Archive for July, 2011


“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The following has been around the internet many times, but I think it’s worth reading again until we fully comprehend the implications of its messages.

“If you could fit the entire population of the world into a village consisting of 100 people, maintaining the proportions of the people living on earth, that village would consist of:

57 Asians

21 Europeans

14 Americans

8 Africans

There would be:

52 women

30 Caucasians

30 Christians and 70 non-Christians

89 hetrosexuals and 11 homosexuals

6 people would possess 59% of the wealth and they would all come from the USA.

80 would live in poverty

70 would be illiterate

50 would suffer from hunger and malnutrition

1 would be dying

1 would be being born

1 would own a computer

1 (yes, only one) would have a university degree

If we looked at the world in this way, the need for acceptance and understanding would be obvious.

If you woke up this morning in good health, you have more luck than one million people, who won’t live through the week.

If you have never experienced the horror of war, the solitude of prison, were not close to death from starvation, then you are better off than 500 million people.

If you can go to your place of worship without fear that someone will assault or kill you, then you are luckier than 3 billion (that’s right) people.

If you have a full fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are wealthier than 75% of the world’s population.

If you currently have money in the bank, in your wallet and a few coins in your purse, you are one of 8 of the most privileged few amongst the 100 people of the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married, you are a rare individual.

If you are reading this message, you are extremely lucky, because you are not one of the 2 billion people who can’t.”


Let’s give thanks because we lead a life of extraordinary privilege, and . . .

Let’s give back because we recognize we have a moral responsibility to do so.

Thanks to my friend Chuck Woodruff for sharing the quote.

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The Fable of the Porcupine

“It is only imperfection that complains of what is imperfect. The more perfect we are the more gentle and quiet we become towards the defects of others.”
Joseph Addison


Fable of the Porcupine

It was the coldest winter ever – many animals died because of the cold.

The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together.

This way they covered and protected themselves;

But the quills of each one wounded their closest companions even though they gave off heat to each other.

After awhile they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen.

So they had to make a choice:

Either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.

Wisely, they decided to go back to being together.

This way they learned to live with the little wounds that were caused by the close relationship with their companion,

But most important, was the heat that came from the others.

This way they were able to survive.

Moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but the best is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities.


Thank you to my daughter Gabi for sharing this fable.

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Don’t Worry About the Wind

“Don’t worry about the wind. Adjust the sails.”

Ted Turner

Certain Universal Laws are inviolable and when we ignore those laws, lives and businesses don’t work. With a computer for example, when you put garbage in – you get garbage out. Personally, if you continuously break your word, you eventually ruin trust in relationships. Professionally, if you’re out of integrity, it eventually affects your bottom line and so on. Inevitably, the Laws of Life catch up with you. When you understand this, it becomes very clear how we created our current job crisis and economic downward spiral.

We were riding high and then we weren’t because we didn’t follow the Universal Laws of Life. We spent more than we had, went unconscious, were irresponsible and unaccountable, ignored the warning signs, got greedy, lazy and didn’t prepare. BAM! Everything changed!

But it isn’t the change that has hurt us, it is being unprepared for it. It is critical that we realize that that constant change is a part of life itself. Any living organism is always in the process of life and living or decay and dying.  It is always changing.  It is never static. However, when there is a crisis like the one we are in, (which is inevitable if we continuously ignore universal laws) those who will survive will be those who respect these laws and correspondingly respond. Those who will thrive are those who had prepared for the changes, or who are at least ready for more changes, embrace the changes, thrive on the changes and in fact lead the changes. (Direct the traffic in the direction it is going!).  Choose what has been chosen for you. Constant change is here to stay. Get it.

“I am convinced that if the rate of change inside an organization is less than the rate of change outside, the end is in sight.”

Jack Welch, Former CEO of GE

However, we must change the way we change, and we must realize that there is no way to get to renewal through any corridor but chaos. Don’t resist chaos.

“Chaos breeds life; order creates habit.”

