Things I will not regret

A few years ago, Bronnie Ware quit her unfulfilling job and took a job working in palliative care where she spend may years helping those who were dying.  A few years later, she compiled a list of the 5 most common regrets expressed by the people she cared for.  Here is the list:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard (meaning, they wished they had better balanced work versus key life events).
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish I had let myself be happier.

The full article is in this link:

Hopefully, none of us is nearing the end of our life.  So, as we near the new year of 2016, let’s not look back with regrets.  Rather, it may be more valuable to look at those things we do NOT regret.  What are those things that we are glad that we did and would do all over again, if given the chance?  Here are a few things that would be on my list:

I will not regret:

  • Making sacrifices in my own career to participate in my kids’ activities, events, and fun
  • Working to improve and expand my knowledge of quality, compliance, leadership, and manufacturing (my chosen profession)
  • Taking the risk to move from quality to manufacturing and back again
  • Standing firm in the face of severe pressure (at another company) to make the right decisions for our patients and company
  • Striving to aid the careers of others and sharing the experiences I have had
  • Speaking up or being in the minority view when needed
  • Seeking to provide new experiences and fun and memories for our three children
  • The time spend today with our grandchildren, even when they wear me out
  • Seeking opportunities to write articles, get involved in industry groups, and speak in public when asked (no matter how much it took me out of my comfort zone)
  • Commuting every week for 89 weeks to fulfill a promise to my daughter that she finish HS without moving
  • Hiring or promoting great individuals early in their careers, then seeing them emerge as great leaders — then, hiring them again – some two, three, or more times (at least one individual four times!)
  • Enjoying time sitting on my deck just enjoying the view, wildlife, or sunshine
  • Volunteering to serve others in the community, our church, our neighborhood, or our company
  • Those challenging days watching our teenagers struggle, but knowing they had to get through those times on their own
  • Marrying the love of my life barely out of my teen years and growing up together
  • Taking a demotion or lower paying job because I knew it was good in the long-term for my career
  • The struggles and challenges of working in the pharmaceutical industry for over 35 years — even though, some days were very difficult
  • Buying baseball memorabilia on E-Bay — even though my family will one day ask, “What do we do with all this old baseball junk?”
  • Leaving a great job once to be closer to my ill father – even though he died three months later

My list could go on and on, but you get the picture.  What do you NOT regret?  And, as a result, what will you do intentionally today to make a difference for yourself or someone else?  My last bullet reminds me of a quote I just ran into a few days ago:

“Spend time with your parents, treat them well.  Because one day, when you look up from your phone, they won’t be there anymore.” —- Unknown

Have a terrific, “top ten” day!  Enjoy what you do and be the kind of person that looks ahead with excitement, not behind with regrets.

Wisdom for us from Children’s Books

Today, I feature a few items (favorite quotes shares by friends Jen Lewis, Lori Mercurio, and others).  These should remind us that life from a child’s eyes is simple, beautiful, and full of endless possibilities.  What do you see in these?

