something which can lead to creativity.
One method of receiving stimulated inspiration is from quotes that can become a mantra (often repeated word or phrase) to live by.

Here are some that has withstood the test of time.
1.       “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”  Bill Copeland

2.       “All of our dreams can come true—if we have the courage to pursue them.”  Walt Disney

3.       “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  Thomas Edison

4.       “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”  Vince Lombardi

5.       “20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”  Mark Twain

6.       “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  Confucius

7.       “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”  Franklin D. Roosevelt

8.       “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”  Gandhi

9.       “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games.  26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”  Michael Jordan

10.   “I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.”  Oprah Winfrey
Pick one, pick two or choose to use them all.  By planting positive seeds, one day you will be able to harvest a field of possibilities that can change your life for the better…if you are inspired enough to do so.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

One man’s hard work drives him to success

Today’s media and news outlets are chock full of nuts.  Most certainly if someone sat (after having been strapped to a chair with their eyes glued open) and watched hour upon hour of so-called news related stories, I would bet the house on the majority of the stories being negative.

Of course the news is a vehicle for information, current events and matters taking place in real time. But when some detached almost-smiling newscaster is hard pressed to contain their excitement over the possibility this new tragedy could be their ticket to the big times—there’s a problem. Overall it comes across as if human beings ‘do nothing’ but harm, steal, maim, rape, kill or exploit each other for sport, gain or simply personal achievement.
However there are times when more than just a quick twenty second feel good story is reported. Hope is restored and the heavens can rejoice that just maybe all is not lost.  Maybe I’m being overly dramatic, but I do so to make a point.  Life is both good and bad, pretty and ugly and everything in between.

Personally I’m a big believer in the goodness of life and definitely not delusional.  When life gives you lemons…cut that sucker in half sprinkle some salt and savor the taste of the sour/salty combo.
When I came across a “human interest” story which is positive and showed humanity in a bright light, it had to be shared.

An employer took the time to show an employee how much the company valued him and his service. Get this—they bought the guy a brand new automobile as a gift of appreciation.
This is what happened: Chris Ninos thought he was merely going to lunch with co-workers and had to stop by a Ford dealership to pick up the company’s CEO, Brandon Rosen.  When he walked into the dealership, he was handed the keys to a new car.  It’s reported Ninos said, “Some people said they thought I was going to have a coronary right there.”  It’s an actual gift; the title is in his name. It’s not a company car, according to the SunSentinel.

The company didn’t merely reward him for showing up.  They did so because he shows out.  Rosen reportedly said Ninos is the first to show up and the last to leave even working on holidays.
There’s no indication that Chris Ninos went to work every day expecting his employer to buy him a new car.  The man was merely doing his job with a gusto and passion he obviously felt toward his responsibilities.  The employer greatly appreciated his effort, dedication and output and as a sign of their sincere appreciation presented it in the form of a car.

That’s way cool, don’t you think?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Discover your reason to appreciate life

The clear bluest green waters roared as if it had a voice.  The sun was shining as if the voltage was turned so far up even the shadows weren’t as dark.  All around me as I lay on a brightly colored beach towel the sounds of laughter filled the air.  Children played in the ocean as adults played alongside them as if they were recapturing their own childhood.  My own wife had abandoned me for hours as she frolicked in the waters of the great Pacific Ocean.  Periodically I would look up to spot her before the waters sucked her back in. Hawaii was quickly becoming my wife’s new lover.  I relished in her glee and reflected on my own life as I enjoyed the warm sun as it further baked my already brown skin.

I am a true believer in reflection.  In doing so it does put things into their proper perspective.  As the clock of life ticked on Nov. 8, I reached another milestone—50 years of age.  Wow!  Just yesterday I was partying like its 1999 and doggone it was.  Time may fly, but life can seem to go as fast as the speed of sound.

Therefore as I relaxed in the sun, on the beautiful beach on the magnificent island of Oahu my mental DVD player came on and I reflected in increments of 10.

Being born in the early part of the ‘60s, I was too young to know all that was happening in the world-- from JFK, MLK and RFK being assassinated, to the Cuban Missile Crisis to the Civil Rights Movement.  However in 1972 my awareness was peaked with the brutal murder of my 15 year old uncle.  At the age of 10, I started to have an appreciation for life through death.  In 1982 my beloved grandmother was needed in heaven and my appreciation for life increased even more.  Tragically in 1992 my younger sister died in her sleep.  Again that brought forth a greater appreciation for life.

Over the past 20 years I haven’t experienced any other close relatives passing (thank God) but my overall appreciation for life has grown as if it was a planted field and I’m enjoying the harvest.

Life is a blessing.  Life is a gift.  Life is to be treasured.  Life shouldn’t be wasted.  Please don’t let a death be the catalyst for you to appreciate your own life.  Allow the message contained in the above words touch the spirit of life that breathes in each of us.  And for those that missed it—APPRECIATE LIFE!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

7 simple ways to never giving up

John T. spent 48 years of his life in the ‘system.’  At the age of three his drug addicted mother could no longer care for a small child so she sent him to live with her aging and in ill-health mother.  That arrangement lasted for less than a week before social services had to step in.  For the next 11 years, John was a ward of the state bounced from one foster home to another.  When he turned 14, John was sent to juvenile detention for joyriding in a ‘borrowed-without-permission’ automobile. Upon his release at the age of 18 he was able to last two months on the ‘outside’ before committing the crime of assault and battery and that owned him a five year engagement at a state institution for the criminally inclined.  John served the entire term.

