Conquering your own existential dilemma

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Have you ever had a moment or day in which you questioned what you do and why you do it?  Do you ever think, “Why am I upset? It doesn’t really matter anyway.”  Are you frustrated sometimes because you think that you have nothing to show for your work or your efforts?

If so, you may be facing your own existential crisis or dilemma.  An existential dilemma is a situation in which an individual questions their purpose, the value of their efforts, or the meaning of what they do.  Someone has defined it as a time when, “You question everything, grasp for anything, only to get nothing.”

Often, your existential crisis comes at a time when you simply cannot properly balance responsibilities at home with stresses at work.  It may also come when you lose your job, miss out on a promotion, or feel distressed with the seemingly never-ending cycle of life. You might also even be questioning the meaning or purpose of your own life.

If (or when) you find yourself facing such a time, I would like to suggest a few specific actions you can take to help you shift back to a purposeful, meaningful existence.  These suggestions might even be helpful when you feel that your situation is hopeless or helpless.  Think about how you can dig your way out:

  1. Step back and look at your situation more broadly – When you take the time to look more objectively at your work and life, you will see that you provide value.  You are loved by many.  You provide and protect.  You make a difference to your employer, your teammates, your family, your friends, and your neighbors.  You have skills and abilities no one else on earth has.  No matter how things seem today, there are individuals in your world that would say, “You mean the world” to them.
  2. Find a way to serve others – One of the best ways to realize your own purpose is to find ways to serve others.  I have found that no matter what struggles I might have at any time, serving others redirects my focus away from those problems.  You are often at your very best when you are giving your best to others.
  3. Connect/Reconnect with God and His purpose for your life – God created each of us to have a purpose in this life.  We cannot truly find that purpose unless we have a relationship with the God that designed that purpose.  He can help us find purpose and meaning if we seek Him earnestly.
  4. Carve out some time to have fun – We often lose our way focus because we are trying to do or be too many things all at once.  Sometimes, this happens because we become so intense that we neglect to have fun.  Do something for yourself that brings fun and joy to your life.  This will serve to “reset” or “reboot” your life in ways that bring refreshment and new energy.
  5. Form a strand of three cords – “A strands of three cords is difficult to break.”  Find at least two other individuals that you trust with whom you can share your thoughts and struggles.  Having someone to provide honest, objective feedback can help ensure we are not being too critical of our own situation. You can find more on this at this link:  A Strand of Three Cords: Getting Honest Feedback.
  6. Align your passion with your work – When our passion does not align with our work, it is possible to feel that our work doesn’t matter, is unappreciated, adds no value, or is unfulfilling.  Many have written that we should turn our passion into our work, then, it no longer becomes “work.”  Find a way to do what you feel makes a difference. Sometimes, you can find your passion in your current situation by connecting your work to the ultimate customer.  For those working in the healthcare industry, this might be easy.  For others, you may need to learn more about how your work adds value to others.  For others, it might mean doing something completely different. When your work becomes your passion, your life changes.
  7. Simplify your life – If all else fails, simplify your life.  You don’t have to say “yes” to every request made of you.  You might have to reduce your schedule, your commitments, or your hours.  When life becomes more simple, you have less of life’s activities to detract you from those things more important, such as your family.

Certainly, the suggestions made above may not provide an easy answer for everyone.  But, if you will choose one or two of these items and focus some attention and effort there, I strongly believe that your crisis/dilemma will be relieved.

Thanks for what you do to make the world better for someone else.  And, who knows, this could be your very best day yet!

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The definition of a great life

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I just heard today that a former colleague, friend, and wonderful man passed away. Clarence “Clank” Wagner died last week leaving a wife, four children, and 17 grandchildren.  I worked with Clank in the past, though his busy schedule made our meetings rare over the past few years.  However, when I think of a great life, I can’t imagine many individuals I know that fit the definition better:

  1. He was a kind gentleman at all times – I never saw Clank treat anyone else with disrespect even in the face of extreme work pressures.  He was kind to all and was the definition of a gentleman in all things at all times.
  2. His life was marked by service to others – Clank dedicated his life to others.  His life revolved around his family, but he always found time to give to others unselfishly.  Even in death, his body will advance medical science and the training of new physicians.
  3. He was dedicated to his family – Clank was definitely a family man.  He served his family, he outwardly loved his family, and he spoke frequently with pride of them.
  4. His outlook was eternally positive – Clank always saw the glass as half full.  He encouraged everyone he encountered.  If you ever needed an attitude adjustment, Clank was the guy to do it.
  5. He had many interests – Clank lived a full and balanced life.  He was a diligent and dedicated employee.  He thoroughly enjoyed his retirement years.  And, he had fun in everything he did.

