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Common enemies…

Posted Dec 5 2018 by in True North with 0 Comments

“OK Pokorn”, you might be thinking… “How will you correlate that title with peace and positivity?”  Well, there is actually great power found in emotional negativity that can be harnessed for the greater good.  And it is this appeal to the greater good that we should remember today and every day.

This Friday is Pearl Harbor Day.  On December 7, 1941, an emotional, negative event occurred that summoned a powerful, driving force for the greater good.  From a factual standpoint according to Google:

In total, 2,335 Americans died and 1,143 were wounded.

Nothing remarkable in the annals of bloody combat, or even the bloody headlines of 2018, true?  But the highly-charged political discourse that followed epitomized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Infamy Speech” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infamy_Speech ) united our country against a common enemy.

Negative emotions can be a powerful, driving force.  But always a force for the greater good?  With the difficult events that have occurred almost daily throughout 2018, we certainly hope so.

Take today’s constant drum beat around “fake news”.  Fake news is a phrase that has in recent years dominated American politics, true?  According to Wikipedia:

Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media… The relevance of fake news has increased in post-truth politics.

Post-truth politics?  Let’s follow the Wikipedia link:

Post-truth politics is a political culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored. Post-truth differs from traditional contesting and falsifying of facts by relegating facts and expert opinions to be of secondary importance relative to appeal to emotion.

Sounds similar to the highly-charged political discourse that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor.  But in 2018, are we our own common enemies?  I say again, can these negative, powerful, driving emotions become a force for the greater good?  I certainly hope so.

Let’s look at the business world.  We often see evidence of power when a company unites against common enemies.  Steve Jobs continuously crusaded to be taken seriously – until Apple rose to dominate personal, technology devices and the way we all consume entertainment and information today.  The common enemy was their adversity when facing marketplace disrespect.  And that negative, driving force drove Apple to astronomical heights.

“ADVERSITY”:

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

Horace

The American Red Cross inspired from the carnage of our Civil War, formerly launched in 1881 in Washington D.C.  This powerful organization is also untied against common enemies – the devastated; the wounded; the needy; the destitute; the hungry.

Yes, there are many common enemies that coupled with the negative, emotional reactions they stimulate give rise to harnessing power for the greater good:

In every community, there is work to be done.

In every nation, there are wounds to heal.

In every heart, there is the power to do it.

Marianne Williamson

Here’s to Pearly Harbor Day and all the power it generated to propel our country forward in the face of common enemies.  What lessons have we learned?  How will we propel America and our fellow Americans, forward this December in the face of our many common enemies – real and fake?

In every community, there is work to be done.  And in our hearts, we all have the power to do it!

GAP

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Changing ways …

There are lots of things changing in our modern world today.  And our pace of change is amazing.  Modernization; automation; the Internet of Things; today’s changing ways goes by many names.  We assume these changes will be for the better; we’d like to believe in “new and improved”!

With today’s “new ways”, when we experience something that’s still being done the “old way” it stands out.

During a recent business trip, I rented a car and checked into a hotel.  You know, the usual stuff done the usual way.  The car rental experience seemed simple enough; the hotel check-in process?  Well, that struck me as something still being done the “old way”.

Why is it that it takes only a few minutes and no paperwork to pick up or drop off a rental car at Hertz’s #1 Club Gold, but twice that time and an annoying name/address form to check into a Hilton hotel?  Are they afraid you’ll steal the room? 

Michael Tracy

True, business travel affords us plenty of opportunities to poke fun at travel providers.  Poke fun aka the “old way”.  Complain, rant on social media sites, blast people and places on Trip Advisor… it seems like that is the “new way”.

Often these days, the new ways can stimulate increased strain and stress don’t they?  Call me kooky, but isn’t that the opposite impact “new ways” are supposed to contribute to society?   What do you think?

