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Day by day…

If I do the math 45 years is the equivalent of 16,425 days.  This coming Monday marks 45 years; 16,425 days.  A significant amount of time to be with one’s significant other, true?

In reality it’s been significantly more than 16,425 days when I think about our engagement, plus the many days we dated in high school. And every day for over 16,425 days – more than 45 years – I have enjoyed being married to my high school sweetheart.  Happy Anniversary Debbie!

Many of you are in a long-lasting relationship; many have been married longer than we.  A Mile High Salute!  Maybe my relationship thrived because I was a “road warrior” for several years?  As one of my colleagues once said:

The secret to a long marriage is a husband that travels. 

Lisa Kwiecien

As you know, I write about my wife frequently; not necessarily daily; but frequently.  Like any couple, we have our good days and our not-so-good days.  Like many couples, we’ve also had some of those relationship-testing; foundation-rattling; we’re-not-going-to-make-it; kind of days.   When those days have occurred we followed James P. Owen’s advice:

When you’re riding through hell… keep riding.

Any meaningful journey is like that, don’t you think?  Even one of America’s most famous sweethearts offered all of us her guidance on life’s journey:

Pain nourishes courage.  You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you. 

Mary Tyler Moore

Over our 16,000+ days, we have had more than our share of wonderful things happen; all driven by love.  In fact, 45 years ago this month the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 was “Love Train” by the O’Jays.  According to Wikipedia:

The word ‘train’ comes from the Old French trahiner, from the Latin trahere meaning pull, or draw.

I have been a passenger on that love train as my wife has pulled us along for 45 years!  Of course, I’ve tried to pay attention to the little things that make a difference day by day; lighten her load a bit; smooth the tracks.  Rob Gilbert made a list:

How to have a Winning Day:

You have to listen more than you talk…

You have to smile more than you frown…

You have to be fascinated more than you’re frustrated…

You have to believe in yourself more than you doubt yourself.

You have to work more than you whine.

You have to do more than you don’t.

I have also paid attention to my role, responsibilities and boundaries:

Men ordering custom colors must first bring in a note from their wife.  

Guiry Paint Store

It’s OK; she writes the notes; I run the errands; we make a great team.  And on those occasional occasions where disagreement looms, we heed Harlan Miller’s advice:

Often the difference between a successful marriage and a mediocre one consists of leaving three or four things a day unsaid.

16,425 days and our love train is still rolling strong.  No matter our future course; no matter the challenges we will face; the trials that will test us; not even the weather we may encounter; our love train will continue – pulled along by my significant other – regardless of whether the wind is boosting us from behind our back or resisting us as it blows hard in our face.  Etheridge Knight’s words will continue to guide us:

Love is a rock against the wind.

Happy 45th Anniversary Dear!  You’re my rock and I love you.

GAP

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Luv rules…

Today is Valentine’s Day – men, it’s not too late.  There’s still time to do something special for that special person.

OK, OK – so I can’t take credit for creating this awesome display of love for my love.  That was someone else’s awesome display of their love for their love.  But I can take “observation credit” for stopping along the roadside while driving through this western Illinois farming community to take the picture, can’t I?  I think my wife will give me credit for a little kind-hearted, photo-plagiarism because I know she knows today:

Love rules without rules. 

Italian Proverb

Who says men are oblivious and have no powers of observation?  OK – so a billboard is hard to miss; not very subtle.  But observing that man’s demonstration of love reminds us all that today, no assumptions; no taking her for granted; no obliviousness; no subtleties are allowed.  On Valentine’s Day, we must shout our love for our love from the top of the mountains!  Of course, we hope our women do the same for the men in their lives:

You know “That Look” women get when they want sex?  Me neither. 

Steve Martin

Today may be a special day in my marriage, but our relationship over the years has taken constant care (and patience).  Thankfully, my wife has patience:

Patience strengthens the spirit,

sweetens the temper,

stifles anger,

extinguishes envy,

subdues pride,

bridles the tongue,

restrains the hand,

and tramples upon temptation. 

George Horne

It’s easier to be patient with the little things I suppose.   But when times get tough, the most convenient person to argue with, vent to, and take our frustrations out on is often our partner, true?  Life seems to move so fast; people seem to be so stressed; the media inundates us with so many sensationalized issues.

I don’t know; are meaningful, loving partnerships easier or harder to find these days?  With everything racing at a break-neck pace, who’s responsible for maintaining a healthy, loving, long-lasting relationship?  Well, here’s a view from Wyatt Webb:

You are 100 percent responsible for 50 percent of any relationship.

