7 ways to restore a “business casual” attitude when you’d rather be wearing flip-flops

flip flops

I think we have all been there… trying to do our job, focus on what we need to get done, putting up with irrational people… all the while wanting and wishing we were wearing flip-flops or sitting on the beach. During my working years, when getting ready for work, I often asked myself, “If I could do anything in the world today, what would it be?” I have to admit there were too few days that my answer included driving through rush-hour traffic to go to the office. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy my work – I can truly say that I did – however, there were days when my mind simply was someplace else.

How about you? Are there days when you’d just rather not be dealing with the challenges and issues you face everyday? How can you restore focus and engagement on one of those days? Here are a few things I have done that helped:

  1. Physically prepare – One of the primary reasons individuals lose their focus is that they are not physically able to focus. Sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, and other health issues can rob us of the energy to be at our best during the day. Personally, my diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea made a significant difference to me. Of course, I am often tempted to cancel that with my constant search for full candy jars. That aside, getting good sleep without relying upon caffeine to get you through the day is important. Likewise, a good, nutritious breakfast, and a healthy lifestyle make a difference in our ability to stay mentally strong throughout the day.
  2. Find your own productivity time zone – Everyone, including those that are physically prepared, have a critical “productivity time zone” in which they are most productive each day. My zone is early in the day. However, I know many individuals that have their most productive times in the late morning or early afternoon. Others function best late in the day and tend to be at their very best even into the late night. Everyone needs to understand when they hit their zone and focus much of their “get it done” efforts during this time. You may need to use this time to meet with colleagues so you can be at your best. Or, you may need this as your quiet time to accomplish activities that require your best attention. Find, understand, and use this critical period of the day to accomplish 75% of those things most critical for the day.
  3. Make a “to do” list… every day! – I have found that I am most effective when I have a list of this that must be done each day. Making a “to do” list helped me tremendously. When you have 3 – 5 things you know you need to accomplish each day, it tends to keep you focused even when your mind is someplace else. Don’t allow  yourself to “relax” mentally or physically until these critical items are completed.
  4. Avoid distractions – The greatest risk to your focus and engagement at work is distractions, whether from people or technology. Most productive people schedule quiet time that allows them to focus on critical tasks without interruption. I often blocked time on my calendar for just this purpose. You tend to “own the time” more when you can literally block it on your calendar. Technology also tends to distract us. When involved in a critical task or meeting, it is best to simply keep your smart phone in your pocket or someplace out of reach. Forcing yourself to keep it away until you complete your “to do” list is another way of eliminating this distraction. Yes, this is easier said than done, but it might be a necessary step on those “flip-flop” days.
  5. Consider your “serve” – When your mind turns to the beach or the golf course or your kids or challenges in your life, it is often because your focus is on yourself or what you need to do outside of work. Your focus becomes internal rather than external. The best way to reverse this is to move your focus onto others. Find a way to serve someone else. Find a way to make a difference for someone else. You’ve seen the John Wooden quote here many times, but it is worth repeating: “You cannot call a day a perfect day unless you have done something for someone that can never repay you.”  When you mentally shift from your own situation or desires or problems to someone else, you tend to improve your ability to refocus on those things of most importance.
  6. Find something easy or fun to accomplish – We often become distracted because we are involved in something that disinterests us or in which we see no real value. When we get something accomplished, even if it is a quick and easy item, it tends to re-energize us and help us refocus. When you are in one of those disengaged ruts, find a task that can be done quickly and get it done. Often, this will allow you to be more productive for the rest of the day.
  7. Suck it up and just do it! – Finally, life is not necessarily easy or fun all the time. There are days and times when we simply need to slug through it. When I find myself in one of those “I don’t want to be here” days, I would often think of the work life my father faced. He was a welding contractor in the oilfield in southern Illinois. He worked five days a week PLUS half a day every Saturday all year. He received one week of vacation each year. He worked outside in every kind of weather and often came home caked in mud, cold, or miserable from the summer heat. Yet, he simply knew that was his job and his way to serve his family. He never complained or expressed a desire to quit. He just kept going… every day… for 40 years until his body just wore out. He didn’t enjoy an air-conditioned office with free coffee all day, catered lunches, and “tough tasks” like writing reports. His time was true “work”. When I felt sorry for myself, I merely thought of him and the sacrifices he made that I could have a job like I had.