Though Clank’s departure leaves a hole in the lives of many, his memory evokes a smile. Thanks, Clank, for making the lives you touched better and the world a better place.  You will be missed.

Every time we experience a death of someone we care about, we should be reminded that our lives here are just a vapor.  It is another reminder to appreciate those special people in your life and to realize that today is the only day we are promised… everything may be different tomorrow.  And, today, I am thankful and blessed to have known Clank Wagner. Oh, that we could all live a life as complete and dedicated to others as was Clank’s life!

10 mistakes that can doom the success of any leader

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As the leader of a group or team, have you ever thought that the team was not achieving to its full potential?  Do you often feel that the team is unmotivated or just “going through the motions?”  Have you tried a number of different things without success to encourage team members?  Perhaps, the answer is not in what the team is doing… possibly, it is something you are doing or failing to do.

I have been in the corporate world for nearly 40 years with multiple companies and have observed, literally, hundreds of leaders.  Some were successful, many were not.  What is the difference between a successful leader and one that struggles with people, results, or team chemistry?  I believe that there are 10 critical mistakes that leaders make that can have devastating effects on the team or team members.  In fact, I believe these 10 things are so critical that a failure in any one of the ten will severely impact the team.  It is important to achieve 100% in these areas as a leader.  So, let’s take a look at these 10 critical mistakes or missteps people leaders, especially new ones, tend to make:

  1. Assuming that the leader needs to know every detail of every job and touch every output from the team – Many unsuccessful people leaders fail because they micromanage the team or individual members.  They feel that, as the leader, they need to know every minute detail or they feel they must touch every output.  This is a significant mistake!  Micromanaging demotivates the team and encourages them to defer their work to you.  If you feel the need to do their job anyway, why should they go above and beyond?  Additionally, they tend to be less innovative and collaborate less.  As a result, performance dips and a spiral of frustration can inflict the team.
  2. Acting without integrity – When leaders cheat, cut corners, mistreat individuals, talk behind backs, are untrustworthy, or lie, the team will certainly achieve below their ability or expectations.  An integrity failure will doom a team.
  3. Assuming that the team members must serve the leader, rather than the reverse – When you become a people leader, you signed up to serve others, not to be served.  You must set an example of service, collaboration, and encouragement.  If you fail in this area, you will fail to blend the team into a cohesive, results-oriented unit.
  4. Failing to walk in the shoes of the individual team members – A good leader will always seek to see things from the perspective of others.  “Walking awhile in their shoes” will help you to see things more holistically and with fewer limitations.  When you see things from the point of view of others, you can often find better and more efficient ways to leading, serving, or functioning as a team.
  5. Failing to give credit, give praise, and give hope – A good leader will almost always take less credit for team success than deserved and will take more blame than is warranted when things don’t go well.  A good leader praises effort, motivates individuals, and is a source of encouragement and hope.  Without these things, the team may succeed, but will never become the top-performing team you desire.
  6. Failing to provide direction and purpose – When you are leading people, you must lead!  That is, you must provide a definition of success for the team.  You must help members understand their role and how their success serves the greater good.  When individuals know what is expected and how their efforts fit into the organizational success, they are much more motivated to go above and beyond to achieve results.
  7. Forgetting to have fun – When teams have fun, it is clear that they perform better. Having passion about what we do is always a strong motivator.  Having fun helps to drive individual relationships and team work.  If you, as a leader, fail to understand this need, you will surely be disappointed in the results you obtain.
  8. Forgetting to develop and motivate team members – One of our most important responsibilities as leaders is to develop more leaders that continue to develop other leaders.  We must not forsake individual learning, individual growth, and providing opportunities that nurture individual development.
  9. Believing that you have all the answers – A leader that believes he/she has all the answers is a fool.  Failing to seek and utilize the input of others is a formula for failure.  Unless individual team members feel that their input is needed and appreciated, you will miss a significant opportunity for enhanced team success.
  10. Not recognizing the connection between team success and your own individual success – A good leader knows that unless the team succeeds, their leadership has also not been successful.  Leading people is a significant responsibility, but you must understand and convey to the team that a united team is one that sinks or swims as a team.