  1. M. Barrie, from Peter Pan – “The moment where you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever being able to do it.” –  So many things are possible until that hint of doubt creeps in.  When you believe that anything is possible, the tendency is to achieve much more than when you place limits on yourself and others.  From the viewpoint of a child, anything is possible.  How would our work change if we took that viewpoint?  How much could we achieve if we looked at what is possible rather than “achieving a 10% improvement from 2015 results?”  Can we try to remove some of those limits we place upon ourselves that keep us from being more than we ever believe possible?
  2. Frank Baum, from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – “The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid.” – I have been a fan of this book since I was a child.  It has so many lessons that adults could learn.  This quotes is the true definition of courage.  Anyone can be “courageous” when they have nothing at risk.  It is only when you are afraid, or have something to lose, that you exhibit courage — true courage.  Are you or a colleague fearful of something in the future?  Is there a risk that you simply need to take?  Is there something to gain that can make the risk seem minimal?  What is it that you need to face today?  And, is there someone you need to take with you on that journey?  It is easier to face danger when you face it together.  Likewise, the things we gain by taking risks are more enjoyable when shared with others.
  3. Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – “It’s no use to go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” – Hopefully, we are different today than we were yesterday.  We are smarter, more experienced, more confident, more relaxed, a better friend, a better teammate — It is easy to dwell on what we should have, could have, wanted to do yesterday.  But, today, we are a different person and one that will do those things we neglected yesterday.
  4. K. Rowling, one of the Harry Potter books – “We must all face a choice between what is right and what is easy.” – Don’t you face this choice every single day?  We probably face many situations each day in which we must choose to do what is right or what is most expedient for that day or situation.  As we drive continuous improvement, we’ll hopefully see that what is right IS what is easy.  However, our integrity is challenged – and built – every single day on those choices we make and whether we neglect that which is right for that which is easy.
  5. Aesop, from The Lion and the Mouse – “No act of kindness , no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Kindness is a personal value for me.  There is never a time when kindness is inappropriate, unmerited, or unneeded.  Every kindness, even the smallest act, adds value to the life of someone — whether that is the person performing the kindness or the recipient.  So, I believe this one — no kindness is every wasted.

How will you be different tomorrow?  In 2016?  Can you apply one of these nuggets of wisdom to make a difference in your life, your leadership, your work, your home, or in your relationships?  Which of these hits you today?  Have a marvelous day!  Thanks for being great teammates!

Things I’ve Learned…. Hospital Stay Edition

Just in case any of you or your loved ones every has to stay a night or more in the hospital, I would like to share some of the things I learned during my recent stay.  In short, the nurses and other caregivers were absolutely terrific!  However, I did pick up a few pointers that could make your next stay a bit better:

  1. Not every person you encounter in a hospital knows when “you’re just kidding.”  I now think the reason hospitals might be short-staffed these days is because so many of their employees now work for airport security companies.
  2. Never take your bodily functions – even those littles ones we never discuss – for granted.  These can make the difference between food or no food; staying longer versus going home; etc.
  3. There is no such things as “modesty” in a hospital.  Even if you think you might be appropriately modest, when you leave the hospital, you’ll think of yourself as an exhibitionist.
  4. I love Jell-O!  Yes, those little cubes of strawberry Jell-O never tasted so good.
  5. The very best time of day to draw blood samples is 3:00am.  The reason for this is that at precisely 3:00am CT, gravitational and earth centrifugal forces perfectly align to produce blood flow with a single prick of the skin.  At any other time, it might take three or four pokes to accomplish the same thing.
  6. Just because you want to see your surgeon or one of his residents, does not mean that they want to see you.
  7. Millennials in any profession have a hard time making change with a purchase.  This attribute carries through to drug dosage calculations.  Sometimes it is good to double-check, just for fun.  It is not, however, a good thing to brag too loudly about catching their mistakes.
  8. When they ask you to rate your pain on a 1 – 10 scale, mix it up a little bit.  Watch how they scratch their heads when they think something is not quite right.
  9. There are narcotics and other mind-numbing drugs that can almost make you forget the Cardinals’ baseball season is over.
  10. Everything takes longer than it seems in a hospital when you are uncomfortable or hungry or waiting for the next adventure.

Fun times!  Have a “top ten” day!

The Five Superheroes of Christmas


The world is inundated these days with superheroes. We see movies about Superman, Spiderman, Star Wars, and others. Our children wear clothing with the superstars of cartoons. Even the youngest of children can sing the songs of Disney heroes. Adults even adore the heroes of books, the theater, TV, and music. But, what about Christmas? What about the Superheroes of Christ’s birth?

Certainly, the Bible is full of heroes and superheroes. The Christmas story includes: Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds, the Wise Men, the Inn Keeper, and others. We cherish this story of centuries ago as both the birth of our Savior and the birth of Christmas. However, who are the superheroes in Christmas today?

