Merry Christmas!

May you and your family have a truly blessed Christmas and a very Happy New Year! 

The MMM will take off the next two weeks for the holidays and return on Monday, January 7th of 2019.  How about those New Year resolutions?



Patience is a lost art.  Unfortunately I know, I have none.  We want to be satisfied immediately.  Results and successes have to be now.  Service must be on demand.  Next day free shipping is expected.  Test scores need to be online immediately.  Order on demand has to be available.  We have no patience as a society any more.  Maybe some of us do as individuals.  We should all try to be more patience.  Here are some reminders of the fact that great things take time!

  • It took 26 months to build the Eiffel Tower.
  • It took Da Vinci 4 years to paint the Mona Lisa.
  • It took Michelangelo 4 years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
  • It took Leo Tolstoy over 6 years to write War and Peace.
  • It took around 30 years to build the Great Pyramid.
  • It took over 40 years before Beethoven’s Fur Elise was performed.
  • It took Noah 100 years to build the ark.
This is a tough time of year on your patience.  Try to exercise more when looking for a parking spot or waiting in a checkout line.  Be patient my friends.


Your Trajectory?

What is the current trajectory of your life?  Where is your life headed?  If you stay on your current trajectory, where will you end up?  This is a critical question.  Often, we sit idly by and let life take us in certain directions without attempting to influence that direction.  We also do not always think about the long term direction of our current trajectory.  It is important that we look at where we are as well as where we are headed. 

What you do today has significant impact on your future.  We have the ability to influence the trajectory of our lives.  Certainly some aspects of life are outside of our control, but the parts we can control have the ability to take us in the wrong direction if we sit back allow that to happen.  Do not think that you have no influence on the trajectory of your life. You do.  Do not sit back and let life happen to you.  God has a plan for you and wants to see you pursue that plan.  To do so you likely need to be proactive in determining the course of your life.  Check your current trajectory and tweak it as needed…



What if the words you spoke appeared on your skin like tattoos, would you still be beautiful?

Wow.  Think about that.  I totally stole this from a social media post, but I did so because it really struck me.  What about the words I yell during a Longhorn football game?  Then there are words that run through my mind and out of my mouth when frustrated in traffic.  There are so many examples of words that I think and say that I would hate to have tattooed to my arms.  Words are powerful, but so easy to throw around.  We should think about this more, consider our choice of words before we open our mouths.  Next time you are about to embark on a cursing rant just envision all those lovely words tattooed on your skin!  Scary…


Consider your initial reaction…

It is easy to initially overreact, bite back, or even yell in certain circumstances.  I have done it.  We all have.  I suggest a little different approach.  Resist the urge to vent and overreact.  First consider what will be gained from your reaction.  Is there anything positive to come from it?   Will something be improved?  Anything gained?  Will the outcome or the next step change or become easier.  You feeling better is not a good enough answer.  We all need to vent.  But biting someone’s head off is not a good form of venting.  We should vent with close friends, confidants or mentors. 

Overreacting seldom has a positive benefit.  So why do it?   Save the energy.  Preserve the relationship.  Consider a more measured and appropriate response at a more appropriate time. 



Happy Thanksgiving week!  It is the time we designate each year to give thanks, to be grateful for all that we have.  Shouldn’t we be doing that all the time?  I had a conversation just last week with some friends about the things we take for granted, food and shelter, hot running water, a coat to wear when it cools down.  If you are reading this, you are likely blessed well beyond most people on this planet.  Be thankful for that!  Be thankful for that all year long!

These days there seems to be a lot written about gratitude, and the role that it plays in a positive outlook and happiness.  Expressing your thanks can really improve your overall sense of well-being.  Studies show that grateful people are more agreeable, more open, and less neurotic.  There are many ways to remind ourselves of our blessings and encourage gratitude.  I know people who maintain a gratitude journal.  Another friend recently reached a milestone birthday and created a list equal to his age of things he is thankful for.  Don’t take your blessings for granted, Willie Nelson doesn’t.

"When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around."
-       Willie Nelson

Be intentional about your gratitude.  You will feel better, I promise. 


Don’t wait…

"Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right.' Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along."     ~Napoleon Hill

Today’s MMM is a reminder to myself about the importance of simply getting started.  This is an area of weakness for me.  I want things to be just so.  I want to be totally prepared.  I want to feel like I have some control.  I want to be comfortable with a big step before I take it.  I will never get far if I continue to think like that.  Sometimes you just have to go for it.  You have to at least get started.  We cannot always wait until the stars are aligned perfectly in order to make change happen in our lives.  So I am reminding myself, and all of you, don’t wait.  The time may never seem perfectly right. The right tools will come along and you will be making progress. Just get started. 



