Showing posts from July, 2009

Three Cheers for Continual Self Improvement!

Hip, hip... Hooray!

"We have an innate desire to endlessly learn , grow, and develop. We want to become more than what we already are. Once we yield to this inclination for continuous and never-ending improvement, we lead a life of endless accomplishments and satisfaction." - Chuck Gallozzi

Hip, hip... Hooray!

"People call me a perfectionist, but I'm not. I'm a 'rightist.' I do something until it's right, and then I move on to the next thing." - James Cameron

Hip, hip... Hooray!

"He who stops being better stops being good." - Oliver Cromwell

What's Your Refer-ability?

Part of building a solid foundation in business (building on the rock as they say!) is becoming referable; being referable means being someone others can trust. People want to work with those they know, like, and trust--period. A friend and fellow entrepreneur gave me a CD to listen to several months back from The Strategic Coach Program ( he participated in. It mentioned certain "referability habits." It was exciting to see that these tenets are simplistic in nature but it is absolutely alarming how infrequently people comply with all four! How do you measure up? For starters, do you show up on time for appointments? Having served with our nation's best in the United States Air Force this was definitely a priority. Timeliness was of utmost importance so much so that one of my Air Force Academy cadre felt compelled to share this simple little phrase I have long committed to memory: "If you aren't five minutes early, you're already …

The Time to Be Happy...

I came across a sundial that said: "The Time to Be Happy is Now. The Place to Be Happy is Here." Simple, yet this saying is at the heart of so much unrest for so many. I struggle with this one myself! Most people say, if only I had "X," things would be better. If only I had "X" amount of money I would start saving. If only I had "X" opportunity I would really be successful. If only I had the--fill in the blank--health, wealth, skills etc. life would be so much different! What is your X Factor?

Unfortunately we build our whole lives around our X Factor. We "if only" ourselves to the grave... when our lives are spent we finally look back and say, "Tomorrow never came." We then realize, when it is too late, that our time to shine was at our very fingertips. It was always ours for the taking. As Thoreau says, "Heaven is under our feet, as well as over our heads." And not just some days... everyday!

A few years ago I had t…


Come to the edge, He said.

They said: We are afraid.

Come to the edge, He said.

They came. He pushed them,

And they flew...

- Guillaume Apollinaire

Fix the Man...

Have you ever complained about something? You in the back, not raising your hand... I bet you don't breathe air either! Let's face it, we all have at some point or another. Have you considered that the only reason you're complaining about whatever it is your complaining about is because you know there is something better out there? As Jack Canfield shared in his book The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, "In order to complain about something or someone, you have to believe that something better exists."

Uh oh... now he's gone and done it! That means you, yes YOU, have to take responsibility for YOU. And dang it, me too! Geez oh pete... I didn't want to know that! But seriously, do you realize that we only complain about things we can actually do something about? Have you ever complained about the sky being blue? Of course not! It is what it is. But you'll hear people complain about their spouse, their house, th…

Shine On

From A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course In Miracles, by Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

And the Mimes Have It!

Now, I feel that I must disclose that my ability to visualize is not always at its peak. I have visualized and not been able to manifest that which I tried to conjure. But I take full responsibility for my ineptitude. It was my lack of clarity and focus that caused my failure (there's that word again!).

Just last week I was listening to a cassette tape (yes, you read correctly... cassette tape) that mentioned Robert Louis Stevenson--the author, essayist, poet... does Treasure Island ring a bell? When Stevenson's faith waned as to whether or not he was truly in control of his life he was said to perform the following exercise. He would visualize with specificity something that he wanted and he'd wait for it to manifest itself in his life.

That day I had a storm cloud hovering over me and my wings seemed to have been covered in mud. I was a bit blue and frustrated with my progress in certain areas of my life; yes! I have those days too! So I decided to give the exercise a tr…

Faith is a Ninety-Nine Cent Belt

Last year I wanted a belt. Not just any belt. A black belt with a silver, rectangular buckle that would work with my business attire. I didn't have a belt but I was in business... so I needed a business belt. I thought about the belt, I imagined how it would look on me, and then I went out in search of the belt! As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, "Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." And so I did...

I went straight to my local Goodwill store and there it was. A black belt with a silver, rectangular belt buckle just my size! And perfect for business attire!

10 March 2008 I wrote in my diary, "My belt is a gift from God... it is exactly what I had envisioned before going to buy it @ the Goodwill store..."

I asked and the universe delivered! But the key is I didn't just ask... I created a vision of what I wanted and I took action. Ladies and gentlemen, "We are still masters of our fate. We are still captains of our …

RE: No Standing Still

I sent this e-mail to my Agency Manager and copied MM on 15 July 2009:

I felt compelled to share this excerpt from my diary that was written a few days after MM spoke on 4 March 2009 (I was reviewing my notes from his talk)... like MM and other leaders have said before... "If you're not growing you're dying, there is no standing still."

