Sunday, December 1, 2013

Simple...but not Easy

It sounds like simple advice.  

It give.  It's not so simple to take however. 

"Take a shot."  

We've all seen the motivational quotes about "missing 100% of the shots you don't take" and we all get that but what about when you have to take that leap when the safety net might not be there? 

You know those times when you are standing on the edge deciding whether or not you want to jump?  

A lot of times "taking a shot" means going against the grain, beating the odds, defying logic.

It means trusting your gut. Following your heart. Taking a chance.

"Take a shot."  

The key to "taking a shot" is knowing that you have just as equal of chance as succeeding as you do as failing.  But here is the can argue...even when you fail when you take that actually succeed. 

My dad took several shots. He missed a lot of them.  He made a lot of them. 

After working for several years for the same company, the regime changed and wanted to get younger so they sent "old" pros like my dad packing. My dad had two choices; take a great, safe offer from a well established company or try to make it on his own.  He chose the latter. On paper and in the short would say he failed. But in the long term...he became a huge success because he went back to school, reinvented himself, loved what he did and ended up passing away with no regrets.

What would you rather do?  Swing away and hope you hit a home run or keep the bat on your shoulder and take strike three?  It's an easy choice for me. 

"Take a shot!"  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Let's Take a Walk

There are so many times in life when we have to walk away. 

Some are by choice. 

Some are not.  

Some are good.  Some are bad. 

Some are for the better of the many. Some are for the better of the few. 

Some affect the short term.  Some affect the long term. 

Some hurt for a short time.  Some linger. 

Walking away is hard.  

Most people look at it as "giving up"..."throwing in the towel." 

Most people look at it as a sign of weakness.  

Au's a sign of strength.  

When a good friend lost his dad, he said our fathers were both strong enough to let go.  That's a powerful place to be.  

The key is to not be afraid. The key is to know when you walk away...there is a new direction.  

What seems like an ending...becomes a beginning. 

What seems new life.  

Walking away gives you freedom.

Just remember...even if it looks like you are walking are inevitably walking to something. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It Was a Very Good Year...Or Was It?

When I was seventeen it was a very good year.
It was a very good year for small town girls...
And soft summer nights. We'd hide from the lights.
On the village green...When I was seventeen

Are these words of regret from a man who admittedly is in the "autumn of the year" or are these the words of a man who is looking in the rear view mirror smiling as he recalls fond memories that made him the man he is today?

Recently, I was out with two really good friends and we were listening to some classic Sinatra and the song "It Was a Very Good Year" came on. Two of us immediately talked about how cool the crooner's perspective is.

The other friend lamented at how sad it was. She talked about the sadness of the melody. She talked about the sadness in his voice.

When I was twenty-one it was a very good year.
It was a very good year for city girls...
Who lived up the stair...with all that perfumed hair.
And it came undone when I was twenty-one.

My other friend and I focused on the imagery of a man looking back at life with a thoughtful smile...realizing that even though the end is approaching...there were lots of reasons to celebrate life.

But now the days grow short.
Im in the autumn of the year.
And now I think of my life as vintage wine
from fine old kegs
from the brim to the dregs
And it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year

Three similar people. One song. Two different perspectives.

One could look at it from a gender point of view. Men tend to look at their own mortality more than women.

Was this two 40-something year old men hoping that the song provides a positive picture of what is to come; when the end is near, we can look back at our lives and smile? Was this a woman who looks at it and feels sadness for the person whose life has gone by so quickly and is full of so many regrets?

I think there might be something to it.


The answer probably lies in the middle somewhere. All three of us are probably right to a degree.

But here is the kicker...

We have good days. We have bad days. Not every day is going to be good. Accept it. But if your "good" days in a year add up to 183, it was a very good year.

Methinks that's what 'ol Frankie was trying to tell us.

Yeah...I am going with that.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Where's the bactine?

Remember when you were a kid and you skinned your knees?

