10.03.2022

Life is a Team Sport


 

We are not meant to do life alone. People are not really capable of doing life alone. We need community. Humans need teamwork. The trials and tribulations of our lives are challenging. Each of us needs all the support, advice, hugs, and cheers we can get.

 

The business world of life is certainly not a solo sport. None of us individually possess all the skills required to produce results. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and we all work differently. The sport requires that we combine our different skill sets and working styles to accomplish common goals.

 

Don’t try to do life alone. There is no special prize for that! Take the time to recognize what you are good at, and what you need help with. Lean on your team! Life is a team sport!

 

*Some of this MMM material is taken from The Working Genius Podcast – Patrick Lencioni

9.26.2022

Recyclable/Non-recyclable

 

As a society, we are becoming more conscientious about recycling, as we should.  The coffee cup I had in my hand this morning had something printed in the side about how it was produced from a certain percentage of recycled material.  We should all be concerned about recycling.  The world is not an endless source of resources. 

 

One thing that you cannot recycle is time. We all get the same amount of it every day.  We can say we don't have enough time, but that will not get us any more than the standard 24!  Once time is wasted, it cannot be recycled.  It does not mean that we must doing something productive every waking moment.  It does mean that every waking moment is precious and irreplaceable. 

 

Don't worry about recycling time, just use it wisely. 

9.19.2022

Character vs. Reputation

 

It occurs to me that character and reputation may at times become confused, the words even used interchangeably.  It is probably obvious, but they really are quite different. 

 

Reputation – The beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something.

 

Character – The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

 

We live in a world that is very image oriented.  What people drive, where they work and what they wear can dictate their reputation.  We all know these things have little to do with one’s true character.  Great emphasis may be placed on how we outwardly appear in public, but that is not what really matters.  Our character, who we are on the inside, what we stand for, what we hold dear, are the things that really matter.  We should concern ourselves more with those things than what others see on the outside.  When we do that, a good reputation will follow.  A person’s reputation is not insignificant, but it may not be accurate.  Our goal should be to be a person of great character on the inside which will lead to a great reputation on the outside.

9.12.2022

9/11

 

Twenty-one years ago, yesterday, our country was changed forever.  Those old enough, will remember exactly where they were that morning.  The attack, now known simply by the date of its occurrence, was nothing like this country had ever seen before, and hopefully never will again.  The images were, and still are, horrifying and unforgettable.  We were unified as a country, and we rallied together in the subsequent days, weeks, and months.  Unfortunately, that unity has faded away, but that is a story for a different day. 

 

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City.  It is a fascinating collection of stories and memorabilia located at the base of the Twin Towers.  I found it to be incredibly well done, powerful, but somber and reverent.  My granddaughter, who was not even born at the time of the attacks, was riveted.  She came home with a true feel, and true feel for that tragedy that she will never get from a textbook.  I encourage you to visit there if you have the chance.

 

Don’t ever forget!

9.05.2022

Happy Labor Day

 

It is not just about football season starting…

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.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

8.29.2022

Leap of Faith

 

It has a little to do with procrastination but also with taking a leap of faith.  It applies to a lot of decisions in life.  You can never be 100% positive about anything.  There is always that small percentage that is a leap of faith.  If we wait until everything is "just right" we will never do anything.  We would never get married, buy houses, have children or change careers.  And, as it says you will gain better tools as you go along.  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

8.22.2022

Business Is Not All Business

 

It can’t be! People work in businesses and people can’t be all business all the time. We have issues in our lives, there is family, and of course there is drama.

It is important for leaders care about the people on their team. They need to know what is going on in their lives. Many leaders disagree with this. They believe that it is possible, and even preferable, to completely separate business from their team’s personal lives. I believe it is more nuanced than that. Leaders don’t have to be best friends with their team, but they do have to care. If a team member is facing a personal challenge, it will impact their work. Leaders need to understand that. Business is not all business, because we are human! Remember this….

“People don’t care what you know, until they know that you care”

-       John Maxwell

8.15.2022

It's all about attitude!

