Archive for June, 2011

“He has delusions of adequacy.”

Walter Kerr

…or so it said in the performance review his boss just handed him.  Adequate?

But in this rapidly changing economy even being adequate isn’t going to hack it any longer.  With the job market being the way it is, competition has increased and in today’s world, being just an “OK” player isn’t going to keep you employed.  Companies are now looking for those people who are willing to go the extra mile and are committed to do whatever it takes to forward the organization.

This means that not only do you need to be attentive to learning new skills and competencies, but those “soft” skills need to be polished, too.

  • Are you flexibly changing with the rapidly changing demands within the company?
  • Are you going with the flow or bucking the system?
  • Are you collaborating and effectively communicating or are you creating problems with fellow workers?
  • Are you looking for solutions to problems or are you the problem?
  • Can you be counted on to do what you say you will?
  • Are you a cheerleader, encouraging others or a complainer who is always finding fault?
  • Do you take full responsibility for the success of your organization, recognizing that the role you play either adds/detracts from the bottom line results?

These are important questions to ponder as we move through these difficult times.

But the poor guy above, wasn’t even adequate.  He had delusions of being adequate!!  He was so unaware of how he was showing up that he had no idea that he was as far behind the eight ball as he was.  Don’t let that happen to you.

  • Every day, consciously  assess your spirit: your behaviors, attitudes, actions, reactions and results.
  • Check in to see how well you measure up to the Eight Principles in my book, Your Survival Strategies Are Killing You!
  • Don’t’ wait for your performance review.  Proactively ask for feedback from your boss. Ask for the three areas where you could improve and share your commitment to do so.  In your personal life, ask your family members or those closest to you.
  • Also be prepared to tell your boss about how you have been contributing (if you don’t, your accomplishments may go unnoticed.)

There are many ways to rise above adequate. You are an extraordinary human being with a lot to offer.  Now’s the time.  Don’t sell yourself short.  GO FOR IT!  Dare to exceed expectations and shine.

The spirit is the true self. The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure.


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Happy Father’s Day

“Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later… that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.” 

Thomas Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities



“This is an email that was sent out by my friend Gene Singletary a few days ago, to observe the first Father’s Day since the death of his dad, a genuinely great guy. I don’t mean to bring anybody down, and I hope everybody has a wonderful Father’s Day. But I think this will have special meaning for those of us who have lost our dads, and miss them.



This coming Father’s Day is going to be tough. This past February our dad died at the age of 92 and this will be our first Father’s Day without him.

 As most of you know, we have a big family of six children, and along with all the wives, husbands, grandchildren, assorted girlfriends and boyfriends, we would use almost any holiday as a reason to get together and cook, fish, play tennis, drink a beer or two, and generally have a great time at Lake Singletary. Father’s Day was no exception.

Dad was never much for drawing attention to himself, preferring to remain in the background and allow our mom with her gregarious personality to be the center of attention. But on Father’s Day he would acquiesce and allow us to honor him.

Last year, as his health began to fail, basically due to old age and the complications that come with it, he was in and out of the hospital quite often. He hated going in, but he was not a quitter. In his youth he was a Golden Gloves boxing champion and his DNA was telling him “when your back is against the ropes, you feint left, feint right, and punch your way out”.

With the exception of the hospital food, he never complained, and he was the darling of all the female nurses and doctors. He would flirt with them shamelessly at every opportunity. “Sure thing doll”, “Anything you want sweetheart”, would be his usual response when told he was due for another probing, sticking or otherwise humiliating injustice they would want to administer. 

 One evening last January, during one of his hospitals stays, with his family members around him; he was drifting in and out of lucidity and generally becoming agitated. This had happened before and in this state of mind his usually mild-mannered personality would change and he would become aggressive. The doctors blamed it on the potent drugs he was taking and said there was really nothing they could do other than just wait it out.

While in this delusional state, dad’s main focus was to escape from the hospital. The ex-WW ll First Sergeant was in charge now, along with all the colorful language that accompanies that role.  He would start trying to pull out all the IV’s and tubes, kicking off the blankets, demanding that his street clothes be brought to him, growing more and more frustrated and cantankerous. 

Although he normally didn’t have much strength left, when he was in this mode he found strength that was surprising.  The hospital rules, and for that matter the family, would not allow for any type of permanent restraints, so we would all take turns holding him down in the bed. All the while he would be insisting that he was getting up, getting dressed and driving home. No amount of reasoning or cajoling would calm him; we just had to hold him down until it passed.

