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Posts Tagged ‘Optimism’

Christ’s birthday…

Merry Christmas!  Wishing you a day of peace, hope, joy and celebration with family and friends this Thursday.

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 celebrating 2014 and remembering that which was important vs. that which wasn’t.

We are reminded 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 not 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 to be satisfied with who we are not just 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: Verse 4

We are reminded 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 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

May God bless you and yours.

GAP

Mortarboard day…

Today is my granddaughter’s high school graduation day – hooray!  Earlier this week President Obama spoke at the West Point graduation; Vice President Biden spoke at the Air Force Academy graduation.

Me?  No mortarboard for me today; no honorary degree; no speech.  Just another working day – like a lot of us.

Here’s to the Bottom Half

During the drive from the meeting to the restaurant, Phil started the conversation.  “It’s too bad that they won’t have anyone available for our intern program until the start of the fall semester.”

The consultant replied, “I’d like to get the name of that senior he said he was about to meet with to tell him that he won’t be graduating next week.  He’ll have to return for the fall semester to get his degree.  In my mind, he’s a prime candidate for a career in sales.”

Tosha, the Human Resource Manager accompanying Phil and the consultant asked, “You mean the young man who just failed one of his finals making him 2 credits short?” 

“Exactly” the consultant answered.  “He’d be perfect for your sales intern position.  He’s local; he’s probably available; and he’s just starting to get a dose of what the real world is going to be like after college. As they say, sales is what you do when you can’t do anything else.” 

Phil responded,  “Even if the college didn’t have the stipulation that eligible seniors must be in the upper 10% of their class, we certainly wouldn’t consider him; the Dean just said he’s in the bottom half of his class.  And we would never hire someone from the bottom half of their class.”

Phil’s last statement was made with his usual voice of authority.  A young professional, Phil was the Division Controller for a large, employer services company.  Phil had earned his MBA.  It’s a good bet that he finished his undergraduate and graduate work in the upper percentiles of his class, too.  So here he was, living proof of what has been suspected for quite some time about young men with MBA’s – seldom right, but never in doubt.

“You know Phil”, the consultant replied, “I graduated in the bottom half of my class.” A smile appearing on the consultant’s face.

Ah, the sweet sound of silence.  Here was this consultant that Phil’s boss had brought in to help implement key aspects of their strategic plan.  They had invited the consultant to join them today because he actually had real-world experience in operating a college intern program. (Real world experience? What a concept!)

     “Phil, that look on your face is worth today’s engagement” the consultant mused.  “Of course, I’m still going to send you my invoice.”  Over the past two years Phil, had developed a very nice working relationship with this consultant.  Although they often disagreed on minor points, there was a great deal of mutual respect and synergy towards the overall business objectives. 

     Over lunch, the three of them had a nice chuckle over Phil’s facial expression when he discovered that the consultant they had been paying handsomely and quite frankly relying on for the successful execution of their strategic plan had graduated in the bottom half of his class. 

It may not have changed the student’s situation, but it probably helped confirm what Division Controllers have suspected for quite some time too – a consultant is just some guy from out of town, with a briefcase.

Life – to be continued, after graduation!

GAP

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

Got a helmet?

So, how’s your day?  You know, when life gets tough – we could get a helmet…

Doesn’t it seem that the more we do – the more there is to be done?  The more we make – the more we need?  The busier we are – the further behind we fall?  A good night’s sleep – can’t remember one. What sizes do those helmets come in again?

Alternatively, there are other more optimistic options for our consideration.  Here’s an excerpt from my book:

Why we need peace and power in our day:

My day?  It started with a missed wake-up call.  I only had a few minutes to glance at the newspaper this morning.  Bold headlines: “Market Down!”; “Unemployment Up!”; “Cost of Living Highest in a Decade”; “Today: Mostly Cloudy”; and “Cubs Lose Again”.  Certainly nothing I wanted to read about any further.  Besides, I’m already running late for an “emergency meeting” with my boss.  About what – I’m not quite sure. 

I just spilled my McDonald’s coffee in my lap as I pulled out of the drive-through.  Not only will my stained dress pants look bad in front of my boss, but I don’t think my private parts are burned enough to win a multi-million dollar law suit.  (There’s never a little old lady around when you need one.)  My wife just called, “The kids are sick.” 

A little music might be soothing (and lower my blood pressure).  But no – the only thing on the radio is commercials; commercials on all eighteen FM stations and all twelve AM stations.  What?  Are the broadcasters in collusion to run their commercials at the same time?  No station-hopping to find music?  How do they do that?  And, I accidentally left my iPod at home. 