 

Ever wonder what makes a person or team give 100%? What if greater than 100% is achieved? Here is an interesting math fact that might shed some light on this.

 

If:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

is represented by:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

 

Then:  K N O W L E D G E

           11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

And:    H A R D W O R K

           8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

But,    A T T I T U D E

           1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

 

Hard work and knowledge will get you close, but attitude is what gets you to 100%!

8.08.2022

Fun and Recreation

 

When was the last time you did something really fun?  Enjoying life is key to making it through life.  It is important to laugh, relax and make time for recreation.  Here is a great quote...

 

"People who cannot find the time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness."

- John Wanamaker

 

It is always important to make some time for a little fun and recreation.

7.25.2022

Be a Waterer

 

ESPN.com headline last week…“Dusty Baker, manager of the Houston Astros, buys custom suits for American League All-Star coaching staff”.

He paid for a tailor to make a custom suit for each of the American League All-Star coaches. How awesome is that? Here is Dusty Baker’s wisdom behind his actions. “I was always raised in kind of the church of he who waters gets watered himself. If you’re generous to others, then you know, the Lord and people tend to be generous to you.”

We could probably all do a little more watering. I love the analogy. Be a waterer. I am not talking about your lawn.

“He who waters, gets watered himself.”

7.18.2022

What You Do Matters

 


 

Yes, it does! What you do matters. Is this referring to what you do for employment? Maybe, but I like to consider its’ application to all areas of my life. What I do matters…

-          How I treat others matters

-          How I react to situations matters

-          How I raise my kids matters

-          How I treat my employees matters

-          How I deliver to my clients matters

-          How I love, or don’t love, matters

-           

What you do does matter. Be intentional. Use your influence in a positive way.

You matter!

7.11.2022

Experiences


 

Two weeks ago, the MMM talked about how life experiences make us who we are. Another aspect of that concept is how we use those experiences to help others.

We all have a story. We all have experiences. Don’t waste your story. Someone needs to hear that story. They may benefit from hearing how you made it through. We have overcome challenges. We have significant accomplishments and lesson learning failures. We have conquered, learned, persevered and grown. Those experiences make up our story. Don’t waste the opportunity to share your story.

“One day my story will become some else’s survival guide”

-         Unknown

 

*Portions of today’s MMM come from Rick Torrison of Right Now Leadership, LLC

7.04.2022

Happy 4th of July!

 

Happy Birthday USA!  Have a great 4th of July holiday and may God bless America!



6.27.2022

Experiences

 

I completed my 40th year in the post-college workplace this month.  Spare me the “old” jokes.  As a good friend suggested, I prefer “seasoned”.  My first job in June 1982 was at  InterFirst Bank in Conroe, Texas. I thought I would spend my career in banking.  Little did I know… 

Your path of life experiences makes you who you are.  They may be good, bad, or indifferent, but you are the culmination of those life experiences.  Yes, we can influence the direction of our lives.  We can certainly change course, grow, and improve.  However, what we experience and learn along the way plays a huge part in who we become.  I never would have guessed that after 15 years in banking I would end up in the manufactured housing industry.  I also would not have thought I would become an entrepreneur after age 50.  Along the way I went through a divorce, had a bought with cancer, lost my dad, a mother-in-law, and one of our adult children. There are too many lessons and experiences to count.  Many of them have provided the subject matter of the MMM over the years. All summed up these lessons and experiences have made me who I am today.

Embrace who your life has made you.  Make all of your life lessons positive ones even if the experience associated with them was difficult.  Don’t let failures, disappointments, losses and missed opportunities get the best of you.  Make it a point to create positive experiences and do the same for those that you lead!

6.20.2022

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

 

This MMM was originally issued fifteen years ago.  I will repeat it as long as I write MMM’s on a Monday near the anniversary of the passing of my father.


6.13.2022

Leaders Don’t Know Everything

 

Positions and titles can cloud the judgment of leaders.  Often when leaders reach a certain level, they think they are required to have all the answers.  It is like they believe that with the title comes the obligation to answer every question immediately and correctly themselves.  They put undue pressure upon themselves to respond with authority, even when they may not be confident of the answer.

