A tribute to friends

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Today, The Porch is beginning a new Friday Series. For the next several Fridays we will pay tribute to a different group of individuals that have, can, or are impacting our work and our lives. So, stay tuned for these Friday features.

I have been very blessed in my life because I have had many friends. I’m exceedingly thankful for that. Over the years, I have had many experiences with these friends and have observed friendships that others enjoy and have formulated a number of thoughts and observations that I would like to share with you. You may have observed some of these yourselves. Anyway, take a look and see if you agree:

1. A true friend will always tell others you are a saint, but they know you are not. They just want others to think the very best of you.

2. A real friendship doesn’t require daily communication. But, it does require some level of frequent or regular interaction.

3. A true friend will divulge their favorite place to mushroom hunt, fish, or find bargains… but, you might have to beg them or bribe them to get it (and, a true friend knows exactly what bribe will actually work).

4. A great friend knows what the other person needs without having been asked… and, they will do what they can to meet that need.

5. A great friend knows your heart – your passions, your goals, your hopes, your hurts – and wants only the best that life can bring to you.

6. A super friend guards your integrity and will hold you accountable when you step out of line… even if it puts your friendship at risk.

7. A great friend knows that someday, one of you will be standing before the casket of the other with a mixture of tears and smiles wishing for one more chance to say good-bye. And, because they know this, they cherish the time they have with each other now.

8. Thoughts of a wonderful friend can make you laugh out loud when you are alone in your thoughts.

9. A great friend encourages you, not just when you are down, but to keep you from becoming that way.

10. Love is a part of every friendship, even if that word is never or rarely spoken.

11. An excellent friend knows just how far they can go razzing you before you cross the line… and, that friend can go farther toward that line than anyone else.

12. A true friend knows more about you than casual friends; they know your spouse’s name, how many kids you have, your birthday, and what bugs you and they are always willing to listen.

13. A fabulous friend will loan you their pick-up truck, help you do projects at home, pick you up from the car repair shop, and anything else they can do to serve you, and, they usually do this without hesitation or, possibly, without you asking.

14. Food is a critical element of every great friendship.

15. A real friend is one that knows they are part of your life and is never considered an intruder or annoyance.

16. A fun friend is one that can laugh with you just as loudly and often as they laugh at you – in short, a great friend is a fun friend.

17. A loyal friend is one that will simply not allow you to feel lonely.

18. A good friend always has some dirt on you they threaten to share… but, they never do.

19. Friendship is much like a special plant – it requires regular nourishment and lots of sunshine – when it gets both, it flourishes beyond what you could imagine.

20. A great friend will put their job on the line or their life on hold to help a friend in need or one in distress.

21. A wonderful friend will not let you get away with your lofty talk or “spin” – they know who you really are.

22. Over 90% of your “friends” on LinkedIn or Facebook aren’t really your friends at all.

23. A real friend is not ashamed to say they will think of you or pray for you – and, you would and often do the same for them.

24. A real friend won’t let their friend root for the Cubs…ever, or under any circumstances.

25. Those real and true friends are those that, when you look back over your life, put a smile on your face and made this life worth living.

So, to my real, great, loyal, wonderful and fabulous friends, thanks! This is a tribute to you and good friends everywhere that we all enjoy. Take time today to thank someone for being your friend!

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The value of focus

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Albert Einstein is considered one of the most intelligent individuals in history. Einstein is synonymous with “genius”. Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist that developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his “services to theoretical physics”. He had more than 300 scientific papers published along with over 150 non-scientific works. He was truly one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century.

However, Einstein also had a human, practical side to him. He once said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” He is also attributed with, “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” You can see that he understood that our purpose is not our own, but to add value to others. However, today, The Porch will focus on another, less known Einstein quote that illustrates today key point… proper focus is essential for doing anything well. This is the key quote for today:

“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” – Albert Einstein –

Einstein is perfectly illustrating the need to focus on the job at hand, or risk doing it poorly. How many times have you personally tried to answer e-mail messages, write reports, or do something else important while on a conference call? By ensuring that your mind is acutely focused on the key task before you, you greatly increase the probability of doing it well… the first time!

Don’t forget Einstein’s words of wisdom and advice when it comes to focus! Have a “relatively” great day! Perhaps, you will take a “quantum” leap forward in your life this very day!