Henry Adams

Embrace it and move with it, like the turbulent waters of the river. Go with the flow. Don’t fight the current. It is how it is and the faster an organization accepts this and takes appropriate action the more successful they will be. For example, GRAVITY. We don’t get up in the morning each day and say, “Oh, damn! Gravity. I have to deal with another day of gravity.” Of course we don’t say that for it would be foolish. Instead, we accept what has already been chosen for us and we adjust our lives accordingly. Gravity isn’t good or bad (and neither is the economy).  It’s just “what is”. How we respond to it and deal with it is up to us, and it is in this space that the champions separate themselves from the others.

In an earthquake, the most dangerous place to be is in a tall building that is rigid. Yet one of the safest places is a tall building that has been stressed for earthquakes. In other words, one that has a deep foundation that is flexible. So too over the coming years, organizations that remain rigid will crumble and fall, while those that succeed in adding flexibility and creativity to their cultures will thrive. In times of storm, Nature teaches us that the shallowness of the root structure is revealed.

Nature is our most trusted guide for it has survived extraordinary storms and violent changes.  The metamorphosis of the caterpillar is a great example:

“Caterpillar to Butterfly: “How do you become a butterfly?”

Butterfly: “You have to be willing to die.”

Caterpillar: “Die?”

Butterfly: “Well, it feels like you’re dying.  But it really turns out to be a transformation to something better.”

What stops us is FEAR.

“It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear…It’s like being in between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.”

Marilyn Ferguson

But to get to where we want to go, we must face our fears and let go of where we are. Picking up only one foot makes us go in circles. We must pick up both feet and let go of what we have known in order to discover what can be. It will be uncomfortable, disruptive and scary, but we must give up the way it is to have it be the way we want it to be. The rewards go to those who are willing to give up the past, embrace the fear and chaos, move through it and get busy designing the kind of future they want.

Ultimately, the choice is ours. The situation itself is not the problem. Don’t worry about the wind. It is inevitable and it’s something over which you have no control.  It is what it is. Period.

The only important question is: How do we choose to respond?  Perhaps we had best focus on what we can control.  It’s time to adjust the sails.

“Martha is a brilliant change management coach. She is unique. Singlehandedly, she did more for our company than all the big name training companies combined.”

Ken – Sr. Executive VP of a 6 billion dollar company

If you want an effective culture within your company, and a change that works, contact Martha Borst today:



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Happy Independence Day

We pay a big price for freedom and sometimes it is a very messy process, but we must always remember what we stand for:

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for ALL

Please watch this video. A special tribute to America:


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What is an American?

“You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American. So I just thought I would write to let them know what an American is, so they would know when they found one.

An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan. An American may also be a Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, or one of the many other tribes known as Native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim.  In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them choose.

An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American is from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each man and woman to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need. When Afghanistan was overrun by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country. As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan. The best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best athletes.

Americans welcome the best, but they also welcome the least. The national symbol of America welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed.

These in fact are the people who built America. Some of them were working in the Twin Towers in the morning of September 11, earning a better life for their families.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

So look around you. You may find more Americans in your land than you thought were there. One day they will rise up and overthrow the old, ignorant, tired tyrants that trouble too many lands. Then those lands, too, will join the community of free and prosperous nations.

And America will welcome them.”


Peter Ferrara, Associate Professor of Law

George Mason University of Law

September 25, 2001



The above article was written shortly after the attack on the Twin Towers.  Patriotism ran high.  As a people, we gathered together prepared to defend our great country and in spite of our differences, we were one.  Since then, extreme views have superseded thoughtful actions.  People have taken sides and we have fast become became a divided country.  We have turned our disdain for our enemy upon ourselves.  We bash the political, economic and social views and actions of others, fight win/lose battles in our government, communities and even angrily argue within our own families.

There are several reasons for this, but what has disturbed me the most over these past 10 years is the self-righteousness of one person to call another “un-American” simply because they do not espouse their same views.  In a land where all people are considered equal, where freedom of thought is held as our most precious commodity and where men and women have given their lives for our right to speak openly, I ask us all on this July 4th, Independence Day, to step back and take a break.

Disagree all you wish with the views of another, and as an American you absolutely have the right to call someone “un-American”, but I ask you to stop and think about the implications of such a statement.  If expressing differing views is “un-American”, and if someone’s opposing political preferences, direction or policies are “un-American, then just exactly what is an American?  Someone who thinks exactly like you or me?  If so, then…

God Help America!

Thank you to my friend Jo Smithson for sharing this quote with us.


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