You were probably going full speed at the time of the fall. And when you first fell, the sting felt like nothing you ever felt before. You felt like the pain would never go away. The tears would come uncontrollably. Your mom or dad would either come running due to the ear piercing shrieks and crying or you had to hobble and limp over to them. They would clean you up, put a band-aid on it and you would be back out playing again by the time the next hour passed.

Later when you saw your friends, grandparents or siblings, they would notice your scrape and they would ask what happened and you wore the war wound like a badge of courage. You would puff out your chest and say...yeah, it was pretty bad. But you were back out on the playground ready for more.

Recently, I ran into an old friend and she had skinned her knee and she mentioned "nice scraped knee, huh?" I laughed and thought to myself what is a better symbol of our youth than a skinned knee.

We had the carefree attitude to run with reckless abandon. And when we fell...we fell hard. It hurt. We probably vowed to ourselves never to run like that again. But we picked ourselves up (sometimes with the help of others), cleaned up the scrape and we were back at it.

As we get older, the skinned knees hurt more. The scars run deeper. But we need to pick ourselves up and do it again.

We need to remember the days of our youth. Not to live in the past but to learn to live because of the past.

Don't remember the skinned knee...remember the fun you had before the fall. And the fun you had after.

Now, wanna come out and play again?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Three that are Me

They are unique in their own way 
Yet all the same. 

They all have done so much 
But have so much more to accomplish. 

They all open their hearts to possibilities. 
And use their heads for opportunities. 

One is the strategist 
One is the public servant 
One is the builder

They all feel the beat of the music
And colors of the art. 

They bring every minute to life 
Every day. 

They give the best hugs 
The kind that you want to last forever. 

They bring a smile 
To my face 
And to my heart everyday. 

They are amazing. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Don't Forget your Umbrella...and some Sunscreen

Lately it has been raining almost non-stop.

And we aren't talking a few drops here and there. We are talking the kind of rain that keeps you up at night. The kind of rain that sounds like there are thousands of spikes hitting your roof. The kind of rain that brings thunder that sounds like the gods waging war on each other. The kind of lightning that lights up the sky brighter than a high school football field in any small town across the country during the fall.

Get the picture?

Well...this time last year...we were in the middle of a brutal drought. The kind of drought where you could actually see plants, trees and grass dying a slow death from lack of water. The kind of drought that sucked the life out of everything and everyone. The kind of drought that left permanent damage to the world around us.

Last year we would've begged and sold our souls to the devil for some rain. This year...we crave a hot smoldering sun.

How about 70 and sunny all of time during the day and 57 and clear all of the time during the evenings? Perfect huh?

It's the classic tale of Goldilocks and the three bears. We all want the perfect place right in the middle. But that's not real. Usually life brings us really high high's and really low low's. It's the nature of the beast. The key is to learn how to find some level of joy with the extremes. Don't shy away from them. They are there to prove we are alive. To touch the sun is amazing. To touch the ocean floor can be as well.

Learn to dance in the rain. Learn to bask in the sun.

Learn to reach for the extremes.

But bring an umbrella...and maybe some sunscreen.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Roles we Play

When I first became a manager, I had to play the role of the good cop. The confidant. The counselor. The friend.

The situation dictated my role.

When I moved markets, I had to the play the role of the bad cop. The agent of change. The dictator. The acquaintance.

The situation dictated my role.

You see...whether it be business or personal, we all play a role. The role is defined primarily by the situation, the desired outcome with the potential benefits or risks of the situation and the interpersonal relationship you have with the others in the situation.

To be a chameleon in theater shows depth and talent.

To be a chameleon in life though usually is interpreted by others as being disingenuous or "not real."

This misconception could not be further from the truth. You can be consistent and fair while still playing different roles.

People are not black and white. Life is not scripted. It is the quintessential improv act. It is the ideal stage for all performances.

The downside of excelling in a role in theater is getting typecast for that type of role forever.

Yul Brynner will always be the King.

William Shatner will always be Kirk.

Sly Stallone will always be Rocky Balboa.

James Gandolfini will always be Tony Soprano.

The caveat in life is the same. Don't get typecast in a role you don't want. It's unsatisfying and unfulfilling.