The car ahead of me has just been crawling for the past five miles.  Finally, there’s enough of a break in this heavy traffic where I can pass.  Uh oh; the next sign I see is “Slow Down: Road Construction Ahead”.  I’m pretty sure I just broke a crown grinding my teeth! 

So – How’s your day? 

“There is both peace and power in knowing and understanding who you are, where you’re from and where you’re going.”    

Doug Burgum 

Is there any doubt that we could all use a little help in finding that inner peace and personal, self-confident power to carry us through our daily routine?  After all, a positive attitude is priceless, yes? 

I’ve been blessed to have been around rare combinations of peace and power almost my entire life.  From my childhood, to participating in sports; the business world; from my family, friends and acquaintances; I have observed and been impacted by great feats from famous, as well as everyday, people.  In addition to Doug Burgum, former CEO of Great Plains Software, and his quote above, I have collected other quotes and short stories pertaining to living life motivated and confidently. 

I was at Doug’s key note speech to the Great Plains’ worldwide re-sellers at the 2000 convention event in Fargo, North Dakota which they called “Stampede”.  (It was my first, and to-date, only trip to North Dakota.)  Doug was the very first person I heard use the phrase “peace and power” when talking about the balance we need in our business (and personal) life.  And by no coincidence, his words were particularly applicable for the turn of the century.

I believe they remain “particularly applicable” for 2014, too.

GAP

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

Helping hooves…

Posted Feb 13 2014 by in True North with 1 Comment

Helping a friend; a colleague; or even a perfect stranger feels rewarding, doesn’t it?  Doing good makes us feel good, yes?

However, I suppose in today’s “dog eat dog world” it’s easy to be self-focused.  I mean what we do each day to meet our obligations is difficult.  When we get home from work, we’re often tired from the day’s trials and tribulations, true?

For me, at the end of my day I always look forward to the comfort of my sun room; looking out to my corral and my modest herd of horses; a pleasant chat with my wife; a cocktail; dinner.  My after-work routine helps me unwind.  What’s your after-work routine?

If yours is like mine, then we share a common problem – you see my routine is all about me.  A better man would do more; a better man would call his brother; Facebook his children; read about volunteer opportunities in his community; be less self-focused; be more in tune with where needs are needed:

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

“…the power to do it.”  If not me, who?  If not now, when?  But how do I get motivated to do more?  Could I follow the lead of my dog?  (As our favorite Unknown Sage suggests):

Haley

 Lord, help me be the man my dog thinks I am.

She seems to have an unlimited amount of energy; she’s always ready to greet me when I come home; she’s always happy to see me.  Like a lot of people I could use a little help in being more helpful.  And I think we would all agree that being helpful – doing good – is the right thing to do:

Do all the good you can.

By all the means you can.

In all the ways you can.

In all the places you can.

At all the times you can.

To all the people you can.

As long as you can.

John Wesley

When I receive encouragement, it encourages me to be encouraging.  When someone does good by me, I’m energized to do good for others.  Encouragement; energy; and even a helping hand (or helping hooves as seen in this Budweiser commercial) helps us help others, don’t you agree?

http://business.time.com/2014/01/29/budweiser-clydesdales-puppy-super-bowl-commercial/

You’ve probably seen that video already; it’s been making the rounds. For me it’s a joyous reminder of how joyful it feels to help others.  It makes me wonder what good I have done today; whether today I was the man today my dog thinks I am.

But is this daily reminder to be never-ending?

Here’s a test to find out whether or not your mission on earth is finished:

If you’re alive, it isn’t.

Richard Bach

So here’s to all of the good all of us can do for all of those who could use it.  Here’s to applying the peace and the power a positive perspective can provide to help us help others.

And when we’re a little tired at the end of the day; need a little motivation to generate a little energy, to do a little more good before calling it a day; if our dog or the draft horses don’t do the trick, let’s form-up with family or phone a friend.  We’ll feel all the better for it and enjoy a good night’s sleep, too!

GAP

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

To the Road Warriors…

I used to be a Road Warrior.  My boss still is one.  The toughest kind – international travel!  Last century business travel was a fun adventure – free upgrades; upscale hotels; prepared meals; interesting destinations. 

Business travel also played an important role in long-lasting relationships: 

The secret to a successful marriage is a husband who travels.  

Lisa Kwiecien 

In this century we have seen a great deal of change in the travel industry – most of it to the detriment of Road Warriors.  If you know a Road Warrior (or are married to one by chance), let’s all take a moment to salute how they literally go the extra mile to earn a living.  Add in inclimate weather and holiday travelers and our Road Warriors work extra hard for each and every extra mile. 

