Some People.

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."
~ Albert Schweitzer.

I had an appointment to do my taxes one night - kind of like a root canal as far as expectations go, and on the way home I decided to stop and grab a bunch of flowers for my wife at a local stand. The previous year business had been pretty miserable and we were both expecting to pay so I figured flowers would at least soften the news.

The old lady at the flower stand was from Mexico and she must have been eighty if she was a day. We talked for a while about her grandchildren, her life and what she had seen as an immigrant working at the ramshackle old flower stand. She smiled through the whole conversation and in very broken English a gentle, sincere, warmth exuded from her every word and gesture. I came away humbled and feeling like a selfish little child who really needed to grow up. Some people truly put life into perspective and rekindle the fire within us.

There are special souls among us. Take Time To Thank Them.

Taxes? Give me a break - I'm lucky I get to pay them.

The Toughest Sale.

"I fed my ego, but not my soul.
" ~ Yakov Smirnof.

What's the toughest sale you've ever made? Here's a tip - you haven't made it yet. Yep, we all have stories to tell - tough guys we had to come up against and cajole, convince or sometimes even con that we, and the product we were pitching, were the answer to all their problems. But you know what? They were easy compared to the toughest sale you will ever have to make. I've pitched and worked for a few ogres over the years - from Bum Bright to an old school car man who made you shake in your boots when you even thought about doing less than you could. Every one was easy compared to the most difficult sale we ever have to close. ~ The Toughest Sale.

The most difficult sale that you will ever have to make is to yourself.

Every one of us is driven by our ego, our perceptions and the constant chatter we have going on inside our own mind. What's it saying? Many times it's affirming, supporting and repeating what we think we already know in order to maintain some semblance of sanity. To protect our status quo we surround ourselves with support systems when dissonance and discomfort can teach us so much more.

There is an old saying in sales that says if you really think you're good - Cold Call the Bronx and see how well you do. You are going to come up against a merciless onslaught just for even trying to pitch. You had better be tough and good. It's kind of like that in learning - the most caustic exteriors often conceal the most valuable insights. We don't learn very much from easy. What's the most caustic exterior we will ever encounter? Our own steadfast resistance to get out of our own way. We will argue for it, convince ourselves that we know best and re-interpret every lesson to fit within our personal frame. Why?
Because the toughest sale we ever have to make is to our own ego.

Very few of us sell that guy - He's just too tough.

The Luckiest Man.

Tonight, I stand here, overwhelmed, as my name is linked with the great and courageous Lou Gehrig, ... I'm truly humbled to have our names spoken in the same breath. Some may think our strongest connection is because we played many consecutive games. Yet I believe in my heart that our true link is a common motivation-a love of the game of baseball, a passion for our team and a desire to compete on the very highest level.” ~ Cal Ripken.

I remember back many, many, years ago when I first read about Lou Gehrig, I was in the army and just a young and naive teenager looking at the world through rose colored lenses. I made a decision back then that his mindset, his never late, never absent, blue collared work ethic was something i admired. Something I wanted to emulate. The guy was solid, dependable and the kind of man that every coach wanted on their team. A man who had every right to whine about the tough break he got when he was struck down with a debilitating illness that would end his career - and yet he called himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth". Now that was a guy I would have loved to meet.

A man that anyone would be honored to shake hands with.

To learn more about Lou Gehrig - Click here

10 Life Lessons.

"Be the change you want to see in the world" ~ Mahatma Gandhi.

We all have life lessons, maxims we live by and try to pass on to others. Our children, friends and family hopefully see them embodied in the way we live our lives. Below are ten simple life lessons I've learned from my first half century. What are your 10 Life Lessons?
  1. Expect more of yourself than others think is wise.
  2. You are never a failure - until you blame others.
  3. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
  4. People will listen, but no-one really cares about your opinions; until you've earned their respect.
  5. Children don't need critics - they need models.
  6. Action cures fear.
  7. When we think we are good - we are not.
  8. Never be late - it's the most arrogant insult to others.
  9. We all die and we are all accountable for our lives.
  10. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Heroes of Humility.

"By pursuing humility we will never attain it." ~ Worthington.

I recently read a fascinating book "Humility the Quiet Virtue" which massaged my mind and stirred my soul. The book hypothesized steps toward developing humility including nixing narcissism, eliminating entitlement, defeating pride, cultivating an accurate sense of self and practicing additional virtues. Truly worthy aspirations in todays ego centric, fifteen minutes of fame, media driven society. Then it paradoxically stated - "By pursuing humility we will never attain it" - talk about a catch 22. ~ So what the heck are we supposed to do?

Being an ardent admirer of quiet professionalism and individuals who embody the challenge put to each of us to "Be the change you want to see in the world" this presented an additional dilemma. We all inevitably gravitate to self interest as a default so how do we address this lack of virtue without, as Mr Worthington says, addressing it?

The answer was refreshing and simple - We are provided inspiration and guidance by identifying, reading about, learning from and deferring our ego to one’s own “Heroes of Humility.” ~ We must defer to learn.

What does it all boil down to? Everyone should have some capacity to feel humbled by something at some point, to be conscious, even fleetingly, of the fact we are not the centre of the universe, all-powerful, all-knowing. But some people never do, even when confronted by the full majesty of their ignorance or human limitations. How do we each address this? Find our own “Heroes of Humility” and learn from them.

Men of Influence.

"Leadership is influence.
"~ John C. Maxwell.

We are each the product of our influences - men and women who have influenced our thoughts, values, words and actions. We ultimately all become that which we most focus on. We can read and become inspired. We can reach out to, meet and learn from them. We can admire those who do that which we cannot or will not do and hopefully we will strive to be just a little bit better because of the lessons learned from those we respect. Or we stagnate in self absorption and navel gazing spending years repeating thoughts, behavior and actions that were formed and calcified way before our adulthood. Life is either a trivial repetition of similar results or it is a joyous challenge to be embraced as we learn to do and be more than we are - every moment of every day.

Read and learn from those who inspire you - Below are a few of mine but please pick your own - Then do what very few choose to do -Take actions that would make those you respect proud of you. Life is a short journey filled with what you most focus on. Take action.


James Stockdale

Sir Winston Churchill

Colonel Howard