So, the next time you feel yourself a thousand miles away from the task at hand, think about trying one or more of these suggestions that helped me remain focused. There is a time when you can and should wear flip-flops, but those times need to be other than when your employer needs you fully focused.

Have a great day! Remember, it could be your best day yet… there is still a chance!

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Things you should never say during a regulatory inspection

trouble

Sometimes we learn best by seeing what NOT to do. I have accumulated a few of the comments I have heard during my 35+ years in healthcare industries. Some of these were actually said during a regulatory inspection (not by my choice, believe me!), but many others were voiced during mock regulatory inspections or audits. Each instance was an opportunity for coaching outside the context of the inspection/audit. Despite our best efforts to train our teams on how to respond to regulatory questions, it is common for an individual (not all inexperienced either) to make an off-beat comment in the heat of the inspection that they know was wrong.

So, for your entertainment and, hopefully, use in your own regulatory inspection training, here are the comments:

  1.  “We had to release that lot, it was the only one we had and we needed to keep production running.”
  2. “Our micro lab is across the street.  Would you like us to take you over there right now?”
  3. “We are still amazed at how sharp last year’s inspector was.”
  4. “If you think this is bad, you should see how our sister plant down the street does it.”
  5. “We have no idea how that happened!”
  6. “The only guy that knew how to do that retired last year.  We’ll give him a call during the lunch break.”
  7. “We’ll show that area to you later after we finished cleaning it up.”
  8. “This OOS was unusual because almost all our problems are due to unclean glassware.”
  9. “Give me just a minute.  I think they keep that password here in the bottom drawer.”
  10. “Really, what’s the big deal.  All we’re talking about is a few complaints!”
  11. “We keep all the SOPs in the supervisor’s office.  If we kept them here in the production area, they would be a mess.”
  12. “If we had known you were coming, we would have cleaned the place up.”
  13. “That’s not so bad, we’ve done a whole lot of things worse.”
  14. “I don’t know for sure, but I assume…..”
  15. “I’m sure you won’t understand this, but let me try to make it simple for you.”
  16. “I’m not sure, but let me take a guess….”
  17. “Before you leave, can we show you a new system that we’ve been implementing?  We’re very proud of it.”
  18. “Actually, we’re pretty lucky that it wasn’t any worse than that.”
  19. “I know you only asked for this, but I brought along several related documents that you might find helpful.”
  20. “We had to make a number of changes during our process validation study, but we eventually got it to work.”
  21. “That test method is so complex that only one or two of our analysts can get the right numbers.”
  22. “We had results all over the place, but we’re sure that the result that met our specifications was right.”
  23. “We have quality personnel in production only during first shift because we don’t have a second shift crew.”
  24. “We think our interpretation of that statute is probably more current than yours.”
  25. “You know what they say, ‘The end justifies the means.’”

Just a few take-aways from these comments:

  • Be sure you continually re-enforce that individuals should just answer the questions asked and offer only information specifically requested (unless approved by the inspection manager)
  • Never hide requested information from the investigator – however, you are under no obligation to expose issues not requested, either
  • When in doubt, the less said, the better – don’t be afraid of silence
  • Never offer to show an area, system, document, data, or anything else not specifically requested, no matter how proud of it you might be – the only exception is if this might help you make a point raised by other questions asked
  • When a cGMP violation has been identified, don’t make it worse by trying to justify your actions or by revealing other related issues – take your medicine and correct other issues internally
  • Always respect the investigator, no matter what happens or how you feel – they are just trying to do their job to protect our ultimate consumers

Good luck on your next inspection! Have a great day!