Carrying more than ½ the load you say?  Yep – you and my wife, too.

Thankfully, my wife and I are still in love after all of these years.  We will do something quiet this Valentine’s Day; we enjoy our quiet time together – always have.  We’re blessed with sharing many common interests, so spending time together and “decompressing” from our fast-paced life is a nice retreat.

Like you, our conversations will span a variety of topics; children; friends; happy memories; love.  Of course, when we’re together we will also synchronize our calendars; debate upcoming projects; disagree on priorities; discuss business; and almost always review our finances.  Yuck!  Necessary I suppose, but certainly not very romantic.

Yet this Valentine’s Day I will be reminded:

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. 

Mignon McLaughlin

So here’s to February 14th – Valentine’s Day.  May you enjoy it with someone special in your life.  If you’re lucky enough to be in love, may you cherish your quiet time together; sharing common interests; being patient with life’s challenges; relishing the restorative results of romance.

And if you’re with someone but you’re not yet sure if he or she is “the one”, don’t worry – trust your gut feeling:

Love is not finding someone you can live with; it’s finding someone you cannot live without. 

Rafael Ortiz

Love rules without rules on Valentine’s Day – and every day.

GAP

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Christ’s birthday…

Merry Christmas to all!

Wishing you a day of peace, hope, joy and celebration with family and friends.

Of course, Christmas is more than just one day, true?  Whatever our spiritual beliefs, may each of us find meaning to our life during this season in a way that lasts throughout the entire year.  So here’s to looking back and celebrating 2017; and to looking forward to an even better 2018!

Lest there be any confusion, may we be reminded of that which was important this year, and that which wasn’t.

We are reminded by bankers to be of good cheer:

A little boy received a new drum for Christmas.  Shortly thereafter, his father came home from work and the mother told him, “I don’t think the man upstairs likes to hear Georgie play his new drum, but he’s certainly subtle about it.  “How do you know”? asked the father.  “Well, this afternoon he gave Georgie a knife and asked him if he knew what was inside the drum.” 

Herbert Prochnow

We are reminded by the gospel to be satisfied with who we are not what we bought:

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less.  That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. 

Matthew 5

We are reminded by the novelists to remember (and be thankful for) our “fortunes”:

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. 

Charles Dickens

We are reminded to offer His blessings to you and yours from me and mine.

GAP

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 November and December 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 appreciation towards my little ditties.

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.  We will take a few quiet moments to reflect on all we have to be thankful for, too:

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

Gary A. Pokorn

Thankfully we have the opportunity to experience the peace and power of a positive perspective this Thanksgiving.

GAP

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Special Moms…

Moms are special, true?  My Mom was special – I bet your Mom is (or was) special, too.  This coming Sunday – in mind; in memory; or in person; please be sure to make it a special day for your Mom.

My wife is a special Mom.  She continues to lovingly mother our grown boys and our grandchildren even while their father worries, “How do I get all of these kids off the payroll?”  But I digress.

Our Moms have a special sense of humor – just ask our favorite, Unknown Sage:

A wife invited some people to dinner.  At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?”  I wouldn’t know what to say”, the girl replied.  “Just say what you hear Mommy say”, the wife answered.  The daughter bowed her head and said, “Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”

Our Moms are special teachers.  Remember many of the life-long lessons you learned from your Mom?  These special lessons we learned from our mothers are often passed down through generations.  Back to our Unknown Sage:

What my Mother taught me:

My Mother taught me logic;

“Because I said so, that’s why.”

My Mother taught me irony;

“Keep laughing and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

My Mother taught me about the science of osmosis:

“Shut your mouth and eat your supper!”

Even Bill Gates has a take (including “Mom” in his reference to his parents, and ours):

Excerpt from Bill Gates’ speech to Mount Whitney High School, Visalia, CA:

Rule 1 – Life is not fair; get used to it.

Rule 7 – Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now.  They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were.  So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Our Moms have a special and immeasurable reservoir of power.  I bet your Mom has power; my Mom did.  She was stricken with cancer when I was 6 years old.  In fact, I no longer remember a time when she was not ill.  The last 15 years of her life were spent undergoing cancer treatments.

I watched my Mom’s great power, which she needed in order to deal with a new cancer treatment in the late 1960’s that was so unimaginably harsh – that the administration of this treatment was solely based on the primitive science of trial and error – where the doctors’ routine consisted of observing how much of a dose could she tolerate without dying from the treatment.

