The Two Wolves.

"Life is the sum of all your choices." ~ Albert Camus.

An old Cherokee man told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves that live inside us all. One wolf is Evil - it is anger, blame, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf is Good - it is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, serenity, humility, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith". The grandson thought about it for a minute and then he asked his grandfather ~ "Which wolf wins the battle?"

The old Cherokee replied ~ "The One You Feed."

Why Call People?

"If e-mail had been around before the telephone was invented people would have said " hey, forget e-mail - with this new telephone invention I can actually talk to people"

With the advent and popularity of social media, Facebook, Twitter and Linked In, and the ease of email communications is the phone call connection a thing of the past?

Most of us now have hundreds, if not thousands, of acquaintances, followers, friends and connections. Without even addressing those we would like to connect and build relationships with for business or personally. Why not just do everything digitally? Besides don't people see a phone call as an interruption and prefer the ease of electronic texts and images? Perhaps they do - But there are a few people out there that add to their daily digital deliveries with a call. A call to say thank you. A call to say I value you personally. A call to just say I would like to learn more about you and what you value.

The way I see it there are many ways to build upon contacts and connections and we should use them all in order to appreciate the colors, complexities, concerns and character within each of us.

A simple phone call communicates effort (think about voice mail and how hard it can be to actually reach someone). A simple phone call uncovers concerns (are you an interruption or an inspiration?). A simple phone call which sincerely wants to convey appreciation, concern, or interest, takes considerable care. It recognizes that the personal connection may reveal conflict. That takes courage.

If your phone call is seen as an interruption, perhaps it's because you (or your content) are irrelevant and unimportant to the person you are calling. That should tell us more about our ability and willingness to provide value than anything about the recipient of the call.

Take time to find out a little bit about what is important to people during, or preferably before, your call. Take time to add something really personal to the thousands of digital messages we send out every day. Take time to really listen to people. Take time to really connect. Take time to make a call.

Who Do You Thank?

"Only a stomach that rarely feels hungry scorns common things."
~ Horace.

Who do You Thank at Thanksgiving? Some focus on Faith. Some focus on Family and some on Friendships. America pauses at thanksgiving to say thank you and each of us has our own focus.

I focus on those who are better than me, and there are many. Those who altruistically and selflessly give their lives to something larger than themselves. The soldiers who fight for our freedoms. The caring souls who work in hospices and far flung third world countries helping children and those who suffer. Those that tirelessly dedicate themselves to helping others and live without the comforts that we coddled children become accustomed to. The saints among us.

Those with the strength to do the jobs that must be done without the need to be recognized or rewarded. Those humble and heroic souls free of the shackles of an entitlement mentality. The soldiers and saints that with courage and character define the very best of us. They work in shadows. Their faces are rarely shown. Their daily struggles to make a difference go unheralded. We don't thank them enough.

These are my heroes and I think of them and reflect upon how much I owe them every day. For doing what I can't or won't do - for being what I can't or won't be. Every single day you humble me and I need to say

Thank You.

True Friends.

"Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.
" ~ Muhammad Ali.

America and the world has embraced new technologies which surround us daily with instant connections. Literally hundreds of thousands of names can become, fans, followers, connections and ...friends.

We now have opportunities to "friend" multitudes and interact with people locally and globally at a moments notice. Opportunities are good - what we do with them is what defines us as human beings.

A long time ago my daughter asked me, innocently and without the dark shadows of experience, one of those questions that fathers remember forever "Daddy how many true friends do we have in life?"

I thought and responded - "I suppose that is determined by your definition of a true friend." As we add thousands upon thousands of connections the opportunity to find more true friends increases, that's a very good thing. With all of these opportunities - How many are true friends? "I suppose that's determined by your definition of a true friend.

Hopefully all of us have a few very special, true, friends. I have a handful. One is an old special forces soldier who dug a chunk of hot metal out of my hip many years ago in a land far away. One is an old gunny who goes fishing, shares a steak and puts up with a guy who talks more than he listens. One is a respected leader of industry who taught me about sales and business. One is my Dog. And one is my daughter who makes me proud. A wise man once said if you have five true friends in your life you have been blessed. ~ I believe him.

True friends do what most friends don't or won't. They show up when others leave. They are selfless, loyal and dependable at the worst times. They are rare and true. No matter how many friends we have. No matter how many connections we make. No matter how many follow and like us. It is the tested ones, the ones that remain true during and after conflict that matter. True friends are not found in comfort - they reveal themselves through challenge. We will all have many friends in our lives but true friends are really hard to come by

And well ~ They should be.

Memorial Day.

"Words could never express how much I owe you.
From the very depths of my soul. ~ Thank You."


Why Don't You Write a Book?

"Endure and persist; this pain will turn to good by and by." ~ Ovid.

There was an old man who lived on the far side of town who the other kids would talk about. He was a soldier in the war they said. When times got tough the other old men would ask him what to do - but when times were good he sat alone. If you want to know what to do go ask him for advice - but don't expect to like or agree with what he tells you my friends would say. "Oh and be ready for the test".

I went to see the old man during a winter blizzard and he met me at the door. Take off your shoes and walk back home in the snow. Get me a cup of sugar and walk back here barefoot and then we will talk - he said. "What are you crazy? I will freeze and my toes will get frostbite" I said. Ok - Then go read a book he said.

I thought "How will he know if I really take off my shoes?" Maybe I can just tell him I did and take them off for the start and the finish. But eventually I decided to do what he said. I took off my shoes, trudged through the snow and got him his cup of sugar and then I sat down with the old man. Why do you test me all the time? I would say to him and he would simply respond "We all like to learn but no-one likes to be taught". Why don't you just write a book with all this stuff so people can read what you did in the war, what it was like growing up in the orphanage and tell us some things you've learned in business?

He replied - My experiences are no different than anyone else's. They may entertain and amuse some people but that is all they are, my experiences. To truly understand you need to take off your shoes, walk back home through the freezing snow and go get me a cookie.

I think a lot about that old man. He was providing an opportunity to personally experience hardship - He was testing how much I really wanted to learn. He was, by all normal thinking, asking me to do and experience dangerous, crazy stuff that made no sense. It was up to me whether i took it, denied it or learned anything from it. I learned, as we all learn, through experience - Endure and Persist.

Why You?

"You were born an original. Don't die a copy." ~ John Mason.

There's a new paradigm in play. People are calling it Personal Branding, Social Networking, Connections, Followers, Fans and Tweets. But it's not new - it's been around since the dawn of time. We are now looking at people a bit more. We can buy stuff anywhere, and we all want to deal with good companies, but people are now asking

"Why You?"

Why should I connect with, follow, listen to, or buy from you personally?

Why You as opposed to someone else?

When buyers want more than a simple transaction ~ They are now personalizing. The old standards of company features, benefits and price may not be enough anymore after that initial transaction. Stuff is now easy to get anywhere.  Relationships need to be maintained with YOUR content, Value and What YOU Provide. Your Personal Brand.

Yep you're unique ~ But so is everyone else. If we all say the same thing, promise the same stuff, service & solutions, we really don't have a personal brand. Good company brands may get us in the door but once we are in front of them, once we're on their radar most people,

Most buyers are now asking one simple question:  ~ "Why You?"