At this point one may think that he learned a lesson or maybe had a coming-to-the-lord moment. Not quite.  In fact John quickly met up with several past guests of the state and embarked on a new venture—robbing banks.  Short story even shorter, he was caught and sent away, this time his room was reserved at the federal level.  Twenty years of living in a cage for less than $10,000 earned during his so-called bank robbery spree.

Again he served the entire term.  When he was released John was placed on five years of supervised probation.  Even though he wasn’t any longer in a prison of bars, he was still in captivity albeit on the ‘outside.’

I met John based on an introduction made by one of my life coaching clients.  He had just completed his final year of probation.  For a grown adult male, he didn’t have a clue how to live a productive life.  His greatest fear centered on going back to prison.  And I thought that was a great thing, because if he used that fear as fuel, I believed he was well on his way to beginning to truly live.

He figured that the process would be arduous, long and involve methods that would make his prison stay seem like a walk on the beach during sunset.

Listed below are the seven simple ways I provided John to assist him in not giving up:

1.       Sunday
2.       Monday
3.       Tuesday
4.       Wednesday
5.       Thursday
6.       Friday
7.       Saturday

Yep…that’s it, nothing mystical or magical about it.  Every day is a new day full of potential.  Even though yesterday may have been rough and today is tough, one of the greatest blessings in life is tomorrow. Never give up, never give out and never quit.  You never know where life can lead you, just keep living.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our children’s education matters

A famous song (GreatestLove of All) rings out, “I believe the children are our future.  Treat them well and let them lead the way.  Show them all the beauty they possess inside.  Give them a sense of pride to make it easier.”

My wife and I went to see the newly released movie, ‘Won’t Back Down,’ starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis.  The film centered on the ParentTrigger Law which was passed in California and other states in 2010.  The law allows parents to enforce administrative overhaul and overrule administrators in under-performing public schools if petitioned.  If successful, petitions allow parents to direct changes which could lead to dismissal of staff and the potential conversion of a school to a charter school.

Keeping in mind that Hollywood does have a tendency to glamorize most issues, I found the film to be slightly watered down in regards to the children.  They were used as accessories to the story.  The entire film centered on the fight between two strong willed women and a stubborn self-serving union man along with his trusty sidekick, a burned out woman who was torn between being right and doing the right thing.

The film showed teachers caring more about their seniority and benefits than caring about educating the children.  It showed the teachers union as a bunch of jerks with the leader of the union stating kids weren’t important because they didn’t pay union dues.  One of the slimiest moments of the film was when the character played by Holly Hunter attempted to bribe one of the mothers.

Overall I believe this is a movie worth seeing so that the focus on quality….no make that….superior education remains as one of the foremost benefits we can provide our children.

Sometimes I wonder if the struggles of the past have been completely forgotten.  Does anyone remember Brown vs. Boardof Education?  How about James Meredith?   In North America—the land of the brave and free, there are adults that simply can’t read.  When an adult can’t read, is it lost on folks that they couldn’t do so as a child?

Education is not a game played for victory by school unions, teachers or well meaning parents as the movie depicted.  It is about the children!  And they certainly deserve better than they are getting from a lackluster school system or ridiculous measures that moves a child along because they were taught to the test (No child left behind Act).

Won’t back down should be a mantra cited by every one of us and we should add to that, ‘won’t turn our backs on our children.’  When kids must go through a metal detector to enter schools and are not able to enter a school library due to cutbacks there is indeed a serious problem.  How can kids have a future if adults are taking away their present?  For our kids sake…don’t back down!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Simple suggestions to answering the knock of opportunity

“Opportunities only knock once.”  How many times have you heard that one? But is it really true?  Does the statement really make sense?  I will stand on the side of boldness and say, “That’s hogwash.”

Every day brings forth a newness, therefore it would stand to reason that another opportunity will come knocking in some form or fashion.  The real question is this, “Will you recognize opportunity when it knocks and will you be prepared to take advantage of it?”

In North America not a single human being is denied the right to live free and able.  Even those that have chosen to live outside of the laws most of us follow have spoken out on the greatness of the chances available.  Take the notorious criminal Al Capone (Jan. 17, 1899 – Jan. 25, 1947) for an example when he was once quoted as saying, “This American system of ours…call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you like, gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.” Powerful insight from a crook, don’t you think?

Are you making the most out of opportunities that may come your way?  Are you currently preparing yourself for the possibilities of an opportunity?  Simply sitting around waiting for the phone to ring isn’t preparation.  There isn’t a better time to get started than today.

Listed below are some simple suggestions to assist in preparation to answer the knock:

Be open-minded:  Opportunities don’t always come wrapped in an identifiable way.

Embrace learning:  You are never too old, too young or too smart to learn something new.

Be aware of self-inflected limitations:  Don’t be afraid to give something a chance just because it may be something you haven’t ever considered. (I’m only talking about the legal, ethical and moral aspects of life—to be clear).

Embrace networking:  Step outside of circles or influences that may limit new opportunities.

Seek guidance:  Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance and pick the brains of folks making positive forward strides.

Volunteer or intern:  By exposing others to your talents and abilities you can open more doors in the future.

Continue or start to work on making yourself a better more rounded individual:  Read, read and then read some more.  Invest in books, CD’s or seminars as learning tools.

Let it be known:  If Dr. Whatshisname isn’t aware that you have an interest in pharmacy how can he assist you.

Life is full of opportunities and those that are able to take advantage of them have one thing in common – they were prepared.