Well, I contend that there are at least five Superheroes that we need to celebrate this and every Christmas season. Let’s take a look at each and the superpowers that result from each:

  1. Faith – First, is the Superhero I call Faith. The book of Hebrews in the Bible calls Faith “the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.”  Faith is that confidence that what we hope for and believe is true and will happen. Faith is that confidence that our chair will hold us up when we sit in it. It is that trust that what God says is true. Faith sustains us when life becomes difficult and motivates us to go another step or another day. Without Faith, we can’t really celebrate Christmas and its true meaning at all. Faith in the Christmas Child is the only thing that can bridge that gap between us and God. Without Faith, there is no Hope.
  2. Hope – How can we go through life without our next Superhero Hope? Hope is that Superhero that connects our life today with God’s promise of everlasting life. Hope keeps us focused. Hope saves the day when we think things can get no worse. Hope walks with us when our loved one has died, when we have lost our job, or when our child has gone astray. Hope is powerful! Hope does what no earthy, normal hero can do. Hope is that Superhero that introduces us to Peace.
  3. Peace – Peace is that Superhero that everyone on earth seeks. Peace can be elusive or mysterious. However, Peace is one of the three Superheroes that only appear after we have experienced Faith and Hope. Peace is that hero that goes deep within us to combat those villains of anxiety, despair, fear, and misery. Peace rocks those guys! Peace is that feeling we get when we experience the Faith that gives us Hope. It is a trust that cannot be fully explained, but is that hero that can immediately change our day or our lives. Without Peace, it is nearly impossible to experience the Joy of which we sing at Christmas time.
  4. Joy – Joy is that Superhero that will never leave us, once we have experienced it. Joy is that base-level part of our being that is present regardless of our circumstances. To me, the Superhero of Joy can be described like this,  “Happiness depends to a large degree on our circumstances, but the joy of God is ever-present and ever-working to impact our lives and the lives of those around us.”  Joy finds us when our friends desert us. Joy is not afraid of the dark, our enemies, our thoughts, or our problems. Joy will stick to us when we have nothing else. Joy doesn’t have to have a GPS to find us because she is with us wherever we go. And, Joy is the one that produces Love in our lives.
  5. Love – Love is that Superhero in our lives that others can see and that impacts, not only our own lives, but the lives of others, as well. Love is that Superhero that can change the world around us. Love is all-powerful and is that Superhero invented by God and that comes to us straight from Him. The Bible (in 1 Corinthians 13) says this about the Superhero Love:  “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. …. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”Love is the greatest and most powerful of the Christmas Superheroes.

So, there you have it… the five Superheroes of Christmas! Have you ever experienced these guys? Do you have them in your life guarding you, protecting you, changing you, and, as a result, changing others around you? Without these Superheroes, Christmas is empty and, in truth, without meaning. It all starts with Faith. The Bible says (in John 3:16), “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you believe this is true, you can have the Superhero of Faith. Just trust God, ask Him to forgive you, and promise you’ll do your best to live for Him the rest of your life. By placing your faith (little “F”) in Him, God will give you Faith (big “F”). When you have the Superhero of Faith, all the rest of the Superheroes of Christmas will follow in your life.

If you would like to know more about these Superheroes or how you can find that Superhero of Faith, feel free to send me a note and I will help. God loves you and wants everyone to experience Christmas in all its wonder and excitement… the way He intended… with the five Superheroes of Christmas!

Humor without Humility

Humor without humility leads to damaged relationships

For those of you that know me, you know that I believe humor is a vital element in the workplace and life, in general.  So, I pause….

