The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Archive for April, 2014

“That man”…

I’m positively perky over a plethora of people who have progressively prompted my professional pursuits for prolonged periods.  Permit me to pore over a pair today – maybe you can relate.

Tony was one of my very first colleagues when I entered the technology business 35 years ago.  And Tony remains a good friend to this day.  Leading by example, he has helped me develop an inner sense of self-peace – maybe you can relate.

You see, when I was growing up as a young, sales professional, I was just good enough to seemingly always be in over my head.  As a result, I couldn’t rely on raw talent or innate confidence.  Throughout my career I’ve had to work at it and compete for it – every day; every deal; 35 years, and continuing.  In so doing, I’ve developed a tenacity that’s become my foundation for competitive success.  And I am extremely competitive.

Unfortunately, my unfettered, competitive foundation also made for an angry, arrogant, unlikeable, and somewhat paranoid persona.  I remember to this day my sales manager at Oracle taking me off to the side and asking me to dampen my intensity – I was intimidating my colleagues.  Intimidating my colleagues – at Oracle!  The original, “fire breathing” sales culture; developed by one of the industry’s original “fire breathers” – Larry Ellison.

My friend Tony can relate – he was a “fire breather” back in the day too.  But wait – when he helped me launch my consulting practice after I had not seen him for a few years, I noticed a distinct difference in his style.  Gone the “fire breather”; he was now a mature, self-confident, soft-spoken, executive.  When I asked him about his metamorphosis, he simply replied:

I don’t want to be “that man” anymore.

Adam was one of my very first colleagues at my current company – twice!  You see, I am one of those “break in service” employees who left and was recruited back.  And in the coming back part, coincidently I was re-teamed with Adam.  As a young sales professional – he seemed curious about my background and experience.  Adam has an intensity about him – reminds me of me, back in the day.  He has noticed the dichotomy between my present-day persona and “that man” from my “war stories days”.  When asked, I echoed my friend Tony:

I don’t want to be “that man” anymore.

To be clear, I still consider myself (A) in a bit over my head, and (B) a “fire breather” – some things never change.  However, I am trying to portray a little less intensity.  Similar perhaps to Stanley Gault, former CEO of Rubbermaid:

He responds to the accusation of being a tyrant with the statement, “Yes, but I’m a sincere tyrant.”

I wonder what man Adam will evolve to be.  He’s in the prime years of building his career.  Tony and I are at the other end: 

The young are luckier:  They don’t need to remember what the rest of us are trying to forget.

Jan Carroll

I’m a “fire breather”; following Stanley Gault’s example, “Yes, but I’m a sincere fire breather”.  My competitive intensity remains.  However I believe having such intensity, albeit best kept under control, is a good thing:

Don’t settle for less than your potential.  Remember, average is as close to the bottom as it is to the top.

Abigail Van Buren

I know “that man” I don’t want to be anymore.  Maybe you can relate.


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Worth it?

I love sports, how about you?  I think I watch a pro, college, or high school game every evening.  I watch more than I participate these days.  You know the old adage:  “I used to be an athlete but now I’m just an athletic supporter.”  Like the  Masters Golf Tournament – stellar!

But there is also a dark side to sports; not exactly what the Greeks had in mind when the Olympics were established.

Golfer Tommy Bolt is known for his sweet swing and foul temper.  While giving a clinic to a group of amateurs, Bolt tried to show his softer side by involving his 14-year old son in the lesson.  “Show the nice folks what I taught you”, said Bolt.  His son obediently took a 9-iron, cursed, and hurled it into the sky.           

Thomas Roswell

Unfortunately, this type of bad manners seems to be increasingly more common in sports these days.  So bad that it is starting to beg the question, “Is it worth it?” From 

Worth (prep.)

1.  good or important enough to justify (what is specified): advice worth taking; a place worth visiting.

2. having a value of, or equal in value to, as in money: This vase is worth 20 dollars.

3. having property to the value or amount of: They are worth millions.

4. (n.)  excellence of character or quality as commanding esteem: people of worth.

5. usefulness or importance, as to the world, to a person, or for a purpose:

Your worth to the team is unquestionable.

6. value, as in money.

“Important enough to justify; excellence in character; usefulness as to the world.”  Do these attributes come to mind when you think of sports?  Or does, “value, as in money” dominate sports today?

Think back on a few sporting headlines: Rutgers University’s abusive basketball coaching videos; accusations of payola and grade fixing in Auburn University’s football program; the National Baseball League’s 50 game suspensions for performance enhancing drug abuse; Lance Armstrong; Aldon Smith. There seems to be no end to lightning rod images in college and professional sports.

Even at the parental level, sports can morph into bad situations.  It used to be that kids played sports for the fun of it.  Is back-to-back, competitive baseball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, 365 days a year, year-in and year-out worth it?  It’s not unusual to hear the story of teenagers dropping out of their sport because they’re “burned out”; as a teenager; “BURNED OUT”!  Really – was it worth it, parents?

Thankfully for many of us, there still is a positive place for sports.  And thankfully, there are still sports men and women who believe in the precepts of teamwork, fair play, and character building through competitive lessons, true?  Yes, it’s worth it.

And for those of us whose playing days are over, there remains great entertainment value in watching, reading and debating the highlights of the day’s teams (whether today, yesterday, or yester-year is our paradigm).  Here’s an example – Who is the greatest basketball player of all time?  LeBron James (today’s paradigm)?  Michael Jordon (yesterday’s paradigm)?  Wilt Chamberlain (yester-year’s paradigm)?