The concept of being brave and courageous usually conjures up thoughts of physical strength and fearlessness in the face of danger.  It causes us to think of fighting for what is good and righteous, but it doesn’t have to be like a scene from The Gladiator.  The fight is often not a physical one.  Being brave and courageous may simply mean taking a stand for what is right.  It may mean being firm and resolute for what you believe.  It is odd, but this kind of bravery can be harder than physical courage.  It can be difficult to do the right thing given the pressures of society today.  However, the impact of doing so can be far reaching, even beyond the issue at hand.  As leaders it is critical that we have courage.  It breeds courage among our followers.  Consider this quote...
“Courage is contagious.  When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened”
-       Billy Graham
Have courage about what you believe in.  It will be contagious.


ASAP isn’t a commitment – it’s confusion

Ever made a request for something to be done only to hear, “I’ll get it done ASAP,” or “I’ll get back to you ASAP”?  This response just leads to uncertainty and confusion about what is real and when things will happen.  Truth be told, ASAP is a phrase that doesn’t come from anyone who is serious about getting things done.  It is a strategy for postponement of work, poor performance, or breaking commitments. It is often a chief cause of breakdowns in teams who count on each other to get things completed in a timely manner.  ASAP is the vernacular for the semi-committed.  It is for those who seem more comfortable living with unspecified promises than they are about giving the gift of clear commitment.
The phrase ASAP has no specifics or timelines attached to it and shows a lack of concern for others’ commitments and responsibilities.  It’s a form of ambiguity that, in the end, will require more work than being clear in the first place. How much more effective could we be if every commitment and conversation were specific? People appreciate it when we tell them what’s real.  They are able to stay accountable, share details of the commitment with others, and track progress along the way. The remedy for life productivity and stress reduction rests largely on what we can count on, and counting on ASAP just isn’t possible.
Say good-bye to ASAP, ASAP!


Consider your impact…

We all impact the lives of those around us.  It is inevitable, as is the way that people impact our lives each and every day.  The challenge is to impact people positively.  The greater challenge is to proactively impact people positively.  Never underestimate the impact you have on others just during normal daily encounters.  Try to consciously have a positive impact during those encounters.  We all have gifts.  We should strive to use those gifts in order to beneficially impact those around us.  Consider all of the uplifting ways you might be able to impact people during your day.
  • Encourage
  • Support
  • Console
  • Be an example
  • Share
  • Pray for
  • Advise
  • Teach
  • Listen
Consider your impact on those around you, and do so positively.  What will your impact be today?


Never Stop Learning

Do you think people really mean it when they say that they learn something new every day?  They should.  Too often we treat the learning process as something with a specific end.  We tend to say we "went to school" or "received an education".  That sounds like we think we are done learning!  In fact, we hardly begin learning about life until after we are finished with our formal education.  Perhaps we need to think of our education as an ongoing process not something that we have completed in the past.  We really can learn something new every day and we should. 

What will you learn today?


The Fine Line of Leadership

The challenge of being a leader is walking a fine line that requires incredible balance and sensitivity.  Great leadership qualities can’t be taken to extremes; they have to be balanced.  The challenge is to be…
  • strong, but not rude
  • kind, but not weak
  • bold, but not overbearing
  • humble, but not timid
  • confident , but not arrogant

Successful leaders are good at balancing these qualities.  How about you?



I enjoy a lot of the content found on Entrepreneur.com.  Generally, it provides quick and easy reads that contain useful and insightful information for business owners and entrepreneurs.  However, a recent article caught my attention under the heading of Productivity entitled “101 Time Management Tips to Boost Productivity Every Day”.  The title is somewhat of a mouthful, but 101 tips?  Seriously?  Some John Maxwell lists, like the 21 Laws, are borderline too long for me. 

I like lists; bullet points make sense to me.  You have frequently seen me use lists in the MMM.  But 101 tips goes way beyond being a digestible list.  I read it anyway!  There were a few valuable suggestions.  Many items really did not seem to belong there.  Several items were very similar or almost duplicated.  It felt like the author had to work hard to come up with 101 items. Anything needing 101 different items does not need to be in list format and certainly does not belong under the productivity subject heading.  I think I could have been more productive with my time by not reading that article. 



The MMM has on more than one occasion focused on the importance of integrity.  Reputations and relationships rise and fall based on integrity or the lack of it.  I have tried to live a life where integrity is not only important to me, but is also clearly visible to others.  I think it is one of the greatest keys to leadership, not to mention one of the finest qualities we can pass on to our children.

In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities:
integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don't have
the first, the other two will kill you.

--Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet sums it up nicely, but I would not limit it to people I hire.  I look for integrity in people that I develop relationships with in all aspects of my life.  So many great qualities are found where there is a solid base of integrity.