So, what do you do if you are currently a people leader and feel that you have made missteps in any of these areas?  Is it too late to get back on track and repair any damage that may have occurred?  Frank Reagan (the character played by Tom Selleck in NBC’s show Blue Bloods) once said:

“So what if you have made missteps.  At least you are walking in the right direction.”

The fact that you have chosen to be a leader and influence others is noble.  Wanting to make a difference in the lives of others will bring fulfillment that you otherwise might never realize.  Striving to drive progress and results as a leader is honorable.  So, you are definitely already walking in the right direction.  Learning from your missteps and making the necessary adjustments will help make the rest of your journey even better and more successful.  Re-read the common mistakes listed above and honestly inventory your own leadership style.  If you see yourself falling into any of these traps, it is essential that you adjust.  You team members simply cannot achieve all that they are capable of achieving if you limit them or hinder their own abilities these ways.  For their sake, you must adjust or they will either perform to a lesser degree or, possibly worse, they will leave.

Thanks for being a leader.  We all must work each day to be a better leader and, as a result, achieve more for the team, career enhancement for team members, and greater job fulfillment for you, the leader.

 

Who needs a “narrative” when you can just as easily tell the truth?

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Anyone that has been in the corporate world for any length of time, watches the news, or reads a newspaper experiences it frequently…

  • “We need to ensure that our narrative on that situation is believable.”
  • “What spin do you think we should use to make our key point?”
  • “Here are the talking points you need to follow – don’t deviate from them.”
  • “What messaging do we need to develop for these changes?”
  • “How should we craft the dialogue around this?”

Certainly, there are times when proper communication is needed to ensure that the message is understood and clear to the hearers.  This would be important when communicating significant changes to employee benefits, for example.  However, in a large percentage of cases, when you hear these phrases or comments used, the real purpose is to shape the truth to fit a pre-determined, hoped for outcome.

I’m reminded of a quote that talks perfectly to this issue:

“Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” – James E. Faust

For the most part, when you feel that you need a “narrative, message, spin, or dialogue” around an issue, you are either trying to deceive or you are condescending to your audience.  In other words, you don’t believe your target audience can understand the issue (or, you don’t want them to understand), so you attempt to direct their understanding in the direction you choose.  For example, companies often use terms such as “restructuring, reorganizing, redeploying, or transforming” to describe reductions for cost-cutting purposes.  In today’s world, most employees are sophisticated enough to understand the business landscape and the importance of the action.  So, why not just call it what it is?

I have also experienced examples of companies that do a very good job of helping employees understand with transparency the rationale of significant actions.  The message is more greatly appreciated, better understood, and more readily accepted when the company treats employees with this level of trust and respect.  Speaking the truth clearly, honestly, and openly is always better in circumstances that impact others personally.

Some organizations have entire departments or groups tasked to “manage the spin.”  This is especially apparent when dealing with politics at all levels.  Again, whatever happened to the day when the truth was given and individuals were left to interpret and decide for themselves the impact?  It seems in many ways that all information has been “dumbed down” or that it must be manipulated to ensure that it is understood in the way designed by the communicator.

Individuals also twist the truth to meet their personal or career needs.  It is rare these days to find an individual known for their candor or to meet someone that “always tells the unvarnished truth.”  That is unfortunate.

So, the challenge for today is this… Let’s endeavor to be more open about the truth.  And, in the process, let’s trust that others can properly discern and handle the truth when presented.  It is as simple as that… let’s strive to be “…truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving” individuals.  The world around us will be better as a result.

 

What successful executives would tell you about your own career journey 

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Over the course of the last couple of years, I have had the privilege of hearing the detailed career journey experiences of over 20 successful executives.  These individuals encompass many different disciplines (quality, manufacturing, HR, commercial, R&D, procurement, EHS, finance, and others) and most covered multiple companies and very diverse experiences. Each individual has a unique career journey, but I have learned that each of these individuals experienced similar defining moments along the way.

The experiences of these individuals can help each of us better understand our own journey or at least anticipate what might occur and how we can prepare for them when they do occur.