 

You can’t fake good leadership

servant leadership

Despite all the articles, books, seminars, quotes, and coaching available on the subject of leadership, individuals still struggle with what leadership means, what it looks like, and, most importantly, how to be one. Leadership can be learned, so don’t use the excuse that “I am what I am.” Today, I wanted to provide a list of simple concepts and actions that describe leadership to me. This is not a checklist of things you must do to become a great leader. It is more like a buffet of great choices… pick a few that fit and work on them. Don’t try to master everything all at once. Focus on 3 key leadership attributes and master these, then move to the next three. Any progress will be noticed and make a difference to those you lead or try to influence.

The bottom line on leadership is you can’t fake it! Becoming a great leader takes effort, a selfless attitude, and a willingness to be open and honest. So, take a look at this list and choose three items that you know you don’t do very well and focus on improving in these areas for the next 90 days. See what difference this makes, then move to others.

Here is the list:

  1. You can’t be a great leader unless you are willing to serve others
  2. Great leaders distinguish themselves more on what they do than what they say
  3. Others won’t follow you unless they know you care for them at some level
  4. Integrity is a leadership lifestyle, not a vague concept – it is about doing, being consistent, and valuing others
  5. Great leaders take less than their share of credit for successes, but are quick to assume blame when things don’t go well
  6. A great leader develops other leaders that develop other leaders
  7. Others are reluctant to follow someone not willing to do the work that occurs behind the scenes
  8. You’ll never really be trusted unless you are willing to tell the unvarnished truth, as much as you possibly can
  9. Great leaders create the “box” of responsibility and authority, then allow team members to function within that box – they do not micromanage
  10. A great leader will never lose control of their temper, embarrass another in public, or intentionally hurt anyone else
  11. Great leaders focus more on content than form – both for others and themselves – in other words, a great leader cares more about what is inside a person than what they appear to be on the outside
  12. You can’t call yourself a great leader unless you take action to develop the skills, abilities, and future of others
  13. A great leader will work diligently to get everyone involved and, every team member gets a fair chance to contribute, participate, and thrive
  14. Great leaders quickly intervene when any team member is treated unfairly – this includes eliminating internal issues or defending the team, when needed
  15. Great leaders know that they do not have to be the expert on every subject and willingly allow and acknowledge the value added by others
  16. A great leader values listening more than talking
  17. A great leader is known by the results their team attains, but, just as importantly, they are known by the way they obtain those results
  18. Optimism, encouragement, and loyalty are attributes of all great leaders
  19. A great leader knows where the team needs to go, but allows the team members to participate in the route and means of getting there
  20. Team members always know they are valued when they are led by a terrific leader
  21. A great leader helps team members understand the sacrifice needed to achieve victory and willingly exerts personal sacrifice to make victory possible
  22. A great leader makes everyone on the team better – he/she is able to enable others to achieve more than they thought possible and make the team better collectively than the sum of the individual members
  23. A team with a great leader continues to function at a high level even when the leader is not present – the team has been prepared to function independently and effectively
  24. A great leader is not afraid to speak up to others or to provide real and meaningful feedback to individual team members
  25. A great leader is always seeking ways to improve, to become more efficient, and to eliminate wasted time, effort, and money
  26. You’ll know a great leader by what they leave behind – they leave individual team members better prepared, they leave a culture of integrity, they leave better results, they leave confidence, they leave continuity of success, and they leave things and people they encountered better than they were before they arrived

So, how are you doing as a leader? Are you trying to fake your way through it or can you see these things happening in meaningful ways? What three areas need more work? Are there others that can provide real feedback to help you either identify opportunities for improvement or that can help you monitor your improvement?

Also, think about the best leader you have ever worked with or observed. What was it about that person that made them a great leader? What can you incorporate into your own life to make you better?