I mean, any kind of travel can be frustrating, yes?  Just commuting to or from the office has taken on new perils in our modern society.  You tell me; is road rage a “new way” or an “old way”?  Even Uber is not insulated from it.  Believe it or not, Wikipedia suggests this is actually the “old way” dating all the way back to 1987:

The term originated in the United States in 1987–1988 from anchors at KTLA, a television station in Los Angeles, California, when a rash of freeway shootings occurred on the Interstate 405, 110, and 10 freeways in Los Angeles.

I get it; it can be hard to embrace changing ways.  Especially for those of us who are comfortable doing things the “old way”.   Yes, yes, that way drives the kids crazy.  They’re amazed we have made our way to this point doing things the “old way”.  That’s OK.  Our way is not for everyone.

And you must admit that some things (travel or otherwise) ought not to be changed:

You’ll notice that the airport buildings are in the distance.  We don’t land at the terminal because it scares the heck out of the people inside. 

Mark Sanborn

But changing ways are inevitable.  And there are lots of smart people coming up with “new ways” everyday intending to make our life better.  They’re trying to avoid the strain and stress when “new ways” supersede “old ways”.  I suppose changing ways will always anger some.

Seth Godin reminds us all that it will be OK:

Do you have to abandon the old ways today?  Of course not.  But responsible stewardship requires that you find and empower heretics and give them the flexibility to build something new instead of trying to force the Internet to act like direct mail with free stamps.

During times of changing ways, we should not try to hold things back.  Even someone like me who often prefers the comfort of the “old way”, needs to step out of the aisle and let the other passengers by.

GAP

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Thank you again and always…

‘Tis the season of thankfulness.  Not that we should wait during the rest of the year to say, “Thank you”, but certainly the Thanksgiving holiday remind us of our blessings, don’t you agree?  So before going any further – permit me to say, “Thank you”!

Thankfully, I am blessed with family, friends, clients and colleagues who enrich my life beyond count.  Thankfully, smart people have put counting in the proper perspective:

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted. 

Albert Einstein

Thankfully, I have readers who accept my periodic posts and reciprocate with responses of kindness.

I can’t count all that I am thankful for; nor all of the times I have wanted to thank someone for their kindness.  But I am thankful for sure.  I’m thankful for living in Denver – most of the time anyway:

Welcome to Denver:

The morning rush hour is from 5:00 to 10:00 AM. The evening rush hour is from 3:00 to 7:00 PM.  Friday’s rush hour starts on Thursday.

Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere.  Denver has its own version.  The car or truck with the loudest muffler goes next at a 4-way stop.  The truck with the biggest tires goes after that.  Blue-haired, green-haired, or cranberry-haired ladies driving anything have the right of way all of the time.

North and South only vaguely resemble the real direction of certain streets.  University and Colorado are two boulevards that run parallel.  Geometry evidently not working at altitude, these streets intersect south of C470.

Highway 285 runs North, South, East and West and every direction in between; it can be found in every section of the Denver area making navigation very interesting.  You can turn west onto southbound 285; you can turn north onto westbound C470; and you can drive southeast on the Northwest Parkway.  This is why Denver uses the additional driving directions of “out”, “up”, “in”, “down”, and sometimes “over”.

Construction barrels are permanent, and are simply moved around in the middle of the night to make the next day’s drive more challenging.  When you see an orange cone, you must stop and then move ahead slowly until there are no more cones.  There need not be construction, just cones.

If someone has their turn signal on, wave them to the shoulder immediately to let them know it has been accidentally activated.

If it’s 70 degrees, Thanksgiving is probably next week; if it’s snowing, it’s probably the weekend after Memorial Day.

If you stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended or cussed-out.  A red light means four more cars can go through.  Not three; not five.  Four.  Never honk at anyone.  Ever.  Seriously.  Never yield at a “Yield” sign.  The yield sign is like an appendix; it once had a purpose but nobody can remember what it was.

Just because a street on the east side of town has the same name as a street on the west side of town doesn’t mean they’re connected. 