Sometimes, you just have to go for it!

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I first met Rudy on Christmas Eve in 2003. My wife bought me a short-haired miniature dachshund puppy for a Christmas present that year and surprised me with a delivery to the door. She did everything on the sly and completely surprised me! Rudy was a great dog. He always wanted to be on my lap when at home and took great pride in finding and killing moles from the yard. He was great with small children and learned quickly to stay close to home. He was a true joy from that first day he came into our home.

Yet, as often happens with dachshunds, Rudy started having back problems when he was only seven years old. We tried several treatments suggested by veterinarians, tried keeping him quiet to allow healing, tried medications, etc. However, as much as we tried, nothing made him better. Eventually, his back became so difficult that we could tell he was in pain most of the time. In the end, he couldn’t even go outside to the restroom himself… we had to carry him to the grass to allow him to do his business. Our veterinarian told us that he was indeed in pain and there was nothing more we could do. The humane thing was to allow him to be euthanized. The final decision was mine, of course. I hated seeing him in that condition, but he had been my special friend for seven years. My wife offered to take him for his final ride to the veterinarian, but only when I gave her the call. I remember that day, knowing that I needed to call, but simply not being able. Making that final call was probably the most difficult thing I have ever done. I can honestly barely write this even now.

I have heard many individuals say, including another just recently, that they could never having another dog once they lost that special one. They just cannot put themselves through that kind of loss again. That is a legitimate opinion. Knowing that losing a special dog is one of life’s most difficult experiences. However, you have heard the quote, “It is better having loved and lost than never having loved at all.” If every decision we make in life is one to avoid a potential negative, just think of all the things we might have missed. For example, I did get another dachshund. This one is a little long-haired girl named Chloe. Chloe is even more special than Rudy, if that is possible. No one that has ever met Chloe has not asked to be on the list if we ever decided we couldn’t keep her. She is friendly with everyone, is a true lapdog, and is nearly a perfect pet companion. Had I not been open to love another dog, I would have missed the experience with Chloe. Had I not taken a chance, I would have missed on many blessings from this little girl.

Our lives and our work involves many decisions regarding risk. We could decide to get into our rut and stay there forever, but, in the process, potentially miss relationships, rewards, or experiences that may only come once. We could avoid any risk of loss, or disappointment, or heartbreak. But, by avoiding all risk, our lives are less rich and, likely, less enjoyable. Sometimes, despite the risks, we just have to go for it!

Don’t miss something special today or this week or this year just because of a fear of disappointment or heartbreak. Be bold and courageous! We only have one chance at life, so it is worth taking a chance, now and then.

Have a terrific day. I do believe, this has a chance to be one of our best yet!

Operating in Life’s Shades of Gray

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Between white and black, there are many different shades of gray.  Some are very close to black, while others are closer to white.  But, in reality, there is much more “gray” than black and white combined.  In our world, life offers a similar amount of gray; that is, not all of life’s decisions are clearly yes or no, go or stay, or go right instead of left.

So, how do we navigate between these two extremes? How do we do the right thing in the face of ambiguity?  How can we satisfy both the “go” without disappointing the “stay?”

The bottom line… how can we know which path to take when we navigate in those gray areas?  Here are some things to consider when driving to those key decisions:

  1. Legal or moral standards – Is it clear that there is a direction that clearly meets a “legal or moral standard” or an approach considered “acceptable” that should dictate our decision?  If so, we must follow that pre-determined pathway on decisions.  I have often found that making key decisions ahead of time can circumvent the pressure to make a black/white decision in the pressure of a moment.  Having certain key decisions pre-made can eliminate anxiety in the pressure of that moment.
  2. Risk – Is it possible that our decision, if wrong, could adversely impact a us or someone else?  If so, we must use extreme caution.  For example, though an issue could potentially be a safety risk, if we have systems, precautions, or barriers that would remove, detect, or otherwise prevent harm, the overall risk may be small.
  3. Mitigation of risks – If a potential decision poses risks, are there ways to mitigate or remove those risks or alter them from significant to minor?  To a large extent, the smaller we can make a risk, the less gray involved in the decision.
  4. Severity of a wrong decision – Our decisions must consider the potential impact of a wrong decision.  What if I’m wrong? What if this goes totally the wrong direction? Assessing this possibility and the worst-case scenario may lead you to take a less risky pathway.
  5. Input of others – Sometimes, it is good to involve the experience of others to make key decisions.  The wisdom of someone that has faced a similar decision is invaluable in helping us choose the right path. Involving them in “gray zone” discussions can help provide clarity for the final decision.  Including others is a sign of strength and confidence, not a sign of weakness.  So, please feel open to asking another, “This is what I am thinking on this issue.  Am I missing anything or have you ever experienced a similar event?  How did you handle it?”  There is nothing at all wrong with this approach.
  6. Red-face test – Sometimes, you can make a strong case about an issue that you feel strongly that you can defend.  However, you realize that the issues are so significant that it is better to simply not proceed.  Though you feel you can justify your decision, the potential “optics” of a wrong choice are too severe.  In short, can you look yourself in the mirror and feel you made the right decision even if it goes wrong?