 

Solid leaders know that quality leadership requires a decision-making process.  That process may require time and it may involve other resources.  Good decision making does not come as the result of a title or a position, but is the result of experience, wisdom, and thoughtful processing of the circumstances.  Making the ultimate decision is different from feeling like you must have an immediate answer to every circumstance.  Great leaders are always prepared to step up and make a decision.  But in doing so, they know they don’t have to respond immediately and have all the answers themselves.  They know to consult experts, conduct research, and fully consider all options.  Our responsibility as leaders is to make sound, well thought out and rational decisions, not to simply have an answer.

6.06.2022

Fight Fire with Fire?

 

There is an old saying that states, "You have to fight fire with fire".  I am not sure that is always true, nor wise. When the fire is an argument or disagreement, adding more fuel is not helpful.  If you take the analogy literally it would seem that you should fight fire with water, after all that is what puts out fire.  Fighting fire with fire escalates arguments and wastes energy.  It can make existing problems larger, hotter, more volatile.  The use of calming water can make them smaller, cooler, more manageable.  It may even put the fire out entirely. 

Be calm when dealing with a difficult situation, don't spread the fire.  Consider using a dose of cool, calming water the next time you have a fire to fight.

5.30.2022

Happy Memorial Day!

 

If it were not for the armed services protecting the liberties, we have in this country I might not have the freedom to write the MMM!  I try to remind myself of that, but we tend to take our freedoms for granted.  We are truly blessed in this country and should be thankful for the independence that we enjoy.  Our freedom and liberties are, and always have been, protected by those that serve in the US military.

 

I hope the BBQ is juicy, the fireworks are spectacular, and the sun is shining wherever you spend this Memorial Day holiday!

5.23.2022

Balance

 

There is always a lot of talk about work life balance. I want you to consider a different aspect of balance. There are fine lines in life that requires intentionality to navigate.

Consider…

·         Our strengths too excess, become our weakness

·         We often treat our loved ones worse than people we don’t even know

·         Things we love can become obsessions and unhealthy habits

·         A singular hyperfocus on any one aspect of life leaves voids other parts of our lives

·         Ever had a love/hate relationship?

How do you balance these aspects of your life?

Remember this line from a Jimmy Buffett song…

-       “It’s a thin line between Saturday night and Sunday morning.”

5.09.2022

The Voice of Adventure

 

There is a rawness and a wonder to life.  Pursue it. Hunt for it. Sell out to get it. Don’t listen to the whining of those who have settled for a second-rate life and want you to do the same. You can build a fire in the hearth, stay inside, and stay warm and dry and safe…Or you can hear the voice of adventure. Instead of building a fire in your hearth, build a fire in your heart.  Follow God’s impulses. Adopt the child. Move overseas. Teach the class. Change careers. Run for office. Make a difference. Sure it isn’t safe, but what is.

This MMM taken from Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado.

5.02.2022

Leadership Is Responsibility

 

All the effective leaders I have encountered – both those I worked with and those I merely watched – knew four simple things: a leader is someone who has followers; popularity is not leadership, results are; leaders are highly visible, they set examples; leadership is not rank, privilege, titles, or money, it is responsibility. Effective leaders delegate, but they do not delegate the one thing that will set the standards. They do it.

 

Point: Don’t expect to retain the respect of your employees if you completely delegate the central function of your enterprise, whether it is healing patients or selling bonds.

 

Today’s MMM was taken entirely from the thoughts of Peter Drucker in the book, “The Leader of the Future”.

4.25.2022

Ironman

 

Ironman Texas was this past weekend in The Woodlands.  It is one of my favorite weekends of the year!  There are so many moving and powerful aspects to the weekend that I always come away motivated and fulfilled.  My two takeaways from this weekend are…

 

Inspirational - What these athletes accomplish in an Ironman is a special feat unto itself.  Many of them have special circumstances, unique stories and difficult places from which they have come.  In every single case, it is absolutely inspirational.  Seeing what people overcame, endure and push themselves to accomplish was amazing!  I knew a few first timers and several returning athletes this year.  Each had their own story and reason for this pursuit.  They have now accomplished something few others ever will.  I am just proud to know them and be inspired by them.