Unknown Sage

Thankfully we will spend time with family, friends, food, and fun with a little football during the Thanksgiving holiday.  Let’s take a few quiet moments to reflect on all we have to be thankful for and remember the origin of our blessings:

Thank you Lord.  I may never have a lot; but I have always had enough.

Thankfully we can all share the peace and power of a positive perspective this Thanksgiving holiday – and every day.

GAP

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To our cowboys …

I wrote a little ditty once about being yourself, costumes, self-improvement, and my dog (see http://thequoteguys.com/2012/11/be-yourself/ ).  In it I said that for Halloween that year I wore an American Cowboy costume to my wife’s Halloween party.  I also confessed that I’m no cowboy.

I’m fascinated by cowboys and the traditions of the American West.  Businesses and business executives in this country could make things better for all of us if more leaders heeded the advice found in one of my favorite books (and a source for more than a few quotes when writing these little ditties):  Cowboy Ethics© by James P. Owen:

I have come to realize that anybody can make money; it is much harder to make a difference.

The book was a gift from a client of mine from several years ago, Steve Major.  Working for Steve made a difference in my life.  And his leadership ethics made a positive impact on the lives of many other people that worked for him, too.

My son Kevin continues to make a difference in my life.  We are celebrating his birthday this week – I thought you might like this present I gave him a few years ago.  This is the opening to chapter seven in my book, The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©.  Enjoy!

Chapter VII: Cowboy Up – You’ll Get Through It!

Dedicated to the American Cowboy – may we all learn to be more like them.

Now, I’m no cowboy; but I know one.

Cowboys are quiet, polite – men of few words; comfortable just listening while others around them bark at the moon nonstop.

No, I’m no cowboy; but I’ve heard one.

Cowboys have a reserve of strength far and above the average person – physical strength to be sure; but also great emotional strength.

I’m definitely no cowboy; but I’ve seen one.

Cowboys have the ability to remain in control even while every living thing around them, man and beast, spooks in mortal fear.

True, I’m no cowboy; but I’ve been protected by one.

Cowboys remain focused even with adrenaline rushing through their veins when they’re bull riding, or racing flat out, one-handed on horseback, to rope an escaping calf.

Yes, I’m no cowboy; but I’ve lived with one.

Cowboys are fearless especially at the age of 15 when they look down in the chute and prepare to mount a bare back bucking bronco at their very first high school rodeo competition.

Absolutely, I’m no cowboy; but I’ve filmed one looking down that very chute.

Cowboys always believe they can.  The cowboy feels that sigh of relief when he’s all twisted up in the dirt, having fallen off a stumbling horse and the rodeo announcer comes on the PA system and says, “Well folks, he’ll have an option for a re-ride.”

So, I’m no cowboy, but I’ve sat next to his Mother in the stands when we heard that Rodeo Announcer come over the P.A. System to say, “Well folks, he’ll have an option for a re-ride.” And as the announcer glanced down to the stands to see her reaction he quickly added, “But his Mother says NO!”

You see, I know a lot about cowboys.  That’s why I’m so sure I’m not one.  No, I’m no cowboy, but my son Kevin is.  And every day I try to be a little bit more like him.

Yes, American cowboys are still among us.  And my son Kevin is one of them.  Happy birthday Kevin!  I love you, Dad.

GAP

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We’re different …

My company had a gathering this week for our national sales force.  That is different – many companies don’t want to go to the expense of a central, in-person event for hundreds of sales people anymore.  Webcasts, YouTube videos, and emails are becoming the preferred (and cheaper) communications vehicle.  Thankfully, my company is different.

I was tasked with helping to coordinate one of the session presentations; a road map of future product features our product developers (aka “computer programmers”) have planned.  In the technology field, discussing future software features can be “tricky”.  That’s because software programming can be a little “buggy”.

Software bugs – that’s a different term don’t you think?  Why is it called “software bugs”?  According to Wikipedia that term originated over 70 years ago:

A typical version of the story is: In 1946, when Grace Hopper was released from active duty, she joined the Harvard Faculty at the Computation Laboratory where she continued her work on the Mark II and Mark III. Operators traced an error in the Mark II.  It was a moth, which they promptly removed and taped in the log book. Grace Hopper added the caption “First actual case of bug being found,” and that’s the first time anyone used the word bug to describe a computer glitch. 