Last year, my college basketball teammate shared this 2 minute and 42 second YouTube video.  It’s a clip from a high school basketball game and reinforces the positive power of sports.  Enjoy:

In our world of me-first; trash-talking; win-at-any-cost; if-you-ain’t-cheating-you-ain’t-trying; athletics – the perspective of these high school kids in this game is what I definitely call worth it!


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

April 20, 1999 never forgotten…

What shocked us then – has become all too common today.

It takes the sun to create a shadow – accept that the dark and the light live side by side in all of us.                       

Chellie Campbell

It’s not just my home town of Littleton – We are all Columbine:

Hug a child today.


Oh well…

Hey everyone – its income tax week!  Hooray!

Actually, it’s a day past the deadline – but who’s counting?  Do you think our elected officials are standing on the sideline cheering as our tax returns flow in?  Oh well.

Does it ever seem to you that no matter how you complete your income tax return; no matter how much outside, expert advice you leverage; no matter what plans you put in place to lessen your tax impact next year, you still seem to be funding everything?

On the one hand, I dislike the immense level of government spending that takes place today at the federal, state, county, city and even master association level.  The media reminds us of the tremendous waste that seems to occur every day; every where.  And today, with our anytime, anywhere, all-the-time, political action committees – they all have a position on the state of our state, federal, and local taxation, true?  Could it be some of our taxes fund these messages?  Oh well.

On the other hand, when there is a natural disaster; when we hear of a scientific breakthrough funded by a government grant; or when we simply have a friend or family member in need who receives financial or medical support from a social services program… well, I for one am happy I live in America.

This time is one time during the year when we add it all up.  Sometimes we like the resulting sum; other times we don’t.  And talk about “new math”!

The Income Tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.

Will Rogers

Question:  If I work from home and my dog barks when the FedEx driver arrives; does she qualify as my receptionist – and can I write-off the cost of her dog food?  No?  Oh well.

All in all, when I add it up – I am blessed.  How about you?  I suppose it all depends.  Filing income taxes forces us to look at our W-2; our 401k; our IRA; our mortgage interest; our real estate taxes; and all of the other numbers the IRS wants us to look at; and report on.  That’s one way we measure; some years good – some, not so much.

When we look in the mirror, often our not-so-much years are self-inflicted:

More and more these days I find myself pondering on how to reconcile my net income with my gross habits.

John Kirk Nelson

When we heard growing up that, “Money isn’t everything”, do we maintain that perspective as adults?  Hopefully so.  Our top line income, even when reduced by taxes, still can be more than enough for a man that is easily contented.  Unfortunately, the itch of discontent sometimes influences us to spend more than our means.

It’s not what we make that counts; it’s what we save.  Years ago this was called “net worth”.  Today, “line of credit” seems to have replaced the importance of net worth.  Similar to our federal government, line of credit means “debt”; and debt is not the same as net worth.  Oh well.

We are looking forward to 2014 – this will be our best year ever!  And we can stay in control of how we define “best” by following the guidance of the world renowned author and poet, Robert Lewis Stevenson:

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.

And no – the seeds are not tax deductible.  Oh well.


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

Should I stay?

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a colleague; he was wondering if changing to a different sales team would be better for him than the team he has been on for the past few years.  He felt he had not been particularly successful, or appreciated.  Would going be better than staying?

Fast forward to yesterday.  I was chatting with a client of mine; he was wondering if there might be a better position for him at another firm vs. the firm he had joined 6 months ago.  He is worried whether he will be able to succeed in his role.  Would going be better than staying?

Ah yes – that all-too-familiar question.  A common conundrum many of us have wondered about, true?

Should I stay in my current role at my current company; or should I pursue a better opportunity (aka “greener pastures”)?

Been there, done that – many times.  In fact, I wrote about the outcome of my last pursuit of greener pastures ( ).  Turned out my greener pastures were pretty brown!

So, how do we know when we should stay in our current role or pursue a new opportunity somewhere else?  What criteria do we use to weigh the pros and cons of making that move?  How can we be sure the next pasture will be greener?  The thing is – once we decide to go; the option to stay is gone.

Perhaps the cause of our concern should be carefully evaluated.  Are we frustrated in our job; with our boss?  Are we feeling unfulfilled?  Are we in over our heads?  Or are we bored because we are way over-qualified for the position?  Could it simply be fear?  A plethora of possibilities can cause provocation to pull out, yes?

Of course, we should be cautious when seeking the advice of another.  Their perspective about us is often based on their perspective of their own circumstance.  And when we seek another’s input are we looking for objective advice; confirmation of our decision; or just some guy’s opinion?  Another slippery slope for sure:

Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own.  You may both be wrong.


Adversity can actually be a positive influence on our circumstance.  Just changing from one bad situation does not guarantee our next situation will be any better (aka “browner pastures”).  Sometimes the best option is to stay – and make a difference.  I might go as far as to suggest that if you want quality and satisfaction in your job – invest the time and energy you would expend going to stay and create that quality and job satisfaction for yourself.


Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.


Will and conflict also may play a role in our future job fulfillment:

Will applied to any conflict creates energy.

Conflict without Will creates frustration.

Conflict with Will creates resolution.

Michael E. Gerber

Yes, the role we are in might be difficult.  So difficult we think going might be our only option.  But if we stop a moment and really think about it; staying can also be a very viable choice, too.  Especially when it is our will to have a fulfilling job, in spite of conflict and adversity, yes?

Under the “do as I say, not as I do” category, if at all possible:  I recommend trying to stay – and make a difference!


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.