When I arrived on this particular evening, he was really wound up and causing quite a commotion, yelling obscenities at everyone.  I approached the bed and greeted him and he acknowledged me by shouting, “I want to get the hell out of here and if you don’t help me I am going to kick your ass”. Now you can be sure that there was a time when he could have done this with very little effort, and this threat would have sent my survival instincts into overdrive. You can also be sure there were several times in my early teens, usually following a really stupid, smart-ass remark, such as; “WHY CAN’T I TAKE THE FAMILY CAR, DRIVE TO TAMPA WITH MY TEN CLOSEST FRIENDS, FOR THE FINAL EVER ROLLING STONES CONCERT, ON A WEEK NIGHT, USING MY NEW LEARNERS PERMIT”? , the boxing gloves would come out and I would quickly find myself dazed and staring up from the floor trying my best to respond to the question, “Now what was that you said, I didn’t quite hear you”? 

 But this night I knew the odds were in my favor so I thought I would try another approach as opposed to trying to restrain him.  I said, “You think you can still kick my ass”?  He answered loud and clear, “I know I can kick your ass”.  I taunted, “Go ahead, take your best shot”.

I leaned in close to him and with the quickness of Rocky Marciano; he swung his arm around my neck and put me in a headlock, pulling me down to the bed on top of him. I can’t explain why but at the time this struck me as funny and with the nurses yelling at him to let me go, I started giggling uncontrollably, while asking him “Is that all you’ve got”? Big mistake, this only steeled his resolve to finish me off.

With my free hand I signaled the nurses that I was okay and to back off for the moment. Even though dad’s grip was firm, I wasn’t in any discomfort. Dad on the other hand was convinced that his prey was weakening and ready to surrender. As he continued to squeeze, he was yelling into my ear, “Have you had enough now”? “Are you going to take me home”? In his hallucinatory state, I had become his opponent. I was the reason he couldn’t leave the hospital. I was challenging him in the ring and I had him on the ropes and by God he was going to box his way out.

After a few minutes I felt his hold on me begin to loosen, he stopped cussing and began to breathe more relaxed. The gentle dad was returning once again and with this was the realization that he had just spent the last 5 minutes trying to rip his eldest son’s head off.  At this point his death grip slowly turned into a warm and tender hug and in a soft voice he spoke the words that in our early years together would not have been possible for the tough Army Sergeant. He said “I love you”. We both teared up a little and it was over. I knew he was grateful that I had helped him release his passing demons.   For me it was the longest and best hug ever.

Dad held on for another month, and then one day, while at home with his family by his side, he went out on his terms,………….feint left, feint right, stay off the ropes.
We miss you dad, Happy Father’s Day.

The story above was brought to my attention by Bob Morley and sent out by the Miami Herald. It was written by the famed columnist, Dave Barry and was something just too good for anyone to miss.

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“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.  Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.  Walk beside me and be my friend.”

Albert Camus



We each have or own path to follow in life; a path that is there to offer us the lessons we are here to learn.  As my friend, I ask you to trust that I am traveling my path in the best way I know how.  I ask that you allow me to learn at my own pace.  I know it isn’t as fast as you would like to see sometimes, and I know we don’t always agree on what the lesson is, but this is my path and I must travel it alone.


I know there are times when you can see big potholes in front of me and that I often trip in them and that frustrates you because they were so obvious!  You told me about them and I appeared not to listen and I’m sure it must be disappointing to see something so clearly when I am so blind.  Actually, it wasn’t that I wasn’t listening, I just simply didn’t hear you.  Probably because that was a lesson I needed to learn for myself, by myself.


In order to grow and learn I must make my own choices and learn from them. They will not always be your choices, but you may not have the same lessons to learn as I.  This will require great patience from you (one of your lesson, perhaps?) and most of all it will require trust.  Trust that I am capable of handling whatever comes my way, trust that I am on my path and trust that I will make the decision I need to (whatever that may be) to learn and grow and trust that sometimes I really do know what I am doing even though it’s not your way.


Also, please do not walk behind me expecting me to lead you.  You are on your path and you, too, must make your own decisions.  I do not know what is best for you.  Only you can make those choices.  All I can do is walk beside you and share what I see before me and share my experience of your choices.  That is all.  The rest is up to you.  You may hear me.  You may not.  It’s not important.  What I get to do as your friend is trust that you are doing the very best you know how and that you, too, are surfacing the lessons you need to learn and grow.  You must make your own choices, handle your own life and reap the rewards and consequences as do I.


I am your friend.  We are each on our own path.  As true friends we need to walk beside each other through life.  If I fall into a hole, please let me find my own way out.  Don’t leave me.  Don’t tell me “I told you so.”  Just be there.  Let me know that you believe in me and that you trust I will find my way out.  That trust will do more for me than any advice you could ever give me.  If, however, I ask for your help, then please give me your hand and I will do my very best to not only listen to you but to hear.  And I promise to do the same for you.



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Are You Listening?

“The first duty of love is to listen.”

Paul Tillich


Right now.


Do absolutely nothing but listen for one minute.

What are all the sounds in the background that you’ve been filtering out of your awareness? What have you completely missed because you weren’t listening?

How often do we miss what someone is trying to say because we aren’t truly listening? Instead, we rehearse what we’re going to say when they’re finished or while they are talking we’re critiquing what they are saying, or we’re only half listening and miss the meaning of their message. Then we wonder why we can’t communicate and end up feeling frustrated.