Finally, this is a great day to be alive! Enjoy it and make the best of it. And remember the terrific quote by John Wooden, one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history:

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone that will never be able to repay you.” – John Wooden (UCLA Basketball Coach)

Stewardian fantasies

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Steve and I have been friends for over thirty years now. We have quite a bit in common, including a love for sports. When we are together, we often talk about “what if’s” relating to how we would do in certain situations, though we tend to focus on sporting events. Steve’s last name is Steward, so, naturally, we have coined these as Stewardian fantasies. We can make up an endless list of these that can keep us entertained for hours (much to the chagrin of our wives, at times). Anyway, I thought it might be of interest to some of you to ponder these yourselves. (There is a point in this, but you need to read all the way to the end.)

Steve and I usually start these fantasies by throwing out some ridiculous wager. For example, would you bet your car for a chance to win $1M? Or, would you do _____ for $1M? OK, so here are a few for you to consider:

Would you bet your car (or house or $10,000 or whatever) to win $1M if you could…

  1. Make contact batting against Sandy Koufax (Hall of Fame baseball pitcher from the 60’s for the Los Angeles Dodgers) in ten pitches?
  2. Last one round with Muhammad Ali (in his prime) in a boxing match without getting knocked out?
  3. Beat Usain Bolt, world record holder in the 100m dash, if he gave you a 50m head start?
  4. Get a hole-in-one if you could hit shots all day long on a 125 yard golf hole?
  5. Make 50 basketball free throws in a row if you had all day long to try?
  6. Kick a 30 yard field goal in less than 50 attempts?
  7. Allow fewer than 25 goals in an NHL hockey game if you were the goalie?
  8. Allow fewer than 10 goals playing a World Cup soccer game for any team if you were the goalie?
  9. Guarding Stephen Curry (considered the best basketball player in the NBA), could you hold him to fewer than 100 points in a regular, full basketball game?

Or, would you do any of the following for a straight $1M in cash?

  1. Stand knee deep in the middle of the Okefenokee swamp in Florida all night without any weapons, phone, or available help until morning?
  2. Ride a bicycle without brakes down a mountain road?
  3. Sing the Star Spangled Banner at next year’s Super Bowl game?

Or, if you had unlimited time (e.g., no job or other obligations), could you, in exactly one year, do any of these for $1M?

  1. Learn to play a new musical instrument well enough to be considered an expert?
  2. Learn to play golf well enough to score below par at Augusta National golf course?
  3. Get a book, song, or poem written and published?
  4. Learn to re-assemble a completely disassembled car, then start it and drive it away on your first attempt after re-assembly?
  5. Gather eight of your friends and play an entire 162 game baseball season… could you win even one game?

I have to admit, thinking about and discussing these hypothetical “fantasies” are fun, but the end result is nothing productive. However, the process of using your imagination does often stimulate you to try something you have been fearful to try or something you formerly thought impossible. For example:

  • Have you ever considered starting your own business, but either didn’t know how to start or were afraid to try? Imagine the possibilities. Why not give it a try?
  • Have you ever avoided saying something because you were afraid of the answer? I have attended four funerals or visitations in just the last 3 months and have developed an even greater appreciation for the fragility of life and time. If there is something on your heart than someone needs to hear, why not say it today?
  • Have you been wanting to learn that new skill, start a new hobby, or take that trip you’ve always wanted to take? What are you waiting for?
  • Have you avoided taking even small risks for fear of the consequences? Most, if not all, successful people have taken significant risks in their lives. Today might be the day to step out of your comfort zone.
  • Do you know you need to make a significant change in your life or lifestyle, but have delayed it? Do you miss more of your kids’ games, concerts, or events than you make? Are you overdue call your parents, friends, or others?

What is your fantasy today? If you can imagine it, you can accomplish it… if you are willing to work for it and take the risk. Go for it! Today could be your best day yet… or at least the best day yet to try something new.

The art, and beauty, of compromise

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Savannah, Georgia, is a beautiful place! It is a city full of history that has been preserved and protected for us to enjoy today. In 1733, the newly inhabited city adopted a city plan championed by General James Oglethorpe that utilized city squares (e.g., green spaces for enjoyment and community) as the centerpieces for its neighborhoods. As the city grew and expanded, twenty-four squares were developed. Twenty-one of these still exist today and hold much of the beauty for which Savannah is known.