Current or former – all Road Warriors have those one or two “you had to be there” stories, true?  Don’t get me wrong – our stories are not always ones of disaster.  More along the lines of overcoming adversity I would say. 

Here’s an excerpt from my favorite story – it’s the one that literally launched Penny or a Pound Publishing and my quite satisfying hobby of motivational writing: 

            How Steve & Gary Made it Home for Christmas 

Christmas week and I’m in Baltimore, Maryland.  In this post-9/11 world the airlines have been transformed.  It used to be you could just show up at the airport and change your ticket to another flight almost at will.  Especially for us seasoned, “1 K”, Road Warriors.  But in 2006, not so much.  Well, I was booked on an evening flight home on Wednesday, December 21st and in over 25 years of business travel; I had never not made it home for the holidays.

Wednesday – I was wrapping up my last business trip of the year.  We just finished lunch so I checked messages before going into my last meetings of the day.  The first voice mail message was from the airline – a computer generated voice told me my flight home has been cancelled.  The second message was from my wife – “it’s snowing heavy in Denver” with a little more than just a matter-of-fact tone in her voice.  My first call was to neither the airline nor my wife – I called the hotel I had checked out of earlier that morning and reserved a room for tonight; just in case.  (Not my first rodeo.)  I’d call my wife back later.

My client decided to shorten our afternoon meetings – after all, it was four days before Christmas.  They thought maybe I could catch an earlier flight home.  I thanked them for their consideration without mentioning the weather conditions in Denver.  In the taxi back to the hotel I called my wife.  “We’re having a blizzard” she blurted, “They’ve closed the Denver airport” and followed almost crying,” Are you going to be able to get home for Christmas?”  “Sure Dear”, I responded, “Don’t worry.  You know I’ve been a Road Warrior for 20 years.  I’ll make it home just fine.” 

I listened to see if she heard any hint of confidence in my voice while in the back of my mind I was wondering, “How the hell am I going to get home for Christmas?” 

If you’d like a copy of the full story – just let me know. 

Thankfully today, I’ve lost all of my Elite, Premier, Platinum, statuses.  I don’t miss it one bit. 

GAP 

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

November – R U ready?

October has passed – we’re in November now – R U ready?  October was a stellar month for me; how about you?  The circus came to Denver in October:

When the circus comes to town, go see it.  It’s the circus – does everything need explaining? 

Robert Fulghum

The Westernaires held their annual show in October.  They’re a stellar organization with a vision about faith, country, family and the future:

We encourage self-respect, responsibility and leadership through horsemanship and family participation.  For over sixty years, Westernaires has proudly trained young people to use their talents and skills in the best traditions of the West. 

We Ride with Pride!

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In November, horses are growing their winter coats; and we are coating-up for winter too.  As nice as October has been, it can be challenging to think of the upcoming winter.  Shorter days; colder nights; snow.  But no worries – like horses, we’re hardened by nature’s cycle – there’s still reason for optimism:

No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn. 

Hal Borland

Yes, horses play a big part in my family.  Among my wife, son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, we have 6 equines living in our back yard (and my son and daughter-in-law have a seventh they board at the equestrian center she manages).  As we near year-end, horses remind us of our investment portfolios and strategies:

Seymore’s Investment Principle: 

Never invest in anything that eats. 

Unknown Sage 

GAP‘s Reaction to Seymore’s Investment Principle: 

Never buy anything that eats while you sleep! 

Gary A. Pokorn

Horses have even played a big part in the development of man’s deductive reasoning:

In the story Silver Blaze, Sherlock Holmes is called in to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the Wessex Cup favorite just a few days before the big race.  Evidently someone has crept into the stables and abducted the horse.  But who?  And how did he elude the dog guarding the stables? 

Inspector Gregory: “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” 

Sherlock Holmes:  “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” 

Inspector Gregory:  “The dog did nothing in the night-time.” 

Sherlock Holmes:  “That was the curious incident.” 

Unknown Sage

In October, we enjoyed fall colors; Indian Summer; baseball’s World Series; and, of course, we have been, “Ready for some football”!

November starts the count-down to the end of 2013; Thanksgiving; Christmas; New Years Eve; holiday parties; shopping for gifts; planning family gatherings.  (How many Thanksgiving dinners will you eat this November?)  Stress on the home front; year-end pressure on the job; working more; sleeping less; over-eating; under-relaxing.  R U ready?

We don’t shy away from year-end stress, though.  We are hardened by life’s trials and tribulations:

The highly successful use anxiety and stress to spur them on to achievement. 

Tom Hopkins

So counting today, there are just 51 shopping days left before Christmas – including my favorite shopping day – Christmas Eve!  (Based on the other men I see in the stores, I don’t think I’m alone in my procrastination.)