Here are those key learnings shared by these successful individuals:

  1. Don’t expect your career to be a straight line – The traditional thinking when you begin your career is that you will spend a few years at one level, then move to the next logical progressive position each few years in orderly, step-wise fashion. However, that is simply not the norm.  Careers more often have several points when progress might involve a step sideways or even back down temporarily.  Of the 20 or so career journeys I heard, probably half of them involved taking a lateral or downward moves out of necessity or as a result of another defining event.  Be prepared for multiple career detours as you progress.
  2. You will face multiple decision points – As with anything in life, your career journey will involve a number of significant decisions points.  For example, all of the executives I reference faced career-defining decisions.  One had to decide whether to stay in research or move into more business-related areas.  Others moved from Operations into areas completely outside it.  Most had decisions about knowing when to stay or leave a company.  Anyone starting early in their career must understand that key decisions will arise and you need to begin now considering what values you hold, what work you are most passionate about, and what risks you are willing to take to advance your career.
  3. You will have to take risks – Speaking of risks, every successful executive took significant risks more than once in their career.  By significant risks, I mean moving to a totally different discipline, relocating, taking a difficult stand, leaving a great job, or just stepping into the unknown.  Success, to a large extent, is a function of how great a risk you are willing to take.  It is rare that an individual will have profound career success by always “playing it safe.”  Be willing to take that measured risk that could mean all the difference in your career.
  4. You will have setbacks – No successful executive has a setback-free career journey. All 20 of the executives faced adversity, such as a job loss, devastating defeat, or other seemingly crushing event in their career.  However, each one took that event as a learning opportunity and moved on to something even better.  In some cases, the executive mentioned that they would never have taken a risk on their own without the “push” they received by their unexpected event.  So, when those events do occur, look at them as that push you need to do something different or go where you would not have otherwise.  Learn from it and be better as a result.
  5. Other individuals will impact you – Each executive mentioned the importance of other people in their career journey.  Some talked about mentors, others about a boss that took a chance with them, and others talked about the immeasurable influence that a particular leader had on them.  The point is that you cannot do it alone.  You need to network, you need to have relationships, you need to open yourself up to what you can learn from others as you advance in your career.  When you find such a person, don’t let them go!
  6. Chasing a title or salary is a mistake – Each successful executive talked about their motivation.  They talked about why they did what they did.  None of them talked about chasing a title, except in the context in terms of how that sidetracked their career.  No one benefited by taking a position merely for the title or merely for the increased salary.  Learning what motivates you… learning where your passion lies… learning what is important to you will drive your career in positive ways that you’ll talk about decades from now.
  7. You will feel completely overmatched at some point – Every individual mentioned a time when they assumed a role that they honestly felt they were not ready for.  They all were in a position that felt overwhelming or too much.  Yet, each talked about how much they learned from that experience… how much they learned about the job and how much they learned about themselves.  Taking a role that seemed too much, taught them their limits.  Had they never assumed a stretch position, they would have remained in their smaller, more confined place. Stretching taught them about thriving when they were uncomfortable.
  8. Eventually, you will define career success in ways you never expected – Early in my own career, I defined success as the right job, with the right salary, in the right location. However, as I progressed through my career, I began finding greater career fulfillment in helping others achieve their own success.  This same conclusion was true for most of the executives I know.  Their career focus seems to change from a focus on their own personal success to the success of their teams and individuals around them.  When you begin seeing the success others experience, you begin defining your own career as complete.

A career journey is perilous.  It can be filled with risk, unknown pathways, detours, and, sometimes, fear.  However, as you watch it unfold over the years, you’ll see that your own story, though unique, will mirror what others have experienced.  You will see that you had to make career changes as conditions dictated, you were forced to make sometimes uneasy decisions, you took risks, you survived the setbacks, other individuals played a major role in your success, you found fulfillment in unexpected ways, and, despite your education and training, you had to thrive in unfamiliar surroundings at times.  Your journey will likely include all the things that most successful executives face.  Your ability to achieve ultimate success may depend on how you handle these events and situations as they occur. Don’t be surprised.  Don’t be afraid.  Charge forward with confidence.  And, don’t forget to have some fun along the way.

Have a terrific day!  Thank someone else today that made a difference in your own career!

Managing life’s headwinds: Lessons from a kiteboarder

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I recently was blessed to spend a week on the beach near Playa del Carmen in Mexico. There, the beaches are beautiful and the water crystal clear.  One day, I spent some time watching both an experienced kiteboarder and one just trying to learn.  It made me consider the similarities between how a kiteboarder controls the wind and how we try to manage our own headwinds.

First, a kiteboarding primer… Kiteboarding (or kitesurfing) is simply using a kite approximately 12 feet wide attached by a cable to a strap on your floatation vest.  Your feet are in straps attached to a board.  You control the kite by shifting the kite position using a bar you hold.  So, you “simply” use the bar to direct the wind and your direction and speed. The experts I observed could move in any direction regardless of the wind, allow the kite to lift them off the surf, and, in short, glide along the ocean surface seemingly without a care.  The beginners, on the other hand, frequently fell, had difficulty controlling the kite, and were often seen scrambling to simultaneously hold the kite and re-insert their feet into the board straps.