According to a tour guide driving a trolley around the historic district on our recent trip*, when automobiles came into prominence in the city, many citizens wanted to demolish the squares because they were outmoded in that new modern age. It simply took too long to drive around each of these squares as drivers navigated around the city. However, city planners and the advocates for eliminating the squares compromised. Instead of cutting roads through these squares effectively destroying them, they agreed to round the corners of many of them which allowed the squares to be retained, yet better accommodate the need for speed. As a result, we still can enjoy the squares today. And, it is doubtful that Savannah would have retained its place as a city of beauty without these tree-lined squares.

Compromise… so easy to say, but so hard to do! We lose so many opportunities to make the world a better place when we insist on “getting our way” with things. Sometimes, you wonder if there will ever be another piece of legislation through Congress that is bipartisan. We have all seen families split, friendships lost, deals forfeited, and opportunities wasted because of a lack of compromise.

So, what are the key components in the “art of compromise”? I think of 5 key things that, when done, will increase the odds significantly of a meaningful compromise:

  1. Willingness to listen to the other viewpoint – As a beginning point, it is important for both sides to understand the other. To do so, each side must pause long enough to listen to the other. Dr. Stephen R. Covey once said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Once you understand what the other side wants and why, you can better articulate your views and why they are important to you. Plus, seeking to understand shows integrity and builds trust needed to reach a compromise.
  2. Clear communication of “must haves” (and why) – Compromise is often lost because each side “wants it all.” In reality, sides typically have only a few things or elements that are “not negotiable.” Taking the time to clearly communicate those imperatives and why they are important can often open the door to ways to reach a favorable middle ground.
  3. Recognition of the benefits of compromise (or the risks of failure) – During the course of negotiations, it is often important for you to envision both what success and failure look like. In other words, what is the value of getting at least some of what you want versus nothing? Is partial success better than complete failure? Knowing that you may have to “give more than you desire” to get at least some of the benefits may motivate you to a higher probability of success.
  4. Strength to give up something to get something – Compromise takes strength! Anyone can dig in and demand that they get everything they want… or else, no deal! But, a successful compromise often involves setting aside your pride and giving more than you hoped, to get more than you expect… or deserve. Be realistic about what you must have and be open to the rest.
  5. Openness to ask, “How can we work together to make something good happen?” – This question is often unasked for negotiations that fail. Taking the time to simply open the discussion to anything reasonable that can get the parties closer. Holding unreasonable or overly firm convictions without any willingness to work together for the common good will almost certainly doom the deal.

In old Savannah, a failure to compromise on the city squares would certainly have resulted in a loss to all of us. We can thank those individuals that “gave some to get some” for saving those beautiful squares. What about you? Are you willing to move off your own immovable position for the greater good? Is there some opportunity in your life right now that can benefit from the 5 key elements of compromise listed above?

Thanks for what you do to make this world a better place. After all, today could be our best day yet! Don’t miss it!

 

*Hopefully, this is a true story.  I couldn’t verify it, but, in any event, it is a good story that ties into the theme of compromise.

The Lamb that changed my life

lamb

We cover quite a broad set of topics on The Porch… from leadership to encouragement to self-improvement to GXP compliance and everything else in-between. However, today is the day Christians world-wide call Good Friday. So, I thought we would spend a few words talking about that day around two thousand years ago when the Lamb of God died on an old wooden cross.

You see, from the beginning of time, God has required a blood sacrifice to atone or make up for our sin (our separation from God). We have all sinned and we fall short of God’s requirements for our lives, so a sacrifice for our sin is required to restore us to God’s favor. In the old days, the required sacrifice to make up for our sin was a perfect, young, helpless lamb. The lamb became a symbol for the ultimate sacrifice… the Lamb of God dying on a cross in our place.  Yes, He died in our place… He was perfect (without sin), but He willingly paid our debt on the cross. And, on the third day – the first Easter – Jesus was raised from the dead and now lives. His death, burial, and resurrection paid our debt “in full.” There is nothing else required that we can do to be restored to God except to believe in Jesus and to accept the gift He gave us.