It was an experimental treatment back then; offered only as a last resort for terminally ill cancer patients. This wasn’t a cancer cure; just a radical option to extend one’s life another year or two.  It was due to her staying power (and that of many other patients like her) before she finally succumbed in 1974, that has helped pave the way to the development of the commonly used, life-saving cancer treatment we all know today as chemotherapy.

How many special Moms have died fighting terrible diseases (and brutal treatments) so the rest of us can benefit from the overly exaggerated term, “modern medicine”?

Mother’s Day – make it special for your Mom if she’s living; make it special for you through your memories of your Mom if she’s not.

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

Christ’s birthday…

Merry Christmas to all!

Wishing you a day of peace, hope, joy and celebration with family and friends.  Thank you in advance for permitting me to re-post this little ditty – it’s one of my favorites.

Of course, Christmas is more than just one day, true?  Whatever our spiritual beliefs, may each of us find meaning to our life during this season in a way that lasts throughout the entire year.  So here’s to looking back and celebrating 2016; and to looking forward to an even better 2017!

Lest there be any confusion, may we be reminded of that which was important this year, and that which wasn’t.

We are reminded by bankers to be of good cheer:

A little boy received a new drum for Christmas.  Shortly thereafter, his father came home from work and the mother told him, “I don’t think the man upstairs likes to hear Georgie play his new drum, but he’s certainly subtle about it.  “How do you know”? asked the father.  “Well, this afternoon he gave Georgie a knife and asked him if he knew what was inside the drum.” 

Herbert Prochnow

We are reminded by strangers not to lose sight of our common sense:

On most brands of Christmas lights:

“For indoor or outdoor use only.”

(As opposed to…what?)

Unknown Sage

We are reminded by the gospel to be satisfied with who we are not what we bought:

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less.  That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. 

Matthew

We are reminded by the novelists to remember (and be thankful for) our “fortunes”:

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. 

Charles Dickens

We are reminded by the politicians (of all people) to remember why this is a holiday to begin with…

How many observe Christ’s birthday; how few His precepts.  O ‘tis easier to keep a Holiday, than Commandments.

Benjamin Franklin

We are reminded to offer His blessings to you and yours from me and mine.

And to all a good night!

GAP

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 six 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 six 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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Passionate People…

I read an interesting article recently, Critical Things Passionate People Do Differently .  I’ve been receiving articles like this from TalentSmart regularly (check ‘em out http://www.talentsmart.com/ ).  To me, they are portraying an effective way of leveraging social media marketing by providing me consistent, useful thought leadership.

I think that anyone who quotes Galileo offers a different and interesting perspective:

Passion is the genesis of genius. 

Galileo

And as I read the article, I found myself doing a self-assessment.  Want to try it?  Here is the Author’s list:

  1. Passionate people are obsessed (In a good way LoL!)
  2. They don’t waste their time
  3. They’re optimistic
  4. They’re early risers
  5. They’re willing to take big risks
  6. They have one speed – full tilt
  7. They talk about their passions all the time
  8. They’re highly excitable
  9. They’re all about their work

On the 1st point, when it comes to my work and sports, I am definitely obsessed (hopefully, in a good way).  On the work side if you have been reading me for a while, then you know I am fascinated by the business of business and passionate about the profession of sales.

On the sports front, I am definitely passionate about football.  In fact, this time of year I love to bring out one of my favorite video clips that brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it.  To me, it represents the amazing things ordinary people can (and do) accomplish when they simply, but passionately “give their best”.  See what you think.

Here’s the 6-minute movie clip about high school kids, an underdog football team, and their coach’s passion about “giving your best”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sUKoKQlEC4

Probably not a management technique that transfers into today’s, modern business world – but his message and his passion does, true?  Although the sporting world is different than the business world, there remain many cross-over principles that apply.  Passionate owners, executives, coaches, consultants, managers and mentors can help us instill the drive and make the extra effort towards reaching our goals, yes?

One with passion is better than forty who are merely interested. 

Tom Connellan

Moving on to point #2 time wasting, the Author obviously has under estimated one’s passion behind the popularity of football as a pastime, agreed?  Point #3 – optimistic – for me, absolutely every day and twice on Sundays!  As my slogan states:

When life gets tough, you can get a helmet… or arm yourself with the peace & power of a positive perspective. 

Point #4 – early risers – for me, again absolutely!  This point brings to mind a famous football player’s quote I enjoy quoting:

Be happy today and every day because you’re dead a long time. 