                “When I found the skull in the woods, the first thing I did was call the police.  But then I got curious about it.  I picked it up, and started wondering who this person was, and why he had deer horns.” – John Handey

Humor can calm nerves, cut through stress, make strangers friends, and create a bond that is hard to break.  When done well, humor can be the critical element in team performance, individual relationships, or friendships.  However, there is a time and a place for humor.  And, there is a right way and wrong way to inject humor.  Another pause…

“Probably to a shark, about the funniest thing there is is a wounded seal, trying to swim to shore, because where does he think he’s going?!” – John Handey

Humor can be harmful when used improperly.  When humor is directed at an individual, it can create tension that can ultimately harm relationships.  So, how do you disarm this concern?  One of the best things to remember when using humor is to use it with humility.  Make fun of yourself!  Ensure that everyone knows that you have a sense of humor and can handle humor directed at yourself.  When it becomes clear that others can poke at you (appropriately, of course), it allows more freedom to use humor with others.  So, be humble… allow others to have fun at your expense… be considerate of others when using humor… and, have fun whenever possible.

Thanks for making this the terrific company that it is.  One last word from John Handey:

“It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.”

Have a great day!

Out of the Blue

Have you ever heard or used the phrase, “out of the blue?”  This is an English idiom which means totally unexpected or highly unusual.  It reportedly comes from the rare occurrence of lightning traveling many miles from a storm and hitting an object under completely blue skies.  It might be used like this, “I hadn’t heard from him for many months then, like a bolt out of the blue, he called me.”

Things in our business can come “out of the blue” as well.  We frequently experience those totally unexpected or highly unusual events.  We frequently tag these an “one offs” or “outliers”.  Examples of these could be that rogue regulatory investigator that is asking for things never requested before.  Or, that equipment that failed despite several layers of redundancy.  Or, that supplier that had performed perfectly for 20 years, then experienced a material issue.  When you look back over a year, I’ll bet that every plant or every department can name several events occurring that you might term “out of the blue.”  These moments are not always negative, also,  Sometimes these unexpected events can be positive.  However, we typically are more concerned with those that can impact our operation, our products, or out customers.

So, given that unexpected events can or will occur, what can we or should we do about it?  Can we actually prevent these?  Can we actually prepare in advance?  Below are outlined several actions we might consider to either help us identify those potential events or prepare when they do occur:

  1. Anticipate, Anticipate, Anticipate — Though “out of the blue” moments are completely unexpected, can we really anticipate them and how to handle them when they do occur?  The answer, of course, is both yes and no.  We cannot anticipate everything.  However, we can anticipate that things we did not expect could occur.  There are some tools we can use to help us identify as many of these possibilities as we can.  Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) is a very good approach for soliciting potential unexpected events.  In this approach, you actually utilize a team to ask the question, “What could go wrong and what would happen if it did?”  By doing this systematically, you can identify potential impacts, plan contingencies and be ready when events do occur.
  2. Ask forward leaning questions, honestly — One of the questions I like to ask when I visit plants is, “If we would read that this site received an FDA Warning Letter six months from now, what would be the issues noted?”  When individuals answer this honestly, you can truly identify issues that might be addressable.  Consider now in your own group or own life, “What single item is most likely to create problems for us/me in the next six months if I do nothing now?”  This might stimulate action you can take.
  3. Prepare for the unexpected — Knowing that events can and will occur, what can we do to prepare now?  Have we applied all needed contingencies?  Do we have redundancies where needed?  Do we need additional safety stock, safety supplies, or hard-to-get parts?  Do we have adequately cross-trained help?  Do we know who will fill in if we have resource issues?  The International Boy Scouts motto is, “Be prepared.”  So, have you done what you need to do to prepare for that bolt “out of the blue?”
  4. Always remain cool, calm and professional — When an unexpected event does occur, how can we ensure that everyone involved operates productively and not in a panic?  When we, as leaders, remain cool, calm and professional, this promotes the same to our entire group.  When they see us panic, the tendency is for others to panic.  Remaining calm and acting professional is critical to control of the event.  And, remaining calm will help us make the best decisions to mitigate the issue when it does occur.
  5. Solicit input and participation of team members — No one should try to handle a negative “out of the blue” event alone.  Identify teammates and coworkers that can participate in handling the issue.  The input and ideas others can share might also identify actions that minimize the issue.  Again, this is true for personal “out of the blue” events, as well.  When you have family or friends that can come along side you to help you through big issues, it lessens the burden for you as an individual.
  6. Be prepared to help others — And, finally, we should be on the lookout for others that are experiencing a “big” issue in their lives.  Being ready to assist, whether in the workplace or homeplace, can often make the difference to that individual that is going through the challenge.