Business is better than it should be at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the parking garages and waiting rooms are packed.  I spent some time there last week for a routine cancer follow up1.  Simply being in that hospital, no matter the reason, offers a true sense of perspective.  It caused me to reconsider the magnitude of my own life problems.  Seriously ill people, who are fighting for their lives, come from around the world to be treated there.  Those of us in Houston or even Texas are blessed this facility is so accessible.  The people you see there run the gamut of stages of a cancer battle.  They are both young and old.  Some are newly diagnosed, others in remission.  Many are in the midst of rough treatments, some are just having a follow up, and others are holding the hands of their ill loved ones.  The common thread is cancer. 

When you think things are going really badly consider what others are dealing with.  We all deal with challenges, but a little dose of perspective, like the waiting room at M.D. Anderson, can shed a new light on the severity of our problems.  Even for those there as patients, the perspective gained might be one of community and not being alone.  Life is hard, we were never promised it would not be.  I have lost family and friends to cancer and have friends battling it now.  My wife and I have spent more time at M.D. Anderson with family, friends and loved ones, than anyone should have to.  The perspective gained by a few hours in a busy waiting room is powerful.  Perspective…

Be Blessed…

1 I am a 15 year Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor and I received a clean checkup report last week.  My wife and I have also both lost parents to cancer.  Please help our family raise funds for blood cancer research at The Blanton Bunch.



A friend recently shared this quote…

“I forgive people, but that does not mean I accept their behavior or trust them.  I forgive them for me, so I can let go and move on with my life.”

-       Unknown

It is important to forgive, but I think many of us are confused about what that means.  To forgive does not mean to forget.  It does not mean things will be like before.  Forgiving does not mean relationships return to the way they were.  It could mean these things, but not necessarily.  To forgive means to let go and move on.  The act of forgiving is more for us than our transgressors.  Give yourself the freedom to forgive. 


Happy Labor Day

It’s not just about BBQ and the start of football season…

Labor Day: What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.


Know Yourself

“Effective leaders have an acute sense of their own strengths and weaknesses.  They know who they are – and who they are not.  They don’t try to be all things to all people.” 
-       Gallup Management Journal

What a great statement about effective leadership.  It all begins with knowing one’s self.  That means truly, objectively, and critically knowing who you are.  It means knowing enough to know what you don’t know.  It means knowing who you are not, and never will be.  Leaders often feel some pressure to know all the answers, be everything to everybody.  Truly effective leaders know they cannot do that.  They have an understanding of their own weaknesses.  They do not pressure themselves to answer every issue.  That pressure leads to poor decisions and marginal leaders.  Be an effective leader, know yourself!



There is not enough kindness in the world if you ask me.  We are too quick to judge, too worried about ourselves, and always in a hurry.  A bit of kindness goes a long way and may actually make someone’s day.  My wife Fran, is one of the kindest people I know (way more than me).  She is always doing things for others.  It is a great attribute for her to have as a teacher.  Here is the saying that she reminds me of often and lives by daily…

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

We all have battles, big or small, personal or professional, emotional or physical.  That barista you think is slow is battling.  The driver of the car that just cut in front of you to turn is battling.  Your co-worker who just missed a deadline is battling.  Just remember that before you react, consider a little kindness. 


Life Plan

Do you have plans and goals?  Do you methodically plan out the direction of your life?  I have to say that I am not very good at this.  Too many of us just let life come at us.  We take what life brings us.  The problem with that is that you never know where you are going or where you might end up.  Setting priorities based on goals and objective gives us structure and direction.  It allows us to measure progress and impact the trajectory of our lives.  It is how we grow, change and improve.  We just have to learn to be flexible, knowing that plans will always changes.  What is that saying?  Man plans, God laughs!  God has given each of us a unique skill set and He wants us to use those gifts.  We just have to be open to the fact that our plans may not always match His!  Goals and plans are good proactive life tools, just be sure and be open to the influence of God in those plans.  I do not known Jim Rohn, but his quote below is on point for this topic.

“If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's, and guess what they might have planned for you? Not much.”
--Jim Rohn



There is no key to happiness.  The door is always open.

We live in a fast paced world, especially here in The United States.  To go along with that pace we tend to be a bit impatient.  We expect quick service, easy answers, and immediate solutions.  Happiness, we believe, should be constant and easy.  We look for a pill or a therapist to fix our woes.  We look for diets or lifestyles that will improve our health and state of mind.  We look for fads and trends to make us feel good about ourselves.   It seems to be all about finding the easy answer, the key to happiness.

There is no “key” to happiness.  There is no one thing that will make you happy and keep you that way.  Life is comprised of challenges and struggles.  I do not even believe that we were meant to be happy all the time, however we can be happier by choice.  We can be more positive by choice.  We can live a better life by choice.  It takes a little determination and hard work, not a quick fix.  Certain things can help us be happy, faith, family and health among those things, however those have challenges too.  Happiness is a process, a door to walk thru again and again every day, a choice to make.