I observed several things as I watched both the kiteboarding experts and beginners about managing the wind.  And, the same principals apply as corollaries to how we encounter and try to manage the headwinds we face in life:

  1. No one is immune from life’s headwinds – Though today may be one that offers no significant challenges, the day will come when your own headwind will come.  For the kiteboarder, he/she could simply let the tailwind carry them out to sea, but without the ability to manage a headwind, they would have no way to return to shore. Don’t expect to get through life without experiencing your own challenges.  Knowing how to manage the wind can make all the difference in how you respond.
  2. Experience matters when facing life’s headwinds – The more experience the kiteboarder has, the better he/she is able to manage the wind.  Likewise, as you experience life’s challenges, you become better equipped to endure.  You are less likely to panic and more able to just face it head-on.  Going through challenges builds the muscle you need to endure it better the next time.
  3. It is possible to turn a headwind into a tailwind – The experienced kiteboarder can manipulate the wind any way they want.  By just moving the control bar, they can go with the wind, against the wind, or across the wind.  Likewise, with experience, we can turn a challenge into an opportunity.  Losing a job can lead to a new, more rewarding career.  Surviving a health issue can better prepare us for the next one. Realizing that your challenge may, in reality, have a purpose in your life may help you see through to the other side of the challenge.
  4. When headwinds cause us to fall, we can choose how we respond – I observed two kinds of beginner kiteboarders: one that persisted and fought through their frustrations and the other that quickly gave up and headed back to shore.  We have the same choices when life’s challenges arise… we can either persist or we can give up.  Those that persist, win in the end.
  5. Others can help us manage life’s headwinds – The instructor for new kiteboarders is essential.  It would be nearly impossible to master the winds without an experienced instructor to guide the learning process.  Similarly, those around us with experience can help us navigate through our own challenges.  Having the courage to ask for help in dealing with our struggles can often lead to better and quicker success.
  6. Thrills await those that can master life’s headwinds – It appeared that those that have mastered the kiteboard have a ball!  By going through the struggles of the learning process, they emerge with the ability to enjoy the sun, surf, and wind in ways that the rest of us cannot.  This only comes through experience.  If we endure and drive through our own headwinds, good things will emerge on the other side.

I do have to admit, watching the kiteboarding experts was fun.  They effortlessly exhibited a mastery of both the surf and the winds that made you think, “Hey, that looks easy!”  But, watching the beginners was funny, though you could almost feel their frustration.

Likewise, watching a family member, friend, or colleague struggle with life’s headwinds can be frustrating for us.  Lending a hand, providing needed support, or simply letting them know you care can make a difference in how they respond to their own challenges.

For those currently facing life’s challenges… persist, keep trying, and know that good things will come as you make your way through it.  Don’t be afraid to lean on others that have similar experiences.  And, know that someday, your experience will be valuable as you lend a hand to someone else facing that same headwind.

Have a terrific day!  Today could be your best day yet… you just never know when it will come.  Good luck managing the headwinds that blow into your face today!

When anger gets the best of you

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Have you noticed that there seems to be more anger today then a few years ago?  It seems that people are more on edge and react more vituperatively than ever before.  It seems that no matter what happens, someone or some group is outraged and angry.  I often wonder how long this anger can last.  After all, doesn’t anger take so very much energy?

Someone once said:

“When anger gets the best of you, it usually brings out the worst of you.” – Anonymous

I have found this to be very true.  It seems that when a person gets truly angry, all of their worst character attributes come forward… bad language, hate, envy, animosity, and negativity.  In return, the target of that anger often naturally expresses or feels repulsion, hurt, vindictiveness, and revenge.  Anger usually begets more anger.  It seems that every negative element of an individual is revealed when they are consumed with anger.

Is it possible to have “righteous anger?”  Yes, it is certainly possible.  We should be angry when we see injustice, ill-treatment of others, and intentional destruction.  However, even righteous anger must be managed and controlled.

Anger in the workplace, when not properly managed, can impact morale, productivity, employee engagement, job satisfaction, and work quality.  For example, I have seen numerous examples where individuals or entire teams have been demotivated, demoralized, and defeated by the angry outburst of a manager or leader.