So, if/when you experience an “out of the blue” event, the key is to apply the preparation you have made, remain calm, and attack the problem as a team.  Many of these recommendations apply to such events outside work, as well.  Things can happen in a moment.

Here’s hoping all your “out of the blue” moments are happy ones,  Have a great day and always be on the lookout for how you might help a teammate deal with a challenging issue in their life.  Let’s make this an awesome day!

Time to Swap Shoes


I have been wearing the same brand of shoes now for about 15 years.  Yes, I’m a “leave well enough alone” type of guy.  I have been wearing this type/style/make of shoes for so long that the manufacturer no longer makes them.  So, I watch E-Bay every day, hoping that someone will have a nearly new pair that they found in a vault or that they didn’t like.  They are nothing special… I just like them.  My wife frequently asks why I don’t change or if I would make a change.  So, to honor her, I do occasionally change… but, just a slight color change.  When I do find them, I don’t take any chances and buy them, even if I have a new back-up pair ready-to-go.  Sometimes I wonder if it truly is time for me to swap my shoes.

Over the last few months, I have been impacted by a temporary, soon-to-be-repaired, back problem that hampers my ability to walk very fast or very far.  I waddle.  So, on a recent trip to the Iowa State Fair, my wife rented an electric scooter for me to ride.  Of course I was reluctant.  But, in order to attend the fair with my wife and friends (yes, I was threatened), I agreed to the scooter.  Over the course of two days, I took that scooter everywhere and enjoyed my time.  However, it gave me a new and unique perspective for those that experience this every day of their lives.  I was actually “walking” in their shoes for a couple days.  I saw how frustrated others became when I tried to work my way through the crowd on the scooter.  I saw how difficult it was to get to some locations.  I felt the frustration of this limitation on my mobility to go where I wanted, when I wanted.  I think this experience has given me a new attitude regarding others that suffer limitations permanently.  It was good to swap shoes for a couple days.

In the same way, it would probably be good for us to “swap shoes” with some others (e.g., colleagues, friends, family, neighbors) to give us a better perspective of what they experience every day.  Would doing so help us reach a better level of understanding or compassion for what they are experiencing?  I think the answer to that question is a resounding, “Yes!”

So, at least in your mind, swap shoes for a day with….

  • That colleague that must decide which positions will be eliminated and which will be retained
  • That senior executive that must decide which of many projects is highest priority and can be funded and which will never be funded
  • That single mother that cried last night because she couldn’t do more for her children that miss their father
  • That coworker that just learned that they or a loved one has inoperable cancer or another serious health issue
  • That coworker that just send her child away to college — just when she was getting good at her job as a mother, it was over
  • Those leaders that must decide if we should take the risk of eliminating important product development steps or miss a launch date that will make the difference between a successful product and a dead product
  • That colleague that is struggling with “what next” with their challenging children
  • That coworker that just buried a loved one and is just trying to get through each day
  • The one that is disappointed with their career, their life, or their view of the future
  • That supervisor that must choose which of his two top reports will get the job and which will be devastated
  • That wife or husband that is struggling with their marriage
  • The coworker that has no true friend and, as a result, always eats lunch alone at his/her desk

Look at life from that other person’s viewpoint before you judge.  Consider what you can do to show understanding or compassion or friendship to someone that needs it.  Maybe it’s time for you to “swap shoes for a day” – perhaps that pair you are wearing is getting just a little bit too comfortable.

Have a great day!