Stop looking for a key to happiness and walk thru the door, by choice, each and every day! 



There are leaders and there are those who lead.  Leaders generally have titles, positions of authority or a formal role of leadership, but influence is not guaranteed simple due to a title or position.  Those who lead are different, they inspire us.  They are influencers. Those who lead strike a unique cord with people that encourages followers.  We follow them because we want to, not because we have to.  We follow them because of how they make us feel about where we are going and what we are accomplishing.  Those who lead motivate and encourage us.  Certainly, leaders with titles and positions can be those who lead, but it is not because of the title.  What kind of a leader are you?


ABCs of Life

I was getting ready for work one day last week and found myself gazing at an “ABC” list of life advice in our bedroom.  It is a list of great life suggestions we received from some wonderful friends.  The “D” jumped out at me, since I had done that the weekend before. The “G” had also caught my eye, as I have clearly done that!  In glancing at the rest of the list, there are several that I need to be more conscious of doing. What about you? They don’t all apply to everyone, but most of them do. Life is short, here are 24 things to do while you can…
Avoid Collagen, Bloom Late, Celebrate, Dance At Weddings, Eat More Chocolate, Fall In Love Again, Go Grey, Hold Hands, Inspire, Jettison Grudges, Kiss Like You Mean It, Laugh, Mend Fences, Nurture Friendships, Open Doors, Perspire With Aplomb, Quit Whining, Rekindle Romance, Spoil Babies, Teach Someone To Read, Upset Convention, Volunteer, Wear Red, eXpect Joy, Yield Gracefully, Zing


Outside the Box

“Thinking outside of the box” is an overused phrase, but what does it really mean?  Did you know that sticker burrs (yes like you find in a field of weeds) were the inspiration for the fastener we now know as Velcro?  Now that is outside of the box thinking!  It makes sense, but I sure would not have thought of it.  When we look at the familiar with fresh eyes we really open our minds to creativity.  I am not the most creative guy around, but I try and look at business problems with an open mind.  It is very easy to get caught in a rut, to live with blinders on.  We tend to only see things within the parameters we are accustomed.  But wild ideas are often really very creative solutions.  “Thinking outside the box” might be overused, but it is a necessary way of thinking.  It does not come naturally.  We have to consciously force ourselves to see with fresh eyes and think outside of the box.

How will you see things this week? 



Perspective can be powerful thing.  A little dose can make one's own problems or situation seem quite insignificant.  Perspective also serves as a reminder of just how little we really understand, and how much less we really control here on earth.  It can make a person see their own challenges in a totally different light.  Make no mistake, what we do in our daily jobs is important and so are our family responsibilities, but the next time you become frustrated by the challenges of your job, your boss your co-workers, or family and friends, consider a little perspective.  How does that frustration really rank in the big scheme of things?  Enjoy the quote below.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare


Who am I?

I am a week late in posting this MMM this year…  

Who am I?

I lost my dad way too early,
Who am I to doubt it was part of God’s plan?

His mother lived to age 98, why couldn’t he?
Who am I to question God’s timing?

He loved my mom and all of us so dearly,
Who am I to ask God why we don’t have him anymore?

He was married for 50 years, had nine grandchildren and a great grandchild,
Who am I to not thank God for the time we did have?

He had wood to carve, golf to play and trips to take,
Who am I to ask God why not?

He was kind, loved and respected,
Who am I to ask God why him?

For his disease there were no more options,
Who am I to ask God why no cure?

There were things I had not done or said,
Who am I to ask God for more time with him?

I never heard a bad word spoken towards him,
Who am I to ask God why not someone else?

He deserved so much more,
Who am I to question that God knows what he truly deserved?

I lost my dad far too soon,
Who am I to question God’s plan?

Barry D. Blanton
In loving memory of Don Blanton
January 6, 1935 – June 23, 2007


What are you known for?

Cities are known for things like food, culture, and architecture.  Celebrities and politicians may be famous for specific good deeds, or maybe more often certain indiscretions.  Even certain years in history are known for what happened during them.  What are you know for?

It is a question often discussed in real time about public figures, but for a lot of us it does not come up until someone leaves this earth.  We tend to discuss legacies only once someone passes away.  We are known for who we are NOW, and what we do while we are alive!  Our regular daily behavior leads us to have a certain reputation.  Our legacy is being built as we speak.  The good news is that it can be changed before we die!

How will you be remembered for “the dash” of your life?  What will you be known for during the years between your birth and death?  If you don’t like the answer, get to work on how to change it while you still can!