Certainly, these will not help shift every gray situation to black or white, but they can help you filter the issues and point you in the right direction.   By applying experience, clear rationale, risk assessment, and soliciting the input of others, we can often clarify most of the gray we face.

Have a terrific day!

 

We are all just one step away from stupid: How do you want to be remembered?

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Three examples from history:

1. Richard Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, one of only 44 individuals in history to achieve this office. His career was one that few can match. However, his legacy is not his political career or his contributions to society. Nixon resigned from office in disgrace and will forever be known for embarrassing his country by his illegal actions as President.

2. Pete Rose is not in Baseball’s Hall of Fame despite having more hits, at bats, singles, games played, and times on base than any player in the history of the game. Rose’s legacy is not his great career as a baseball player. He is now known as the greatest player in history NOT in the Hall of Fame. Rose bet on baseball games. Thus, he has been banned from anything related to the game. His legacy is his gambling, not his ability or his contributions to baseball.

3. Alfred Nobel was the inventor of dynamite and he held 355 patents. In 1888 Alfred’s brother Ludwig died while visiting Cannes and a French newspaper erroneously published Alfred’s obituary. It condemned him for his invention of dynamite and is said to have brought about his decision to leave a better legacy after his death. The obituary stated, Le marchand de la mort est mort (“The merchant of death is dead”) and went on to say, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” Alfred (who never had a wife or children) was disappointed with what he read and concerned with how he would be remembered. On November 27, 1895, at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, Nobel signed his last will and testament and set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes, to be awarded annually without distinction of nationality.

You can see from these examples that an individual’s legacy is often determined by a single act or a very brief time in their lives. Despite all that these three individuals did in their discipline over the course of most of their lives, they are remembered for a few simple actions (good for Nobel; not so good for Nixon and Rose).

In other words, how do you want to be remembered? Do you want to be remembered as that individual that did one truly great thing (or stupid thing), or as one that lived and worked consistently, enjoyed many friends, laughed often, loved family, and served others cheerfully. Someone once said, “Trust may take a lifetime to earn, but it can be destroyed in one brief moment.” Why take a chance of destroying that which you have worked so hard and long to earn?

 

Have a stunning day!

 

(a) Concepts borrowed from a sermon by Dr. Steve Dighton given at First Baptist Church of O’Fallon, Missouri, on April 17, 2016.

Quality Matters

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On the last two Fridays, we looked at the first two of three key values: Integrity and Service. Today, we look at the third of these… Quality.

Quality can be defined in several ways:

· For a product or item, it means conformance to specifications, fitness for use, or attaining the level of performance required

· For a person, it means a level of satisfaction, contentment, enjoyment, pleasure, fulfillment, or meaning

· For an activity, it means that it is something attainable, provides value, but could have a cost associated with it

So, summed up, we might define quality as that level of fitness that provides a satisfying, enjoyable, or meaningful experience. When we carve up this concept, there are five key elements of Quality that could be called “critical factors.” Let’s take a look at each:

1. Attainment of a standard or expectation – Any definition of quality must include some element of calibration against a standard or some level of user expectation. One product is deemed a quality product when compared to another. One car is deemed quality because of its performance history compared to other cars. An individual is deemed a quality person when their life is judged against others or when the individual simply deems it so. A product has achieved a level of quality because it conforms to specifications or is deemed fit for its intended use. So, quality is always an attribute that is relative to other similar products, activities, or person.