Life is the greatest theater of all. And you have the lead role. Now is your time. Don't give the performance of your life. Give your life the performance it deserves.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Turn the Page

As you go through the mundane chore of turning your calendar page, you realize time is moving.  

You start to remember less and forget more all of the time. 

The hair gets more gray.  And you find more of it in certain areas and less in others. 

It takes longer to recover from a workout and you have to work harder to get something out of it.  

Wisdom and perspective are gained. But at what expense?  

Cynicism reigns supreme. 

Optimism takes a back seat to what same may call realism. 

Risks become more calculated.  Less risky. is the kicker.  Here is where it gets good. 

The older you get, the less you feel like you have to spend time with the right people.  You want to spend more time with the people who just make you feel alright. 

The older you get, the greater the understanding between being alone and feeling lonely. 

The older you get, the more memories you actually have. 

Here is to making memories while being alone with the right people. 

Fine wine baby.  Fine wine.  


Thursday, May 2, 2013


Imagine yourself walking into a room full of people.

Your mind automatically makes judgments on the people you see.

Not in a bad way.

In a human way...

And as the night goes engage some in dialogue and you formulate an impression of what their life may be like.

Some you think are lucky.

Some you think are unfortunate.

Some you really like.

Some you keep your distance from.

But just remember...

All of them (including you) are carrying their own cross.

Don't judge. Just accept.

We all are carrying something. And to a person...each one feels like a ton.

Just sayin'

Side note: Just to clarify...the picture or the topic does not mean I am making this a religious discussion. Just an apropos analogy. That's all.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It's Razor Thin

It's a constant balancing act.

The line is so small.

Trying to find the balance.

Strike it. Curse it. Believe it. Practice it. Break it. Do it.

It's the never ending battle between getting too close to the flame and burning your finger.

Between soaring to new heights and falling down too far.

Between touching the outer fringe of genius and getting cut from the razor sharp edge of insanity.

Between immersing yourself in the deep ocean of passion and drowning in irresponsibility.

Between drinking from the chalice of Carpe Diem and choking from short sightedness.

Between living in the moment and dying many moments too soon.

Between being there for everyone and being nowhere for yourself.

Between feeling the charge of being plugged in like an open wire and being fried by being too plugged in.

Between the medicinal effect of being child-like and the cancerous effect of being childish.

Between basking in the sea of anonymity and forgetting who you are.

Between toeing the line and crossing it.

Between taking risky chances and chancing risky choices.

It's a fine line.

Yes...yes it is.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hold on a sec...will ya?

Fact number one: Life is hard.

Fact number two: There are days when it seems like you can't make it.

Fact number three: There is always tomorrow.

Let's face it...we have all been there. That place where we feel like all is lost. Like there is no hope. Like you can't go on.

How do you keep holding on?

How do you get through it?

You find one thing to hold onto. One thing to cling to. One thing that can give you the inner strength you need to keep going.

One thing is all it takes.

It can seem like the smallest of things. A sliver of light breaking through. The tiniest of seeds starting to sprout.

It can come in human form or not.

It is out there. You just need to continue to look for it.

One thing. That's it.

Find yours. Today.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Simple Complexity

Ever play the game Jenga?

Ever look at an individual Jenga piece?

Alone, it is simplistic in nature. Each piece of wood is three times as long as it is wide, and its height is approximately half its width.

One would say nondescript by nature.

But when combined with other Jenga pieces, a complex pattern can be created. An amalgamation formed from experimentation and trial and error.

Far from nondescript.

Have you ever met someone who would fit the Jenga paradigm? Easy (simple) to get to know but once you get to know see complex layers that time, experience and perspective have molded into what they are today.

Has anyone ever said they were an open book to you?

You see, it's easy to open a book. It's not as easy to "get" the meaning behind the book.

But the "a-ha" moment is created when you find out that every chapter is a new story on its own.

The other element that goes along with the simple complexity paradigm of Jenga? Once a new creation tumbles, it's time to rebuild another one.

Sounds like another game we know. It's called life.

Sounds simple doesn't it? It's not...but we wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Plugging in and Unplugging

Are you the type of person that gets your energy from plugging in to everything around you?

