Thursday, June 30, 2011

Do It Anyway

People can be the worst, can’t they?  We do our best.  We try.  We reason.  We go out of our way, yet sometimes we get sand kicked into our eyes. 

Sometimes, we do a thing simply because it needs doing.  This is a fundamental principle of living.  Nothing happens until someone steps up and finishes the task.  

This poem based on something Mother Teresa wrote once is perfect for our thought today.

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful you will win false friends and true enemies.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for some underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
Give the world the best you’ve got and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

Go and live your life.
Dream your dreams.  Give them feet and wings.
Give a helping hand to someone in need
Read and study in your area of interest.

The world is waiting for someone just like you who will dare to make a difference.

Do it anyway!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hitting Home Runs

We love home run hitters.  They are in every profession, every enterprise in the world.  And they are in every home.

Home run hitters are heroes.  They are the stars.  Yet a pretty great baseball batting average is .300 – 3 hits out of 10 times at bat. 

Baseball great Babe Ruth was once asked what he thought about after he struck out.  "I think about hitting home runs," the Babe answered.  Babe was the home run king.  He was also the strikeout king. 

Yet he is known for his homeruns.  I like that. 

What Babe is focusing on in the above quote is this:  Sure, I struck out, but next time around, or in tomorrow night’s game I’m thinking a big home run is in order. 

Can we wrap our minds around this mindset?  It’s not that we are perfect.  We don’t win in every human interaction, and we don’t make every sale.  We don’t always discipline our kid’s right, and our key relationships sometimes have strife.  The key is our attitude toward “next time.” 

Next time I’ll say some more appropriate things.
Next time I’ll prepare more, listen more, and offer more benefits to my customer.
Next time I’ll do it better than ever before. 

And we can.  I can see myself doing any given task just a little bit better than the last time.  Can you? 

The secret – “If we can see it, we can achieve it.”  It’s the age old adage given by Earl Nightingale, Napoleon Hill, Og Mandino and a thousand other success gurus. 

Fix in your mind the end result you want and you increases your chances of actually seeing that fact come to pass. 

Babe Ruth struck out more times than he hit home runs, but Babe Ruth is Mr. Home Run King!

What can you see? 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

People Buy People First

Dale Carnegie talked about it.
     Napoleon Hill mentioned it.
          Earl Nightingale spoke of it frequently. 

Brian Tracy, Denis Waitley, and countless other success gurus have talked about, promoted, and preached this idea and it is still true.

People Buy People First.

Earl Nightingale called it “The First Four Minutes.”  We have anywhere from 30 seconds to four minutes to make a good first impression. 

I imagine that this is not the first time you’ve heard this thought.  And I can assure you that it will not be the last time you hear it.

Just this week, I was in a store when a young man walked in asking for employment. 

He was wearing baggy basketball-type shorts, black tennis shoes, and a pull-over tee-shirt that had seen better days.  As I sized this young man up, I quickly decided that he probably didn’t stand a ghost of a chance for a job with this particular retail store. 

Did this young man have marketable skills?  Was he teachable?

We will never know, and if he doesn’t learn some simple principles like “People Buy People First” then he will forever be looking at the sad end of an endless trail of job rejections. 

His dress spoke loud volumes long before he reached the area of the store where I was so that I could hear his request of the sales clerk. 

He didn’t understand that employers buy people first, and then they buy talent, experience, and a person to fill a job. 

And so do your customers.  They buy you and then they buy the product you represent.  But, they are buying you first, or not.

I’ve spoken with managers and owners of business establishments who hire men and women.  Here is what they say.

-Look your best.  Dress up rather than down.  That doesn’t always mean a suit and tie, but appropriate  
  slacks, shirt and shoes do make a huge statement. 
-Don’t bring your best bud with you to the interview.
-Do bring a pen to write with.

The number one things most hiring managers want to know is this, "Can you make a positive contribution to our enterprise?"

And they get their first impression largely from watching and listening to the person in front of them. 

People buy people first.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shay, Hero For a Day

(I wish I knew the source of this story.  If you know, please let me know.  Thanks)

What would you do?  Would you have made the same choice? 
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:
“'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection.

Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do.

Where is the natural order of things in my son?”

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. “I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled, comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.”

Then he told the following story:

“Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?'

“I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

“I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'

“Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

“In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

“In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

“In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again.

“Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

“At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

“Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

“However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

“The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

“The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

“As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

“The game would now be over.

“The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.

“Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

“Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates.

“Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first!  “Run to first!'

“Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.

“He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

“Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!'

“Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

“By the time Shay rounded towards third base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.

“He could have thrown the ball to the third baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

“Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

“All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay'

“Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third, Shay, run to third!'

“As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!'

“Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team

“'That day,” said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, “the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world.”

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten about the day he was a hero.  And he cherished coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

What a demonstration of kindness and grace. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Every Life Has a Story

Carolyn and I attended a memorial service today for the mother of a good friend.  The mortuary in which the service was held had this motto; “Every Life Has a Story.”

During the memorial service, Steve and his family shared different aspects of his mother’s life.  I kept thinking about this quote and reflecting on her story.  She lived a full and vibrant life all of her days on this earth.

Tell me your story.  I would love to sit down across from you and marvel at your story.  You have one.  You have good days, bad days, sad days, happy days.  You have funny moments, revelations, insights and experiences that I would listen to in wonder and awe.  Your story is speaking to people around you every minute of every day. 

What is your story?

Are you realizing your dreams from childhood now that you are older, or have you created new dreams?  Have you uncovered some new skills at this point in your life?  What story are you telling with the hopes and dreams you now hold?  Your story is the sum of your gifts, your interests, your code of ethics and your life experiences. 

-Are you thinking good thoughts?  Are they changing your life? 
-How is your God concept? 
-How is your relationship with those close to you?
-What are your ethics all about?
-Are you consistent in all areas of your life?
-Are the statements you make about your life true?
-Are you making good choices in life?
-Are you reading anything of value?
-Are you leaving good and lasting impressions on anyone?
-Are your footprints marking a clear path for someone else to follow?

Life is simply a matter of time invested, and those seconds and minutes turn into days and weeks and months.  And sooner rather than later, we see the end of our lives on the distant horizon and wonder at where we are compared to where we want to be.

All of this is adding to the story of our lives.

I am reminded of a Bible story.
“The master of the house called his servants together.  He was going on a long journey and he wanted to entrust some of his wealth to them. 

To one he gave five talents.  To another he gave two talents, and to the third he gave one talent, each according to his ability. 

And then he went on his journey.

Time passed.  When the master of the house returned he called his servants in for an accounting of what they had done. 

The one who had been given five talents reported that he had turned those five talents into another five talents, which he laid at his master’s feet.

The one who had been given two talents reported that he too had doubled his talents and he laid four talents before his master.

The one who had been given one talent hung back.  He didn’t want to give his accounting.
He said, “I know you worked hard for this money and I didn’t want to waste it, so I buried it in a safe place so that on your return I could give it back to you whole and complete. 

The master was not happy.  He said, “The least you could have done was invest it in the banks and let it draw interest.”  

The master wanted his servants to write some new chapters in the story of their lives.  He simply offered them opportunities.  Opportunities to add to the story of their lives.

We are writing our own story.  Every experience in our lives adds to this story.

Every life has a story. 

What a concept. 

I could tell you about all of my life’s accomplishments, but you wouldn’t be impressed.

Rather, I want to encourage you to discover or rediscover your dream, your passion, your life’s ambition, and complete your own story. 

I will share with you one part of my story yet to be fulfilled.  I dream that one day soon I will write the blog heard round the world. 

You read that right.  I want to write something that so resonant with people that they in turn will share this blog with relatives, friends and co-workers, who in turn will share it with their sphere until this yet unwritten blog goes around the world. 

Let me be quick to add this.  I don’t desire this for selfish reasons, but for the good of mankind.  My mission statement is this:  “Offering hope, encouragement and inspiration one word at a time.”  This is my desire, my passion and my focus. 

Now, that is a part of the story of my life.

What is your story?