The Lamb of God made all the difference to me… He changed my life! He gave me hope for the future and made my life now meaningful and complete. Knowing and accepting the amazing gift that Jesus gave guarantees me eternal life in heaven with Him. Nothing I could have done in my own strength would have made this possible. Only my belief (or faith) in Him is acceptable. It is just that easy… believe in Him.

The Lamb of God will also be in our eternal future. In the Bible book of Revelation (chapters 4 and 5), we are promised that the creatures of heaven will be singing:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come… Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.” – Revelation 4:8 and 5:12 (click on link below)

The same Lamb, represented in ancient times by the sacrificial lamb… the One that died in our place on that first Good Friday… the One proclaimed in heaven as worthy… made all the difference to me and my life. On this Good Friday and Easter celebration weekend, give Him the chance to do the same for you!

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ApkXjRY0mQ

Characters of our past

WW1 medal

I was thinking of the people of my past the other day and how they may have helped shaped my views of the world. My fraternal grandfather died in 1975 when I was only twenty years old. I only remember him as an elderly man that liked to hunt, fish, and garden. His most active years occurred before I was old enough to know him well. However, there are several things I do know about him:

  • He and my grandmother raised ten children. Each became a productive member of society and valued hard work, care for each other, and love of family.
  • He served in World War I in the Army. I have a medal he was awarded (see photo) for his service in the Battle of Argonne Forest in France in 1918. This was the largest and bloodiest battle in the war and cost over 26,000 US lives with another nearly 100,000 wounded. My grandfather also suffered nerve gas exposure during the war.
  • He loved to gamble. I am told my grandfather was a terrific poker player and once, playing with funds fronted by an “investor”, won a farm and a pool hall in card games. I vaguely recall going to the pool hall as a youngster and getting a chocolate cola from his vending machine.
  • My grandfather was “old school” about helping around the house. After all, he farmed and ran a pool hall. However, family members talk about him helping my grandmother with household chores for ten days after each child was born. After day 10, he was back outside and my grandmother resumed running the house.
  • My grandfather (and grandmother) were generous people. After one of my aunts died of cancer, they took in her only son and raised him as one of their own. And, his brother-in-law (my grandmother’s brother) lived with them in their home for years because he had no other place to live.

Why do I recount this today? I can see how these few facts about my grandfather influenced my father who, in turn, had a significant impact on me. My father also served his country in the military and passed down a keen sense of country and patriotism to me. My father was competitive in games, sports, and life and he passed that down to me, as well. I gained my love for family and appreciation for proper work/life balance from them. I also love to hunt, fish, and enjoy the out of doors. I can clearly see how influential my grandfather was in my own life despite the sparse interaction we really had over the twenty years of my life until he died.

Whether we know it or not… whether we want it or not… our lives are impacting those around us. Nothing we say has as much impact as what we do and how we live to those around us. In fact, our actions effectively drown out almost all our words. Another example…

My wife and her cousin were recently talking about their common grandparents. I was fascinated to hear them both talk about how loving they were and how inclusive they were when children were brought into the family by marriage. They talked about how their grandparents accepted these children as though they were their very own from the first time they ever saw them. This love and acceptance was deeply imprinted on these cousins… actions, not words, made the difference.

Today might be a good day to consider how your life is affecting those around you. Are you leaving an impression that will be spoken of in 50 years as loving, caring, and inclusive? Or, will your actions be remembered as something else? Are you modeling character, integrity, and virtue to those around you, or is it something else? Take a few minutes today to pause and reflect on your own “characters from the past” and what impact they had on your life. It is my hope that those that come after us will fondly remember the positive impact we each had on their lives.

Today, I remember and thank my grandfather (Elza Henson) for his life of service and influence and what it still means to me after all these years.

Advice from Will Rogers for today

 

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Will Rogers was a famous American philosopher, actor, humorist and author known for his simple, common sense approach to life. Today, we look at a few of his quotes and how they relate to where we are individually on our journey.