Getting your “ducks in a row” for the New Year

As we are nearing the end of another year, today might be a good day to get your ducks in a row (for those not from the Midwestern USA, this means to “get your life organized” or “get things done that you’ve been delaying”).  So, how about considering these helpful hints:

  1. Are you on track to accomplishing what you had planned this year?  What do you hope to accomplish in the new year?
  2. Have you sent an encouraging note to anyone you work with lately?  Why not right now?
  3. Have you thanked anyone that provides support to you or your team lately?  There has never been a better time than today.
  4. Are you keeping track of examples to use for your year-end self-appraisal or review at work?  Spending a few minutes on this ahead of time can save time and anguish when you complete your assessment.
  5. Have you begun thinking about goals and metrics for 2016?  You may need to collect data now to ensure that you establish the correct targets for new year objectives.
  6. Have you spent time with your mentor or mentee lately?  Don’t neglect these important career relationships.
  7. Have you spent time with a friend lately?  You may only have a handful of true friends in a lifetime.  Take a moment today to make a call or send a note or take that friend to lunch.  Please don’t find yourself looking back someday wishing you have remained that true friend.
  8. Have you encouraged a coworker that might need a kind word lately?  You surely know of a coworker experiencing a work or life challenge.  A word from you might change a difficult day into a truly good one.
  9. Have you called your spouse from work lately just to tell him/her that you love them?  Go ahead and give it a try today.
  10. Have you followed up with a teammate on progress relating to an important project?  Ask if there is anything you can do to help.
  11. Is it time to change your automobile oil, replace batteries in your smoke detectors, or spray around the house to kill those pesky ants?
  1. Do you have accumulating paper, magazines, or other trash around your desk that needs to be discarded?
  2. If you have a mother or father living, would they appreciate a call today?  How about a brother or sister?  Anyone else?
  3. What would make today a remarkable day for you?  Is there something you can do right now to make that possible?
  4. Do you make it a practice to attempt to add value to someone’s life each day?  This one change might actually change your life.
  5. Is there someone that you need to forgive or seek forgiveness from?  Today is a great day for a new beginning.
  6. When you look at your life objectively (and, I mean truly objectively – as in how others see you), do you seek to be more of a giver or taker?  When you converse with someone else, do you spend more time talking about your weekend or asking how the other person is doing?  If you own career more important than helping to advance the career of someone else?  In short, do you truly care for others?
  7. Did you come to work today committed to doing your very best work?  Did you come here today to do your very best for our patients?  If not, are you really sure this is where you want or need to be?
  8. Have you ever done a truly anonymous act of kindness for someone else?  By this, I mean an action that makes a difference for someone else, but one that will never be tied to you.  Can you do it?  (Remember the quote: “You can never consider a day a perfect day unless you have done something for someone else that could never pay you back.”)
  9. Have you told that one person most responsible for any career success you are experiencing right now thanks and expressed your appreciation?  I dare say that most of us has at least one individual for which we could say, “I wouldn’t be here in this position or having this success without you.”  Today is the day to thank that person.

Remember… today is the only day we have been promised.  Don’t delay what you know you need to do today!  The time is right today to consider how your life might be different when the calendar turns to 2016.

Wisdom from Zig Ziglar: Attitudes make all the difference

Zig Ziglar was a well-known motivational speaker and author.  He was known as one of the most energetic and entertaining of speakers during his time.  He was also known as a man of great wisdom and character.  Today, we feature a few quotes from Ziglar and discusses how these relate to the important work we do both at home and at work:

  1. Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes. – Wow!  How can you easily summarize this?  First of all, a positive attitude is contagious.  Being around someone that expects the best, rather than the worst, is much more fun to be around that someone that always expects the worst.  Preparing for the worst, though, says we should anticipate all possibilities.  If we prepare for the worst, anything less should be easy to handle.  Finally, Ziglar says we should make the most of whatever happens.  We need to learn from issues, problems, and mistakes.
  2. Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” – Here we go again… Ziglar emphasizing our attitude.  He suggests that our attitude is more important to our success than our aptitude or abilities.  Though abilities are certainly important, an improper attitude is critical.  I have seen many individuals with excellent skills and abilities limit themselves simply because they had an attitude that was destructive.
  3. You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure. – Ziglar here again speaks to our visible demeanor or aura.  I agree with Ziglar here that demeanor is a key factor when managers discuss top performers.  Driving success requires the proper attitude, visible demeanor, and collaboration with others.
  4. Isn’t it amazing how much stuff we get done the day before vacation? – How true!  When the pressure is on, most individuals can accomplish much.  In Ziglar’s example, the motivator is very personal – the ability to enjoy time away without work left undone.  Is it possible to motivate ourselves in the same way even when we are not on the eve of our vacation?
  5. It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through. – Character, commitment, and discipline – three great attributes that we all should strive to possess.  We work for two decades trying to instill these same attributes in our children.  I think we would all agree that top performers almost always exhibit these often.
  6. If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere. – Oh, how true is this?  First of all, having friends is of extreme importance.  A friend is someone that knows our heart, cares for us even when we are not at our best, stands up for us when we don’t deserve it, serves us when we need it most, will appear when we least expect it, and somehow knows when we need to talk or need a note or need a call.  We need friends to help us when things don’t go well at home or at work and we need them when we need to share the good things in our lives.  We can’t force a friendship, but we can be someone open to others.  When we care like a friend, support like a friend, serve like a friend, and show up when needed like a friend, we gather friends in our lives in abundance.  Do you have a friend — a real friend?  Are you the kind of person that others would want as a friend?  Would you want yourself as a friend?

What is Ziglar saying to you today?  Is your attitude good or do you need to adjust it?  Does your demeanor exude success?  Are you motivated to drive results?  Are you consistently exhibiting those attributes typically shown by top performers?  Do you have a true friend?  Are you the kind of person that others desire to befriend?  Is there someone you need to encourage, motivate, or connect with today?  Plenty to think about, eh?

Have a splendid day!  Think about who you need to connect with today.

Being inspired even when you don’t feel like it

I was recently able to attend a presentation by Dr. Kneeland Youngblood.  Dr. Youngblood is a physician that left medicine to excel in the world of business.  He spoke of his humble background, how he chose to become a physician, the risks that mark his life, his decision to leave medicine, and how he has enjoyed being successful despite often being the underdog.  His words were inspirational.  One of the questions at the end was this (paraphrased), “How do you inspire those around you when the situation is less than inspiring.”  Dr. Youngblood provided a very well considered list of four key things.  Let’s take a look at these:

  1. Surround yourself with inspiring people – Face it, some people are not inspiring.  In fact, they can pull you down, not build you up.  When possible, remove yourself from these individuals.  It is difficult to be inspired and positive, when those around you are not.  When you have the opportunity to choose, choose to be around people that thrive in uncertain times, that are encouraging, that serve others, and that make you feel like anything is possible.  How can you not feel inspired when everyone around you behaves in this manner?
  2. Think big, not little – We often feel uninspired when we become bogged down in the details of today.  When we change our perspective from the little things to the big things, we immediately become more inspired.  Dr. Youngblood spoke of making significant changes in his life, not because things were bad, but because he needed new inspiration.  Perhaps, this could aid us, as well.
  3. Take measured risks – It is difficult to be inspired or an inspirational person if our tolerance for risk is zero.  There are times in life when you must simply “go for it.”  We only live once and time keeps marching.  Is there something you have delayed that you need to do?  What measured risk in your life or on your team would re-generate the inspiration you need?
  4. Educate yourself – We often become uninspired because we cease learning.  There is a whole world around us that should inspire us every day.  Learn something new, like a new language.  Learn to play an instrument.  Do something totally new and see what inspiration comes.

Great advice!

One more thing… We cannot depend upon our circumstances to inspire us.  Sometimes, we have to be the source of inspiration for ourselves or others.  We likely have only limited ability to control circumstances, but we have infinite opportunity to change our own attitudes or generate our own inspiration.  Don’t use your circumstances as an excuse to be inspired!

Thanks for what you do and have a wonderful day!