Truth be told, my company is not totally different in our software programming.  Like all software programs, ours has the occasional “bug” that needs to be detected and removed.  No longer an actual insect mind you; but a glitch that renders the software application unacceptable nonetheless.

So there we were at our gathering; a national sales force who sells the software applications our programmers program.  Having programmers present their plans for the next release of new features can often be accompanied by a bit of angst.  You see, if those programs do have a few “bugs” when they’re released, the sales rep tends to feel the clients’ ire more directly than the person who wrote the program.  We interact with clients; they interact with programs.

We on the sales side have to sometimes be defensive:

GAP‘s Dictionary of Computereeze:

Bugs? Actually, we have no bugs; perhaps a few undocumented features, but definitely no bugs.

And when we get defensive, our programming colleagues remind us of the complex technology laws they have to deal with to get their job done.  Like Putt’s Law:

Putt’s Law

Technology is dominated by two types of people — those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.

Unknown Sage

Or Anderson’s Law:

Anderson’s Law

Any system or problem, however complicated, if looked at in exactly the right way, will become even more complicated. 

Unknown Sage

Thankfully at our company the business relationship between sales and programming is different.  Our company’s programmers have mastered these laws of computer complexity to the point that we sales types face very little client ire due to “bugs”.

That doesn’t mean we’re off the hook.  Our clients may be satisfied with the quality of our software; but they can still be a bit testy when it comes to our price.  And that comes with another set of laws sales people have to address, including:

The Law of the Marketplace

If only one price can be obtained for any quotation, the price will be unreasonable.

Unknown Sage

Wouldn’t it be nice if all we had to do was remove a moth every time a client complained about price?  Now that would be different.

GAP

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Ouch!

Happy Halloween everyone!  Here’s a little horror story repeated often in Corporate America – courtesy of not so paranormal, always electronic, cross-departmental communications.  Trick or treat?

The story begins innocently …it was just another day … I didn’t notice when it appeared … nestled innocuously in my in box … seemingly harmless … and then I clicked on it.  Boo!  The rude email lurched out!  Ouch!

I had cc’ed managers in three other departments about one of my upcoming meetings.  My meeting constituents asked me to address a few topics that pertained to their departments vs. mine.  Thinking it a business courtesy, I emailed these department managers with the proverbial “heads up” and asked if they preferred to address the subject matter in question.

Two managers ignored my email.  OK.  That happens to all of us every day, too.  The third manager seemed possessed.  The demeaning tone of his reply was exceeded only by the length of his electronic lecture.  Proud of his supreme, worldwide program authority, he did not bother running spell check.  He even cc’ed my boss’, boss’, boss.  Ouch – again!

I knew this manager had supreme, worldwide program authority; he told me so in a phone meeting held three months ago.  He was essentially replacing me with others as I was being reassigned to a new role.  The purpose of the phone call was to insure I knew he was now in charge.  OK. That also happens to all of us – perhaps not every day, but it happens.

The reason for my cc’s in the first place was to defer to these three managers.  I knew it was better for them to answer my constituents’ questions about their departments.  Trying to avoid a zombie like appearance I even ran spell check.  No avail.

He started his electronic diatribe with “I guess I’m confused…” and then proceeded to spew reason after reason why my constituents should not even be asking me these questions.  He said they should already know he is the supreme, worldwide program authority.  As proof he pasted not one, but two of his organization charts.  He emphasized that he heads a steering committee which my VP, and theirs, are members.

Ahhh – the “committee”…

Kirby’s Comment on Committees:

A committee is the only life form with 12 stomachs and no brain. 

Unknown Sage 

Ghostly!