2. Provides meaningful intrinsic value – Anything of quality provides value to the user, recipient, or observer. Often, that value is not something tangible, but is intrinsic. Another way of expressing this is to say that quality brings pleasure or satisfaction that might not be measurable, but is experienced, nonetheless. For example, a quality life might not be measurable, but is certainly felt and experienced by the person and those around him/her.

3. Provides a satisfactory or pleasurable experience – When I think of something of quality, I always get a positive or satisfying sensation. For example, when you think of a “quality” song, book, vacation, product, person, or experience, don’t you almost feel a smile bubbling up inside you? Who can’t smile when you think of a “quality” piece of pie with a scoop of ice cream on the side? Quality is a positive, satisfying, or pleasurable attribute that we should seek in everything we do, buy, or experience.

4. Is attainable with a specified level of effort – Some of quality should be something attainable, though with some effort exerted. Quality can be cheap and easy (e.g., beautiful sunset, laughter of a child, or holding hands with your spouse), but it may include a cost (e.g., training to run a marathon that you complete, learning and using a second language for the first time, achieving your lifetime best score in golf, etc.) worth paying.

5. Provides a benefit greater than the associated cost – Philip Crosby once wrote a book called Quality is Free. In it, he states that the value provided by top quality always offsets the price paid to achieve it. By spending the time, cost, or effort to achieve something of quality, we always get a payback. Certainly, there is a limit to this in the business world – no buyer of generics products will pay more to get high-gloss graphic photos on the carton that will be thrown away, for example. However, in my cases in business and in our personal lives, striving for and attaining something of quality is worth the cost and sacrifice paid to achieve it.

In our business, Quality of our products, our service, or the combination of the two often differentiates us from all the rest. In our personal lives, the quality of our life is never measured purely in the material success we attain, but by our family, our friends, and by the impact we have in the lives of others.

What does a Quality product look like? A Quality product:

· Provides more value than its competitors

· Is more satisfying to consumers than its competitors

· Meets the needs of the user

· Provides value (that is, the combination of benefit and cost) to the user/consumer/patient

· Does what it purports to do

What does a Quality activity look like? A Quality activity:

· Provides satisfaction or enjoyment

· Is memorable

· Is fun

· Makes a difference to someone

· Is better than other similar activities

What does a Quality life look like? A Quality life:

· Is one that makes a difference in the lives of others

· Is typified by service (a giver, not a taker)

· Loves well, laughs often, and leaves a mark

· Contributes to a better company, a better family, a better society, and a better neighborhood

· Exhibits integrity

These examples are only a few of the things that could be said about quality. It is so much more than you could convey on paper. However, we should desire quality in what we do, what we buy, and how we live. Without question, Quality is one of those character attributes and values that differentiate. Why accept anything less?

 

What values define you?

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Most companies have elements called Values.  Typically, Values are those key or core attributes that define a company’s foundation… its commitment, its beliefs, and its unwavering mode of operation.  My own company, for example, has had the same three values for over 100 years:

  • Quality – an unwavering commitment to quality
  • Integrity – integrity in everything we do – this is our foundation
  • Service – consistently delivering value to our customers, providers, and patients

Without question, these three elements, if done well, can differentiate a great company from a mediocre one.

Values for our personal approach to work and life can drive us toward excellence or greatness, as well.  Have you taken the time to identify your own personal values?  Notice, I didn’t say “develop” your personal values.  Values are how you naturally behave.  They are your core, your foundation.  Others can see your values in how you make decisions, treat others, or behave in a crisis.  Do you know which “values” define you?