 

Volunteerism – Each year we are in charge of an aid station on the run.  It takes 120+ people and over 15 hours of hard work to put on what we like to think of as an event for the athletes.  We do it for them and we do it for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  It is so fulfilling!  The athletes are so appreciative.  We know that what we do for them can make the difference in when, and maybe if, they finished.  But what they did for us was just as important!

 

We were blessed to be part of such an incredible event and to support such impressive athletes!

4.18.2022

Blessings

 

It is crazy the materialistic society we live in.  The United States is the richest country in the history of the earth and individually we are very wealthy compared to people in many parts of the world, yet we are often not happy with what we have.  That feeling is exaggerated by the barrage of advertising that promotes materialism. Think about wanting what you already have.  Most of us are truly blessed, no matter what our consumerism society would have us think.  Besides, there is a lot less stress in wanting what you have got than in not having what you want!

 

Count your Blessings, they are right in front of you!

4.11.2022

Choices

 

Life is made up of a series of choices. We make choices each day of our life by prioritizing activities and choosing courses of action. It can be frustrating and challenging to make these choices. The alternatives are equally appealing, and the ramifications of the decisions seem so serious. The best we can do at any one point in time is to make a choice with the information and knowledge available to us at that point in time. Consider your alternatives, study your options, seek spiritual guidance, and make an educated decision.  Once a choice has been made, go on down the road of life. There is no value to be gained from beating ourselves up over past choices and decisions that did not work out. Sure, we should learn from past decisions, but there really is no need to re-live poor choices or to constantly second guess ourselves. Learn from those choices and grow. Make the best choice you can with the information available to you at the time.

 

Have a blessed week making choices.

3.28.2022

Volume

 

Is it productive for anger and frustration to be expressed through increased volume?  Do strong leaders become loud to convey important facts?  Is yelling truly a better way to communicate urgency?  I suggest that the answer to all these questions is no. 

 

Unfortunately, I do not always live that way.  It is a very human reaction to “get loud” in certain circumstances.  Other than large crowds, great distances, and of course sporting events, what good is loud screaming?  The person you are communicating with was probably hearing you just fine before you got emotional and turned up the volume.  Sure, voice inflection and some degree of volume change can be used in communicating a message, but not out and out yelling.  Communication with excess volume can foster anger and disrespect.  It undermines good leadership, and it can feel demeaning and degrading to the listener.  Consider this the next time you feel the volume increasing for no good reason. 

 

“The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success,
his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one
of the beautiful jewels of wisdom”
-- James Allen 

3.21.2022

Just Do It!

 

Yes, it is the Nike slogan, but it is more than that.  I am a renowned procrastinator, just ask anyone on my team (especially my trusted assistant – it drives her crazy)! This MMM should have run three or four weeks ago. I have been talking about getting back out with my Saturday running group since January. I have plenty of logical arguments (excuses) for my delays...

·         One must be 100% confident in their plan to get started, NOT REALLY!

·         Every possible option must be vetted in order to begin, NOPE!

·         The end result must be clearly visible and virtually assured to start a project, NOT EVEN!

We have all heard the phrase “Analysis Paralysis”. It applies to both decision analysis and implementation analysis. Too much analysis kills decision making and hinders implementation. At some point in the process, it is more important to just get started.

Old Chinese Proverb

-          “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The next best time is now.”

You don’t have to know how fast it will grow, what it will look like in ten years, or if it will provide the right amount of shade. You just need to plant the tree today so it can start growing.

Just Do It.

3.14.2022

Trying Times (Two Years Later)

 

Last Friday, March 11th, marked two years from the date the NBA and The Houston Rodeo both shut down.  It was the beginning of a shutdown of businesses across most of the country. A lot has taken place, and a lot has changed since then. Are these still trying times? Sure they are, in some similar ways and some new and different ways. Great leadership is still in high demand and hope is still our focus. Below is the MMM from March 23, 2020.