Johnny Unitas

Point #5 – taking risks – maybe others think of me this way, but I don’t.  I suspect my optimism overshadows any perception of risk.  Point #6 – full tilt – yes, I guess.  When it’s one speed we don’t think of it as “speed” at all, do we?  Point #7 – yep, as my readers (and my wife) can attest.  Point #8 – again, “guilty as charged”.  Thank God I have a patient Manager who tolerates my occasional out bursts of excitement because he knows how much I care about “doing my best”.

And finally, Point #9 – regarding this point, I hope it doesn’t apply.  On a daily basis, I actually try to balance my work passions; seek new interests; have some fun in my life; and try not to drive my wife and family too crazy.

GAP

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April 20, 1999 never forgotten…

Seventeen years ago today, my hometown experienced the terror that two teenagers, feeling a sense of hopelessness, can bring to their high school, their community and our nation.  It was considered a rare event back then – unfortunately, it has become increasingly more common today.

Life is hard and can often seem hopeless for all too many youths in their teens and twenty’s.   If you have a son or daughter; grandchildren; nieces or nephews; or neighborhood kids; hug them today.

Tell them today that you love them and will support them as they make their way in the world to adulthood and self-sufficiency.  And if they are struggling to make ends meet – give them a few bucks.  Help them find a job.  Today, help them feel they belong.

Let’s reverse our society’s violence.  Let’s use our power of self confidence to increase the sunlight for those heading towards darkness:

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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9Seqhcq23M

May you feel peace – and share the power of peace with others – today, and everyday!

GAP

Hunters…

I think it can be hard to discuss successful sales professionals in a positive, uplifting light.  The best of the best earn recognition and rewards that can stimulate envy amongst others in the village.  Nonetheless, permit me to offer this salute to the few, the true, “hunters”.

Throughout my career I’ve enjoyed interacting with and learning from that rare breed of sales professionals.  Maybe I learned too well.

I never enjoyed the materialistic rewards of hunting as much as I enjoyed the intellectual challenge of winning the deal.  The fun of being a hunter for me was the hunt – the kill was actually anticlimactic.

That mentality served me as a buffer from a common frustration hunters face.  Best stated by my friend (and a terrific hunter) John Kleinhenz whom I paraphrase;

There’s nothing worse in the sales profession for a hunter than to kill the proverbial elephant and before being able to enjoy the feast of the kill have the villagers drag the carcass off to feed the masses of those incapable of feeding themselves leaving the hunter no choice but to return to the jungle in search of another elephant.

Now the metaphor of “hunting” in the sales profession is not intended to be disrespectful to our customers.  They are not the “enemy”; nor really the “prey”.  I believe the term hunting simply reflects the reality stated by many including our favorite Unknown Sage:

Nothing happens until somebody sells someone something.

It takes a hunter to initiate the action, without which the company (and every employee) will “starve” from lack of revenue.  In fact, there have been a variety of studies conducted over the decades that conclude the #1 cause of business failure is lack of revenue (aka successful hunting expeditions).

Yet, before assuming that the solution is simply to hire a few hunters, I always caution my clients.  There are downsides to having hunters hunt for us.

Hunters are often outliers – in the village but not really part of the village; nomadic by nature.  In my case, I was never a great fit within my companies.  They enjoyed the elephants I killed.  But I never drove the right car; wore the right jewelry; had the right haberdasher; made the right sacrifices of riches over family.  I’m awkward in most social settings; no particular reason – just always preparing for the next hunt.

Truth be told, many (not all) of the most financially successful hunters I know are assholes.  Now I mean that in the most kind and respectful way LoL!  It’s just that they have invested supreme efforts to gain their success, while being labeled as “born salesmen”; wooing business over lavish lunches and golf outings.  Thick skin and ego are prerequisites in our profession.

In reality, it’s usually the customer that acts as if it’s my duty to provide extravagance in exchange for their business.  And as hunters, we learn how to leverage such extravagance even if it’s really not our personally preferred style.

No, hunters are “a little different” because hunting is so competitive; so difficult.  The hunt becomes consuming as we narrow our focus to compete for the prize.  It’s a zero sum game:  I must win while every one of my competitors must lose.  And we are always on the clock – we must win and win quickly.  With success, the villagers eat; without, we all starve.

So here’s to you fellow hunters – not everyone can do this for a living.

Now let’s get back out there and sell somebody something!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com