No supreme, worldwide program authority worth his weight in salt can be so without a committee, true?  Here’s Kelly Johnson’s opinion about committees:

We’re into the era where a committee designs airplanes.  You never do anything totally stupid, you never do anything totally bright.  You get an average, wrong answer. 

I’m thinking if he was providing answers in his steering committee meetings, my constituents would not be asking me questions.  Clairvoyant!

Committees frequently withhold answers to our questions. Mysterious!

Returning to my not-so-spooky story of the condescending email…  I have learned over the years not to execute knee-jerk responses to such in box demons.  Of course, I have learned that lesson the hard way – by executing knee-jerk responses!  I suppose we’ve all been that evil spirit.  Stephen R. Covey offers:

Quality of life depends on what happens in the space between stimulus and response. 

Thankfully, I did not have to respond at all.  My VP sent a very professionally written email to address his “I’m confused” positioning.  Poof!  The supreme, worldwide program authority disappeared from our story.

We returned to our Halloween trick or treating and all lived happily ever after.  The end.

GAP

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To Jack Schnee…

Our best friend’s Dad passed away last year.  After 89 years, his passing came suddenly and unexpectedly.  He was preparing to go in for knee replacement surgery; his knee was bothering him when he went dancing.  He was felled by a stroke.

Although I didn’t know him very well, the way his eldest daughter and son-in-law (aka our best friends) spoke of him it was obvious he loved life.  He reminded me of my Dad’s love of life.  They called him every Sunday for a weekly update along with the enjoyment of a gin martini toast albeit separated by 900 miles.  We should all be so loved and fulfilled.

Life has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  I’m way past my beginning.  It’s the delineation between the middle and the end that isn’t quite as clear.  But as friends and family around me reach their end, I always pause to reflect.  How about you?

Here’s how Michael E. Gerber sets up one such reflection:

I’d like you to imagine that you are about to attend one of the most important occasions of your life.  It will be held in a room sufficiently large to seat all of your friends, your family, your business associates – anyone and everyone to whom you are important and who is important to you.  Can you see it? 

The walls are draped with deep golden tapestries.  The lighting is subdued, soft, casting a warm glow on the faces of your expectant guests.  Their chairs are handsomely upholstered in a golden fabric that matches the tapestries.  The golden carpeting is deeply piled.  At the front of the room is a Dias, and on the Dias a large, beautifully decorated table, with candles burning at either end.  On the table, in the center, is the object of everyone’s attention.  A large, shining, ornate box.  And in the box is … you!  Stiff as the proverbial board. 

What do you think?  If you were able to reflect while in that box surrounded by everyone you have interacted with throughout your life. What would go through your mind?

Rather not think about it?  Your prerogative, but its inevitable for us all.  And at my age, I think about being old, over the hill, past the middle:

Baker’s Byroad  

When you are over the hill, you pick up speed.  

So far, I’ve resisted gravity pretty well.  I continue to live each day with my best effort.  Of course, some days I (like you) have “one of those days”, but that’s part of living, too.  Dealing with adversities enables us to richly enjoy life’s accomplishments, true?

Besides, I follow Baruch when thinking about how old I am:

Baruch’s Rule for Determining Old Age  

Old age is always fifteen years older than I am.  

Of course, those millennials in my work place that I write of often have a different opinion.  Every time we hire a new group of college grads I imagine hearing one of them say, “Is it bring your grandfather to work day?”  I suppose they would chuckle thinking I can’t hear very well anymore.

It’s all good for me though – I love being around youth:

It’s easier to have the vigor of youth when you’re old than the wisdom of age when you’re young. 

Richard J. Needham  

So, here’s to you Jack Schnee.  Here’s to your life; your style; your zest; your family; and your legacy.  Here’s to dancing with the Lord now; never to worry about knee pain again.

GAP

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Happy Columbus Day!

It’s been 8 years since I ventured out into the social media world for the very first time.  I know I wasn’t the original “explorer”, but it was still a big move for me.  Permit me to share an updated, slightly wordsmithed version of my very first post from back in the day – beginning with:

People told Columbus the world was flat.  He didn’t insist it was round.  He got in a boat. 