Recently, a colleague received information on the values established by another company and shared them with me.  This company states that these are the values that determine “…who gets rewarded, promoted, or let go.”  I thought it would be good to share these nine values.  See how many of these you exhibit well:

  1. Judgment – you make wise decisions despite ambiguity; you identify root causes and get beyond treating symptoms; you think strategically and can articulate what you are and are not trying to do; you smartly separate what must be done now and what can be improved later.
  2. Communication – you listen well, instead of reacting fast, so you can better understand; you are concise and articulate in speech and writing; you treat people with respect independent of their status or disagreement with you; you maintain calm poise in stressful situations
  3. Impact – you accomplish amazing amounts of important work; you demonstrate consistently strong performance so colleagues can rely upon you; you focus on great results rather than on process; you exhibit bias-to-action and avoid analysis-paralysis
  4. Curiosity – you learn rapidly and eagerly; you seek to understand our strategy, market, customers, and suppliers; you are broadly knowledgeable about business, technology and entertainment (Note: this is an entertainment company); you contribute effectively outside of your specialty
  5. Innovation – you re-conceptualize issues to discover practical solutions to hard problems; you challenge prevailing assumptions when warranted and suggest better approaches; you create new ideas that prove useful; you keep us nimble by minimizing complexity and finding time to simplify
  6. Courage – you say what you think even if it is controversial; you make tough decisions without agonizing; you take smart risks; you question actions inconsistent with our values
  7. Passion – you inspire others with your thirst for excellence; you can intensely about our success; you celebrate wins; you are tenacious
  8. Honesty – you are known for candor and directness; you are non-political when you disagree with others; you only say things about fellow employees you will say to their face; you are quick to admit mistakes
  9. Selflessness – you seek what is best for the company rather than best for yourself or your group; you are ego-less when searching for the best ideas; you make time to help colleagues; you share information openly and proactively

So, how do you stack up?  Would you be successful at this company?  The values listed above are good ones for us all to consider and, whenever possible, emulate.  What would our company be like if every employee exhibited these every day?  Amazing, I would guess!

Have you considered what values define you?  Thanks for striving to make life better for others.   Have a terrific day!

The Ninth Inning: “It ain’t over till it’s over”

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Today is the ninth and last inning of The Porch’s baseball series at the start of the 2016 season. Today, we look at the important concept of “It ain’t over till it’s over”. So, here is the full line-up for the series:

· First Inning: Everyone has a chance!

· Second Inning: Patient pondering, then frantic action!

· Third Inning: The aggressive team is often the winning team

· Fourth Inning: If you can hit….

· Fifth Inning: Many singles are better than one solo home run

· Sixth Inning: A strong bullpen is key

· Seventh Inning: Time to stretch

· Eighth Inning: Rally time!

· Ninth Inning: “It ain’t over till it’s over”

Yogi Berra, Yankee Hall of Famer, is said to have uttered, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” He was referring to the ninth inning of baseball games. Baseball is the only sport which does not use a time clock to determine the end of the game. A baseball team is never defeated until the last out is made in the last inning. Thus, there is always a chance… you are never out of the game until the very end. The largest ninth inning deficit appears to have been on April 24, 1901, in their first American League game, when the Detroit Tigers scored 10 runs in the ninth inning to beat Milwaukee, 14-13. Teams have had comebacks with as many as seven runs in the ninth inning to win within the last few years. These comebacks confirm what Yogi said about not giving up until it truly is over.

Persistence to the end… this equally applies to us in the business world. I’m sure you have seen project teams work diligently until the very end, then let loose ends trip them up with the finish line in sight. There is this human tendency to relax when victory seems assured. However, as in baseball, driving to the final out – until the final box is checked – is critical to our success. How many of you have seen someone work diligently on a project at home and even finish the project, but leave the final clean-up to someone else? I have told the story before of my acquaintance that built his own house from the ground up. He worked almost night and day to construct the house. They moved into the house with only the final few trim projects yet to complete. However, it took him many months to motivate himself to complete the last few activities.

Below are three quotes that I think sum this up very well:

“Do it again. Play it again. Sing it again. Read it again. Write it again. Sketch it again. Rehearse it again. Run it again. Try it again.  Because again is practice, and practice is improvement, and improvement only leads to perfection.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, & Grumblings for Every Day of the Year

“No. Don’t give up hope just yet. It’s the last thing to go. When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope.”
― Pittacus Lore, I Am Number Four

“You may be the only person left who believes in you, but it’s enough. It takes just one star to pierce a universe of darkness. Never give up.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, & Grumblings for Every Day of the Year

The bottom line is this… As long as you have hope, desire, and the ability to keep going, you still have a chance to win or be successful. Don’t give up! Finish the race! If there is just a flicker of hope within you, victory is still possible. Keep going!

For you NON-baseball fans, thanks for tolerating this baseball series. It’s over. Have a terrific day… perhaps, even a “top ten” day!