You feed off the juice coming from your surroundings.

You need to feel connected.

But what happens when you plug in to the wrong conduit? What happens when the current running from one to another is negative? It drains you. You lose momentum.

It brings you into the downturn of the roller coaster.

Now, visiting the downturn of the roller coaster isn't bad because we realize quickly we don't want to stay and eventually it will turn back up. But if you feel like you are constantly being pulled down...


Sometimes to stay have to disconnect.

It's OK. You have permission.

Just remember to plug back in.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

What is Left Behind?

e·ro·sion The group of natural processes, including weathering, dissolution, abrasion, corrosion, and transportation, by which material is worn away from the earth's surface.

I usually don't like starting a blog with a formal definition of a word but it's relevant.

Key takeaways from the aforementioned definition?

"natural processes" and "...material is worn away"

Now, let's redefine it as it pertains to the human spirit.

The group of human processes, including jealousy, hatred, spite, gossip and envy, by which the human spirit is worn away from the inner person.

Here is the thing though...

When erosion happens to the land, what is left is usually different but stronger. A new landscape has been created. A new beauty.

The same is true when it happens to our spirit. We are stronger because of it. A new perspective has been created. A new beauty.

Look, there are always going to be natural human reactions and actions that erode our spirit. That create self doubt. That create glass ceilings. But whatever new has been assured...the inner spirit will find a way to shine.

Look at human erosion as glacial in nature. What is left behind is the key.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Time for Some Random Thoughts on a Sunday Morning

We all have the same needs, dreams, hopes, fears and desires. Once you realize you aren't alone in this feel better about everything.

There is nothing better than a morning hug or a kiss goodnight from your kids.

Don't ever underestimate the value of true friends.

Love lazy Sunday mornings on the couch with coffee and music.

Bummed that football is over for awhile. Truly love that sport. It is the one true TEAM sport.

A well placed random act of kindness can rock someone's day.

Passionate people experience the highest of highs and lowest of lows. A lot of times over the same situation.

There is nothing better than listening to a local radio station and the music flow from one song to another makes so much sense to you at the time.

It is OK to look at your glass half empty...sometimes.

There really is a thing called the mid-life crisis and it affects most of us. We just deal with it differently.

The older you get...the less important it is to be with the "right" people. It is more important to be the people who make you feel alright.

Everyone who comes into your life does serve a purpose. Some will be good. Some will be bad. But there is a reason they are there.

You can't please everyone.

The more things you do first...the more second guessing you will get.

Self doubt can be a good thing.

After every challenge...there is an opportunity.

Find ways to stimulate the mind and energize the body. It will do your life good.

Unplug...stay connected.

Love the enigma that is a mechanical pencil.

Don't just exist. Live.

Chew on that for awhile and let me know what you think.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Do You Believe in Magic?

They say that magic isn't real. They say it doesn't exist.

They are the naysayers. They don't want to believe in something they feel because they can't see it.

Yesterday, I not only felt it but I saw it as well.

It was alive and well in the Magic Kingdom.

We took our boys for the first time and it was an amazing adventure.

There was magic present around every corner because we took our daughter 15 years ago and we relived every moment we had with her with our boys.

There was magic present when my oldest boy held me tight as he braved his way through a roller coaster experience.

There was magic present when the youngest would shout out "wheeeee" around every turn.

There was magic present when my youngest boy put his arm around his brother and asked if he was ok after the roller coaster ride.

There was magic present when holding my youngest boy's hand as we danced to the music that played outside of the castle.

There was magic present when watching my oldest boy slip on his Mickey sorcerer hat and wear it proudly around the park.

There was magic present when my youngest braved through the dark caves on Tom Sawyer's island.

There was magic present when my oldest boy asked a woman and her children if she needed a place to sit and offered our table.

There was magic all around.

The problem with most of us though, is that the magic dies when you leave the park. The key to life is looking for and finding those moments of magic after the bright lights of the Magic Kingdom fade into black. Imagine how your life would be if you had "magic" moments everyday.

Just imagine...