3Com Advertisement

How cool was that!  No debate; no argument; no headlines; no hype.  They said, “Impossible!” he said, “Get me to a boat!”  Then Columbus got in that boat (funded by the original venture capitalist); and proved his point.

What a stellar example of commitment to success!  “Hey Chris, the world is flat you know.  If you go out there, you’ll sail right off the table into oblivion.”  “That’s OK”, he might have said, “I think we’ll be all right.”

What about you?  What are “they” saying you cannot do?  Do you agree with them?  Are you looking back at the land for your security?  Or are you looking out across the vast ocean and on to your future?  Are you debating – or are you doing?  Where are you turning for the fuel to maintain your positive, can-do attitude?

It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up. 

Babe Ruth

If you’re reading this, then you’re in my boat.  Welcome to The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©.  The next time you’re having one of “those days”, filled with too much negativity from “them”, come back aboard for a little positive reinforcement.

I’m using a social media platform as my vessel – it is the 21st century after all.  Some people today might say, “Gary; Linked In, Face Book, Twitter are fun and all; but a vehicle for ongoing business-to-business, business?  Impossible!”  Well, what do I know?

I’ve spent the last four decades of my career perfecting professional selling skills.  You know – permission-based prospecting; discovering the customer’s goals; presenting solutions; closing the deal?  Remember?  Are any of those skills relevant today?

Or have we in business actually shifted to Likes, Groups, Tweets, and other, electronically-impersonal means of getting ink and contract to meet and money to change hands?  Were professional selling skills important only when the world was flat?  Well, what do I know?

Best-selling business author Jim Collins wrote this:

The Tyranny of the OR vs the Genius of the AND.

To me, it’s not social media – or – the old way.  I think social media is important.

But, I also believe that building business relationships still plays a key role in the customers’ success; and in turn, our success.  I would like to believe that knowing what you’re doing is still critical to a sales person’s achievement.  Being a product expert + a technology expert + a competitive expert + a business person are the key characteristics our customers value.  Again, what do I know?

Similar to Christopher Columbus, no one can predict ahead of time what changes the online world will bring to the future of my profession.  I’m certainly not going to argue about it.  I’m just getting in my social media boat and setting sail – I believe I won’t fall off the face of the earth.

I hope you join me for the voyage and visit www.TheQuoteGuys.com often.  Bring a friend!  After all:

No sense in being pessimistic.  It wouldn’t work anyway. 

Unknown Sage

Here’s to the New World.  Thanks again Chris!

GAP

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High School Sweethearts…

Fall; October; football; high school; Homecoming – do you remember your first high school sweetheart?  High school is a very special and memorable time for teenagers; it certainly was for me.  And I always enjoyed the autumn season when I was in high school – Homecoming; Halloween; dating; parties (most chaperoned, some not).

Forty-eight years ago, this very time of the year, I asked the prettiest girl in my high school out on a first date.  I guess it went well enough because here we are forty-eight years later, and I’m still awe-struck by the glow of her beauty.

I hope you enjoy this opening to Chapter XII True North, of my book, The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective © as much I enjoyed writing it:

Dedicated to… a crisp night in October; with a slight breeze blowing through bare trees – waiting for the coming winter.   Close your eyes.  Can you smell remnants of autumn leaves burning? 

To winning the homecoming football game.  To being carefree. To a Saturday night party at the teenager’s house whose parents are away.  Can you hear the kids having fun in the kitchen; the basement; and the backyard, all to the beat of the Rolling Stones? 

To couches, blue jeans and sweaters.  To the floor lamp reflecting on her blond hair making it shimmer with silvery streaks of light.  To the nervous small talk of a teenage boy in the presence of a varsity cheerleader.  To the patience of the teenage girl sitting on the couch with the captain of the varsity basketball team.  Can you remember when you could actually hear your heart throbbing?