The Eighth Inning: Rally time!

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Today is the eighth inning of The Porch’s baseball series at the start of the 2016 season. Today, we look at the important concept of “Rally time!”. So, here is the full line-up for the series:

· First Inning: Everyone has a chance!

· Second Inning: Patient pondering, then frantic action!

· Third Inning: The aggressive team is often the winning team

· Fourth Inning: If you can hit….

· Fifth Inning: Many singles are better than one solo home run

· Sixth Inning: A strong bullpen is key

· Seventh Inning: Time to stretch

· Eighth Inning: Rally time!

· Ninth Inning: “It ain’t over till it’s over”

In baseball, there comes a point in every game where one team must rally (that is, come from behind) or face defeat. A rally often means you must overcome significant obstacles, such as an extremely sharp pitcher, defensive errors, or an inability to get a clutch base hit. But, when you are able to come from behind to win, the victory takes on greater significance and meaning. A come-from-behind win often means you have “snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.”

There are times in our private or work lives when we, also, need a rally. There are days or weeks or years in which things do not go our way and we need to come-from-behind. We need to overcome those obstacles and snatch that victory in our personal or work situation. You can see this from the quotes below:

1. “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” – Booker T. Washington

2. “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney

3. “The fact of being an underdog changes people in ways that we often fail to appreciate. It opens doors and creates opportunities and enlightens and permits things that might otherwise have seemed unthinkable.” – Malcolm Gladwell

So, how about you? Is it “Rally time!” Today is a good day to make it happen. Have a “top ten” day!

The Seventh Inning: Time to stretch

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Today is the seventh inning of The Porch’s baseball series at the start of the 2016 season. Today, we look at the important concept of “Time to stretch”. So, here is the full line-up for the series:

· First Inning: Everyone has a chance!

· Second Inning: Patient pondering, then frantic action!

· Third Inning: The aggressive team is often the winning team

· Fourth Inning: If you can hit….

· Fifth Inning: Many singles are better than one solo home run

· Sixth Inning: A strong bullpen is key

· Seventh Inning: Time to stretch

· Eighth Inning: Rally time!

· Ninth Inning: “It ain’t over till it’s over”

In baseball, a time is traditionally set aside in the seventh inning for the audience to stand up and stretch… this is called the seventh inning stretch. A stretch after sitting for a couple of hours is good to refresh and reinvigorate going into the final two innings of the game. Stretching the legs helps restore circulation and provides new life. Taking a break from the action is often needed to provide new energy and enthusiasm.

In life and in our work, a “seventh inning stretch” can also be helpful. Taking the time to reflect, refresh, and reinvigorate is often needed to provide us with the energy and enthusiasm to be our very best during times of impending stress or activity. There are four aspects of a “seventh inning stretch” that are important to incorporate into our refreshment time:

1. It must be intentional – A “seventh inning stretch” is never a surprise. It is planned at a specific time and place and is very predictable. In the same way, our “stretch” should be intentional — planned and predictable. We need to set aside a time when we can set our work aside and clear our mind. Getting enough sleep, taking that relaxing vacation/holiday, taking a walk a couple times each day, and having lunch away from your desk are examples of intentional ways to refresh your body and mind.

2. It requires that we do something different – A “seventh inning stretch” is not merely doing the same things the same way and expecting a different result. By definition, a stretch involves standing up, shifting our mind, and, perhaps, even singing a song. Give it a try!

3. It may involve re-connecting with others – Usually, the “seventh inning stretch” time involves talking or conversing with those around you at the baseball game. A few moments of light conversation does wonders to help refresh us. I am always amazed at individuals that never take the time to greet others or clear their minds with talk with coworkers – how can they maintain focus without a mind-clearing period?

4. It should be a time for fun – A “seventh inning stretch” is always accompanied by laughter, smiles, and good times (even when your team is losing). Why? It is because it is a time shared with others with similar interests and goals. Even if your workload is horrendous, taking the time to communicate with others will provide refreshment that might make you even more productive afterward.

So, when you find yourself bogged down at your desk with more work than you can get done in a day, consider taking that “seventh inning stretch” that can actually help you be more productive, more accurate, and more collaborative with those around you.

Thanks for making my world a better place! Have a great day!