  • To be successful, you cannot sit still and rest on your laurels

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

Rogers correctly observed that we cannot stay where we are and expect to get ahead. We must continue working to enhance our skills, continue taking measured risks, and continue being competitive to stay ahead. This not only applies to our work life, but personal lives, as well. If we become complacent, we tend to become lazy and lose our edge no matter what activity we tackle.

  • We learn more when we listen than we we talk

“Never miss a good chance to shut up.” – Will Rogers

Rogers was an astute observer of people. Many of his more famous quotes deal with the ways that people act in order to impress others. He found that many failed to stop talking long enough to actually hear what others are saying, thus, they miss the opportunity to learn. Too many people are more interested in what they will say next than what the other party is saying. We should take his advice and “shut up” long enough to allow others to add value.

  • Take the time to stop and smell the roses – we may never walk this way again

“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” – Will Rogers

It is hard to believe that Will Rogers died in 1935, yet could understand how we live our lives in such a rush today! Life passes quickly enough without our efforts to push it even faster. And, in the process, we fail to enjoy the life we have before us today. I recently learned of a former colleague that died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 53. This individual was highly dedicated and worked at work very hard. In fact, he had stretches of time that entailed traveling weeks at a time. This demonstrates to me again that life is fragile and we must never put work (or any other activity) ahead of those more important things in our lives… people! We should not allow work to push aside our friends, our families, or others that we love or hold dear. Don’t rush through life to the point of losing that which is of utmost importance! Rogers also said:

“Lord, let me live until I die.” – Will Rogers

Are you really living?

  • Do something you believe in

“If you want to be successful in life, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.” – Will Rogers

Most people that aren’t successful or happy in life do not love or believe in what they are doing. Most unsuccessful or unhappy people either are on auto-pilot or they go from one thing to another hoping to find that thing they can love and believe in. Finding that one thing often takes intentionality. In other words, you may have to make a special effort to find “that one thing.” Or, you may have to stop doing what you can’t believe in to dedicate yourself fully to that pursuit of “that one thing.” Is Will Rogers nudging you today to look at your own lack of success or happiness differently?

Is today the day you begin doing something you’ve never done before? Think about what Will Rogers might be saying to you and how your life might be different, starting now.

Have a great day!

 

The Porch discusses… self-improvement

sailboat

Who doesn’t want to improve some aspect of their life? Who doesn’t want to be better at something? Who doesn’t need to be better at relationships, better at their job, or better performing some task? Or, who wouldn’t want a better, more healthy approach to life and its challenges? Today, you’ll find a compilation of 58 prior posts dealing with the topic of self-improvement. Hopefully, somewhere here you can find something that applies to your situation today. Or, feel free to pass this along to someone else you know that might benefit from some of these topics.

Have a terrific day!  Remember, this could be your very best day yet… there is still that chance!

 

  • Identifying and dealing with our hidden biases

“No amount of darkness can overcome any amount of light”

light

It is said that the human eye can see the light of a single candle on a dark night about 30 miles away. Amazing! This again confirms the wonderful miracle we call your eyes. But, it also helps demonstrate my view that any bit of light can overcome any amount of light.

Remember when you were a child on one of those nights when you feared the dark. The tiniest sliver of light from an adjoining room was enough to fend off the gobblins that might have been watching or stalking you. I remember suffering through a couple long nights in my adult life when sleep was elusive. Seeing that first hint of daylight provided a sense of relief and calm that made the world right again.

Let’s admit it… there is much darkness in our world today. We don’t have to recount it here. But, the presence of even a small amount of light can make a difference. Family, friends, or colleagues struggling through difficult times need the pinpoint of light we can provide. We may hold the light today that chases away the fear and anxiety facing them today.

The message today is simple… be the light that someone else needs. Be the kind word that is unexpected, yet needed. A simple act may be enough to light the way for someone in the darkness. Use today as an opportunity to light the way and provide a hand of help to someone in your pathway.