To throw pillows, which come in handy when the small talk runs out – what else can a young boy do?  And to playful pillow fights; which lead to gentle wrestling and ultimately to that first kiss. Remember how delicate she felt in your arms – the hint of her perfume – the taste of her lips?

To first dates – dinner and a movie.  To the movie Catch 22 and the Oriental Theatre in downtown Chicago.  To dating the prettiest girl in your high school; to falling in love; to asking her father’s permission for her hand in marriage.  Were you ever so nervous?

To the tears welling up in my eyes even as I write this short memoire.  To all those emotions; all the happiness; all those hopes and all those dreams; some fulfilled, some yet to be; and all that I can remember today as if it just happened yesterday – that I will remember everyday, as long as I live.  How can someone be so lucky?

To 1970 – and that Saturday night in October in Elmhurst where I kissed Debbie for the very first time.  And to the friend’s house whose parents were out – to their couch, their floor lamp, to their throw pillows; and to the Rolling Stones music.  Can you imagine being so young, so infatuated, and so in love? 

I still am. 

Gary A. Pokorn

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How was your day?

One year ago last week, I was in an earthquake in Mexico City; a 7.1.  How do you work that into casual conversation?

September 19, 2017 at 1:15 pm local time, a powerful earthquake shook the bejeezus out of my training class; our lunch break; my colleagues and me!  Thankfully, no one in our group got hurt.

Unfortunately, there were many in Mexico City and surrounding states that did get hurt; over 200 people killed; hundreds perhaps thousands injured.  According to The Guardian ©;

It was the second major earthquake to hit Mexico in two weeks and came on the anniversary of the 1985 quake that devastated Mexico City, killing 5,000 people and destroying 10,000 homes.

In fact, because of that 32nd anniversary; commemorating that devastation; we actually had an emergency evacuation drill at 11am in 2017.  Just about 2 hours before the real thing hit again!

During the episode, I wasn’t afraid; but I was not brave either.  I was conscious of the fact we were experiencing an earthquake – on the 19th floor of a hotel no less.  What started out feeling like a freight train passing by, causing the table to vibrate quickly erupted into what seemed like a prolonged period of ferocious shaking; I could not keep my feet.

Those much braver than I were calling out; directing us towards the archway leading into the room.  Firmly they instructed us to move away from the windows; calmly, they reassured us that we will be alright.

I remember looking out the window and seeing the glass buildings across the plaza actually swaying.  It was surreal; it reminded me of that scene in movie The Matrix when the helicopter crash caused a ripple through the facade of a glass office tower.

My overriding feeling today is one of disappointment.  So many had invested so much before the earthquake hit – and after.  Gustavo Moussalli, out Latin American Division Director and the executive sponsor for the class had made a huge commitment to his local partners; coordinating a 3-day enablement class to support their success.

Gerardo Diez Martinez, our local Channel Manager made all the arrangements.  The meeting rooms and set-up; AV equipment; food and beverage; Gerardo spared no expense to insure we would have everything we needed for his partners.

My colleague Susanna Lagtapon sacrificed time away from her daughter’s 13th birthday; traveling instead to join us for the class.  Our colleague, Tony Caporal, with cooler head and bravery, prevailed following the earthquake.  He helped us retrieve our laptops and luggage.  (Even stopping at the lobby bar to grab a free beer on his way out of the hotel.)

Our VP, Brian Enright, was our “home base”; coordinating flights out of town; hotel reservations; and anything else he could do to support us from afar.

And especially Hector Garcia from our long-time partner NetSoft.  Hector insisted on personally driving us to the airport; would not hear of us taking a taxi or a bus.  He would navigate us through the city streets; on constant vigil for our safety.  Three hours to drive us 12 kilometers.  Three hours in the opposite direction from his own home and family – taking us in his care.

As with all disasters, there were many heroes – named and unnamed.  But that was 2017; Mexico City; and an earthquake.  Today, it’s another crisis; another natural disaster; another conflict.

We are all thankful for so many first responders and other heroes – named and unnamed.  May God bless them all.

GAP

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