"8 March 2009 - Yesterday Braden and I went to Clifton Gorge... we stopped... actually Braden stopped at a spot and started walking over a tree that had fallen... like a balance beam... I avoided it... it looked like it was a long way across and too far of a drop... I walked around it... on the way back I decided to try and I stopped [on the log] and was very unsteady--my arms waving to and fro... as I tried to maintain my balance... I did not walk forward... and I did not walk back... I merely stood in place... Braden told me to keep moving and when I did I realized how easy it was for me to maintain my balance and how easy it was…

You Are Not Your Habits

"Whatever your present situation, I assure you that you are not your habits. You can replace old patterns of self-defeating behavior with new patterns, new habits of effectiveness, happiness, and trust-based relationships." - Stephen Covey

As Aristotle once said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." It is exciting to think that we can overcome and conquer ourselves by simply making deliberate, consistent action toward the direction of our dreams. And all we have to do is act as "if" we've already accomplished or achieved our objective in order for it to manifest itself as a reality. We have to develop the habit of telling ourselves that we have already achieved what we set out to achieve and our subconscious will go to work to make that "perceived" reality manifest itself.

Creating a new habit and sustaining that new habit may be new territory for you. Perhaps you'd like to work out three times …

The Lighter Side

Paper hole punch art... yes, those are really paper hole punches! And no, it's not hard to do... I enjoy the medium quite a bit as you can see! I have made larger pieces in the past but these are actually ACEOs (Art Cards, Editions, and Originals) so they are mini pieces of art... 2.5" by 3.5"(the size of a standard trading card).

Hearing Vs. Listening

Hearing versus listening... do you know the difference? The foundation of great relationships and great leadership is great listening. Leaders are listeners as they say. And there is a BIG difference between hearing and listening... anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows that firsthand.

According to Jack Canfield in his book, The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, hearing is "simply receiving communication" and listening, truly listening, is "...the art of paying thoughtful attention with a mind toward understanding the complete message being delivered." He goes on to say that "Unlike simply hearing someone's account, listening requires maintaining eye contact, watching the person's body language, asking for clarification, and listening for the unspoken message." Listening, in short, means paying close attention! And for some, paying attention period would be a step in the right direction! You know …

If it is to be...

In Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People he states that time management is actually a misnomer because "...the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves." How true is that! And to be honest, I had never considered that point of view.

At the Air Force Academy (Class of 2002 baby!) we were continually running from one event to another in an effort to balance our military, academic, and athletic disciplines. As a result I have always touted that the Academy is where I developed my time management skills... in fact, I really developed an ability to manage myself and my own actions. The choice was, and will always remain, mine.

On page 92--my favorite page in the entire book--Covey discusses ways we can control and change our lives "immediately." Who doesn't want that? Most folks want to change or alter some aspect of their lives for the better. So how do we do this? Well, he states that "We can make a promise--and keep it. Or…

A Hog of a Tale

OK, so back to that word failure... it's still rattling around in my head. I remembered a story I read out of the 2005 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market (one of my life goals is to have a children's book on the market that I have both written and illustrated!). One of their featured authors was a woman named Kelly DiPucchio. Kelly was a stay-at-home Mom turned writer and from 1994 to 1998 "...she continuously wrote and submitted her work--and continuously got rejected." In 1999, she got the idea for a book about a family of pigs... Bed Hogs.

Having been unable to place her previous work on her own and having received nearly 200 rejection letters in the process, she decided to hire an agent to market her lovely wares. Now, when I first read the story I said to myself, at some point I would have thought, "Maybe I'm just not that good." But Kelly persisted and through her agent was able to land her very first book deal which reporte…


OK, so I mentioned that word... failure. It's not truly failure unless you learn something from it. Or is it? Failure is failure! Embrace it, don't be afraid of it! Don't let it hold you back.

I love the scene from the animated film, and forgive me because at this moment I can't remember the title but it will come to me--Scout's honor!--where the little boy is asked to repair the peanut butter and jelly squirting machine. And he works on it and he thinks it's fixed. Then he tries to use it and it makes a big mess... I mean peanut butter and jelly on everyone. And he braces himself... for the yells, the screams, the "What were you thinking kid?!?" And the first thing his friends/family say?

That was... AMAZING! That was WONDERFUL! That was the most SPECTACULAR failure we have ever seen! And he's shocked and he's excited. You see, he is an inventor and he has now been given the lesson of a lifetime! The GIFT of a lifetime! It will shape his very e…

Get Rich or Die Trying

OK, I have a lot to say. I've been holding it in for a long time. And it's finally time to let it out. Because I can't keep it in any longer. The road to riches is hard. Everything isn't easy. And life isn't worth living unless you share yourself with others. This will help heal the hurts and the sting of failure. I will be victorious. I will succeed. Others have blazed a trail; I walk in the shadows of greatness. There is no such thing as try. There is only do... or die.

The Road to Lifestyle

According to Wikipedia, the term "lifestyle" was originally coined by Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychologist, in 1929. It is defined as the nuances--the attitudes, beliefs, habits, persona, economic level etc.--that constitute the mode of living for an individual or group. I buy that.

Britannica Online Encyclopedia tells us, "Each person develops his personality and strives for perfection in his own particular way, in what Adler termed a style of life, or lifestyle. The individual’s lifestyle forms in early childhood and is partly determined by what particular inferiority affected him most deeply during his formative years."

Man, I find that curious. Our lifestyle is "...partly determined by what particular inferiority affected [us] most deeply during [our] formative years?" OK... I buy that too. Because, admittedly, that's my reality (we'll get to that later) and in all likelihood, yours too. If you don't believe me just read T. Harv Eker's