I wonder how much of our lives is affected by keeping busy and “doing” stuff and not listening and truly hearing what is going on around us?

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear and not bothering. “

Winnie the Pooh

To listen – really listen – means we must be present. We must bring all of our consciousness to the forefront of wherever we are and to whatever we are doing. It is a discipline but when one practices this, one can truly experience love and joy. This may sound strange to you, but do yourself a favor and do the following exercise. Take five minutes out of every day and . . .

Have a beautiful day listening to the sounds of nature around you, the birds chirping, a dog barking, insects buzzing, plants growing, wind blowing, the rain dripping. . .  Really hearing these sounds will generate a profound appreciation for the vast and complex universe that has existed for billions of years and you will be humbled and amazed.

Have a beautiful day listening to the sounds of human invention, the cars driving by, someone typing on a computer, the microwave bell, a door closing, the whirl of a fan, a jack hammer drilling, the telephone ringing . . .  Really hearing these sounds will generate a respect for the creativity and brilliance of the human mind and you will be inspired.

Have a beautiful day listening to the workings of the human brain being expressed in opinions, judgments, thoughts, assertions, questions, fears, curiosity, assertions, beliefs . . .  Really hearing these will stimulate your own thinking and open your mind to the rich and diverse world of thought that is continuously being expressed and your own perspective will be enriched.

Have a beautiful day listening to other people’s feelings – their pain, frustrations, joys, concerns, anxieties, helplessness, excitement, clarity, silliness, humor, confidence . . .  Really hearing them will bring a depth of human compassion and understanding into your world and it will create an acute awareness of the human condition that will touch your heart.

Each day, take some time to stop all the “doing” and simply listen and hear what you have been missing. Open your mind and your heart and allow yourself to receive the message. Let it fill your spirit with abundant gratitude and appreciation. Learn from it. Grow with it. And have a beautiful day . . .


“I listened, motionless and still; And, as I mounted up the hill, The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more”

William Wordsworth

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“Keep your thoughts positive,
because your thoughts become your words.

Keep your words positive,
because your words become your behaviors.

Keep your behaviors positive,
because your behaviors become your habits.

Keep your habits positive,
because your habits become your values.

Keep your values positive,
because your values become your destiny.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Whenever a client comes to me, I listen to what they have to say. But even more than that, I observe the results they have created. Why? Because I know that results don’t lie. Results are the ultimate teacher, so to speak, because they tell me everything I need to know about how a person thinks.

When most people have something they want to change in their lives, they always ask, “What do I need to do differently?” And most consultants will tell them. I believe this does a great disservice to the client because simply changing what you’re doing is working on the wrong thing. The real problem exists not just in the “doing” but in the framework of thinking that would have you take that action in the first place. The thoughts generate actions and actions produce results. It doesn’t make much sense to change the action when you don’t change the very thing that sourced your actions. It’s a bit like removing weeds from your garden by cutting them off at the ground. The roots are still there and the weeds will reappear.

So the next time you have an unwanted result in your life, first ask, “What belief would I have to be holding on to that would have me act the way I did to produce that result?”

For example:

RESULT: I have an accident in my car

ACTION: I was driving way over the speed limit

THINKING: I’m cool. I can handle driving fast

Results indicate that’s not true and if I continue to think I can handle driving fast, the chances are pretty good I will have another accident. Yes, I need to change my actions and drive the speed limit but if I don’t first change my belief, I will soon be tempted to once again put the pedal to the metal.

RESULT: My wife just got angry at me

ACTION: I came home late again

THINKING: What I’m working on is more important than keeping my word with my wife.

Is the action of coming home when you agree to important? Yes. To have your wife not get upset with you, you need to keep your word with her. However, if you don’t change your belief that your work is more important than your word, you will quickly fall back into the same pattern and the problem between you and your wife will likely escalate.

RESULT: I feel lonely because I have no friends

ACTION: I stay home and I’m afraid to go out

THINKING: I’m not good at meeting new people

To meet new people, do you need to take the action of facing your fears and going out? Yes. But if you go out believing you are no good at meeting people, you will likely not be very successful. This will only reinforce your belief that you aren’t good at it and will drive you to stay home. It’s a vicious circle. You may not be Ms. or Mr. slick and cool, but you have many qualities and need to think differently. Start believing that your quiet nature is one of your major strengths. It makes you an excellent listener and people always like to talk to a good listener! Pretty soon, you’ll be making lots of friends who appreciate you for your qualities.

Try this yourself.

  1. Write down a result you would like to change in your life.
  2. Write down the action that produced that result
  3. Write down the belief you must be holding on to that would have you act that way
  4. Ask yourself, “Does this belief work for me? Does it give me the results I am looking for and the experience I am looking for?”
  5. If it doesn’t then maybe it would be a good idea to shift your thinking.


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