  

Trying Times

These times will test our souls.  Our faith will be tested, but it will become our rock.  Our resolve will be stretched but it will support us. Our businesses and economy will be damaged, but they will survive.  Our friends and families may be separated, but we will hold them tightly. 

Leaders are purveyors of hope.  Now is the time for us to step up.  Our employees, friends and followers need to see hope in our eyes and positivity in our voices.  It will not be easy.  They need to hear us say the things above.  They need to know there is an end to this and better days will come.  They need to know this is survivable.  It is time to instill hope.  It is time to step up as leaders.  It is time for us to pass the test of leadership.

Let’s do this together. Take one day at a time and lead with hope!   

3.07.2022

Kindness

 


 Some great reminders about the importance of the simple art of heartfelt kindness…

 

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

-          Plato

 

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."

-          Leo F. Buscaglia

 

"The measure of a truly great man is the courtesy with which he treats lesser men."

-          Anonymous

 

"If you can't feed a hundred people, just feed one.”

-          Mother Teresa

2.28.2022

Consistency

 

When asked what I consider to be key characteristics of great leadership I always include consistency. It is essential that followers perceive their leaders to be consistent, stable, and dependable. Inconsistency breeds confusion and can distort the direction of teams. Consistency is a great attribute. It is a trait of great leaders, a characteristic of good parents and a virtue of loyal friends. Being consistent means, you can be depended upon. It means you have a foundation of unchanging beliefs.  Consistency implies stability. It does not have to mean that you are boring or lack spontaneity. It means that when facing a common set of circumstances, you generally respond the same way every time.  It is especially important as a leader.  If people never know what to expect from you, they stop expecting anything. You don’t want your followers to stop expecting anything.

 

Be consistent. Consistency builds loyal followers, strong companies, and stable families.

2.21.2022

Presidents’ Day

 

The MMM frequently focuses on leadership and the traits that make quality leaders.  It suffices to say that many of our presidents have not possessed those qualities.  In fact, their behavior in their capacity as President, as well as in their personal lives, was often contrary to the behavior we associate with good leaders.  Certainly, we have had great leaders in the White House.  Those men likely mastered leadership before moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Others have depended upon the title to gain respect, support, and followers.  Respect should come with the Office, but trust, support and a following of the people must be earned. 

The title of President does not guarantee followers, just like your title at work does not guarantee you any true followers.  Titles just give us the opportunity to earn the trust and support of potential followers.  Some of the greatest leaders I know are influencers who have no official title.  By influencers, I am not referring to the social media kind. I am referring to people who positively influence others and lead them to a common goal.

Don’t expect too much from your title.  Demand more of yourself as a leader. Happy Presidents’ Day!

2.14.2022

Super Bowl of Life?

 

The Big game played yesterday between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals is always a big deal in the football world and certainly is entertaining to watch, but if we are not actually part of an NFL team (coach, player, owner, etc.) we can’t aspire to make it to that game.  There are Super Bowls of life that we can aspire to even hope to be named MVP…

·         There is the Super Bowl of a meaningful life

…or the one for materialistic success

·         What about the Super Bowl of positive impact

… as opposed to the one of personal fame

·         There is a Super Bowl for giving back

…but also one of selfishness

·         A Super Bowl of Faith

…or the one of stubborn independence

·         The Super Bowl for being a positive spouse, parent, or friend

…but also one for never developing meaning relationships

 

What Super Bowl of Life (or Bowls) are you training for?

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

2.07.2022

ABCs of Life

 


I was getting ready for work one day last week and found myself gazing at an “ABC” list of life advice sign in our home.  It is a list of great life suggestions we received from some wonderful friends.  The “G” caught my eye, as I have clearly done that!  More importantly, the “Y” jumped out at me. In this contentious world we need more of this. In glancing at the rest of the list, there are several that I need to be more conscious of doing, maybe the “N”. What about you? They don’t all apply to everyone, but most of them do. Life is short, here are 26 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