So, if anger can be so destructive, how can we control or manage it?  Is it even possible to control our anger?  Well, as you might guess, I believe the answer is a definitive “yes.”  It is possible to at least tame our anger and control it to the extent that it is not a device of destruction or division.  Let’s look at seven approaches to anger control or management that I have observed to be effective:

  1. Walk away without striking back – By putting some distance between you and the source of your anger, you can avoid responding when your anger is most volatile.
  2. Put some time between you and the source of your anger – Time, it seems, takes the edge off anger.  It gives you a chance to consider whether the issue is significant and what the best action might be other than expressing your anger.
  3. Re-position your anger in the form of questions – Instead of striking back to the source of anger, ask probing questions that might help diffuse the immediacy of the situation.  Examples of such questions might be:
    • Do you understand what position this puts us in?
    • Did you consider alternative actions?
    • Do you have a suggestion as to how we might mitigate this issue?
    • What have you done to keep this from re-occurring?
    • What do you suggest we do next?
  4. Keep things in proper perspective – Before saying or doing something that you might later regret, consider whether the issue is really that important or not.  For example, is it really that important that someone else beat you to that close parking spot?  Will the issue matter in an hour, or day, or month?  Is there a logical reason why this might have happened?
  5. Direct your anger toward the event or situation, not people (if possible) – It is often helpful to put yourself in the shoes of the individuals involved.  Placing your anger toward another individual will rarely produce the best eventual outcome.  Identify the event or situation and direct your energy toward a solution to the problem, not degrading or embarrassing individuals.
  6. Remember your position – others are watching you – Your actions often set the tone or help establish the culture.  Someone once said, “The culture of an organization is defined by the worst behavior that is allowed to occur.”  When you consider that your actions may produce long-standing memories for others, you might better manage the anger of the moment.  I am sure that each of us can cite numerous examples of how expressed momentary anger produced permanent scars.
  7. Act with mercy/give a second chance/use it as a teaching moment – We all deserve a second chance.  An individual is more likely to learn from their mistakes and grow from the situation if they are treated with mercy and you use the situation as a learning experience.  When you strike out at another individual, the potential learning is overwhelmed by the negative reaction you gave, rather than how they can learn from it.

I hope these suggestions can both help you see the potential damage your anger, if not controlled, can cause AND offer some practical advice for managing that next major event.

Do something today to make a positive impact on someone else!  It could be your very best day yet!

 

The most important thing I have learned in my first month as a retiree

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Well, it has been almost one month since I retired from 40 years in the workforce.  I thought it might be a good time to share some of what I have learned, including the most important thing.  Even those of you not near retirement might benefit from my perspectives.

First of all, I have learned more than one thing.  Here are a few from my list:

  • I am slowly learning to sleep beyond 4am – the coffee tastes just as good at 6am
  • I still get a bit giddy when I go to bed knowing I don’t have to get up and fight the commute to work
  • I do have to admit that I smiled (just a bit) that first morning with icy roads that I sat on my couch watching the traffic reports on the news
  • My wife and I still do and always will enjoy each other’s company
  • As expected, I miss my friends and colleagues at work – I often wonder how things are going and whether any new challenges have arisen
  • It is easy to find productive and fun things to do… even in January

So, what is the most important thing that I have learned?  I think it has to do with time. Depending upon circumstances, time can be a friend or it can be an enemy.  It can make you smile and relax, or it can cause intense stress.  It can stimulate dreams or invoke regret.  It can move agonizingly slowly or with the speed of an eye wink.

Now that I have almost unlimited free time to do essentially what I want, I am faced with the knowledge that my own days are more limited with each sunset.  On the other hand, each new sunrise brings a wealth of opportunities.  (Notice the photo above… sunrise of opportunity from my beach vacation taken just this week in Mexico… beautiful!)  We all have the same number of hours in a day, but it is how we choose to use them that determines our success, happiness, or impact.

My biggest learning in a nutshell… Enjoy the time we have, make choices that make meaningful use of it, and realize that it is fleeting.  I choose to make time my friend.  So, I plan to use my time wisely.  Sometimes, that means doing truly productive work.  Other days, it might just mean building with Legos with my grandson.  Either way, I plan to enjoy life, but still seek opportunities to make a difference to others.  You don’t have to be a retiree to heed this advice.  Bottom line… seize the day you have been given.  We are not promised tomorrow, so we need to make each day count.  

And, know that I’ll be safely on my couch rooting for you and your commute the next snow storm that comes our way.