Nevertheless, we’re now in November; ready or not!  And throughout this upcoming season – we will look for ways to share our happiness; leverage our optimism; and spread our wealth with those less fortunate, yes?  And throughout these stress-packed days we will maintain our positive perspective because of all of the blessings we have, yes?   Yes, it’s November and we are ready!

In November (and beyond) we will give thanks…

GAP

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

Hoping in Duple Time…

What stimulates your hope?

The Polka is a happy, little tune – don’t you think?  (“Really, Gary?  The Polka?  Slow day?”)

No, really.  I was station-surfing the other day; looking for a little hard-rock music.  It was Monday, which for me is Mandatory Metallica (helps me start my week).  I came across Polka music on the radio and it immediately triggered memories of my childhood – and the movie “Home Alone”.  Did you see that movie?  John Candy played Gus Polinski, the leader of a Polka Band from Milwaukee. Remember his pride over one of their hits, “Polka-Polka-Polka”?  Classic!

From Centralhome.com (of all places):

Polka is defined as a vivacious couple dance of Bohemian origin in duple time; it is a basic pattern of hop-step-close-step; a lively dance tune in 2/4 time.

Vivacious; lively; duple time; doesn’t that just perk you right up?  OK, who brought the accordian?

Answer.com adds:

Polka music is a form of European dance music which originated in Bohemia (what is now an area within the Czech Republic).

And from Wikipedia:

Apparently, it was so well-received that it became a sort of dance craze, spreading across all of Europe, and to the US.

“OK Gary, but the Polka?  Today?  How does that stimulate hope?”

Well, you see the Polka is part of my family roots.  When I was in grade school my Cousin John in Chicago played the accordion and everyone would dance (lively; in duple time!).  I remember the cold beer would flow, as would the rich happiness of blue collar, working families, who made the most of celebrations that they could rarely afford.  Although they struggled to make ends meet, when they partied – they really partied – and they Polka’ed!

There have been other dance crazes, for sure.  In the ‘60’s it was the Twist.  Who remembers doing the Hustle in the ‘70’s? Today, who hasn’t done the Electric Slide?   How many of these dances will outlast the Polka?

Back to Wikipedia:

The actual dance and accompanying music called “polka” are generally attributed to a girl, Anna Slezakova of Labska Tynice, Bohemia, in 1834.

Alright Anna! 179 years and still going strong!

When my relatives danced the Polka years ago, it was all about celebration.  Celebrating some occasion, for sure; but also celebrating family; celebrating life; celebrating hope!  The hardest working people are often the ones that enjoy family gatherings and modest accouterments the most, yes?

These celebrations are enthusiastic expressions of hope.  Hard working people stay pretty focused day-to-day; living paycheck to paycheck.  They have to.  But when it’s time for a family celebration, hope springs eternal!

Throughout the ages, dances of hope were common among many people. Texas Bix Bender, who brought us such sage advice as:

Don’t squat with your boots on.

and,

Never drink down stream from the herd.

Also offers us insight about dance, the future, timing, and hope.  In the Great Plains and throughout the West, for instance, we’ve all read lore about the rain dance.  And Texas Bix said:

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

So I’m smiling today about the timing of my life and the opportunity to envision memories of my Cousin John playing the accordion while my Uncle Frank and Aunt Bernice danced the Polka into the wee hours of the morning. Yes – the Polka – a happy (and hopeful) little tune indeed.

What stimulates your hope?

GAP

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Dark Ages Computing®

The title of Chapter III of my book – and the result when I reflect on my career of 30+ years selling the latest and greatest; newest and coolest; technology “solutions” to those customers that absolutely, positively have to have “it” – even if they don’t quite know exactly what “it” is; why “it” is better than what they already have; nor how they’re actually going to use “it”.

Take cellular technology for instance; how far have we come?  I remember the very first cell phone I owned.   It was 1990; in Chicago; I was selling for Oracle Corporation.  Oracle Financials, Version 1.0 – what a ride that was!  Talk about the latest and greatest and the newest and coolest; our slogan was Oracle is so portable it will run on every platform known to mankind, including your wristwatch!  (See what I mean about not knowing what “it” really is?)    Now in 1990, believe it or not, we didn’t really need a cell phone for business success.  However, cell phones were the latest “it” and I absolutely, positively had to have one.

The first cell phones were referred to as “brick phones”.  About the size and weight of a brick, too; definitely not a device we hooked to our belt.  My salesman convinced me to buy the optional “power antenna” – a ten inch spike that screwed onto the top of the phone –  added 4 blocks of reception (which was only about 8 blocks to begin with; excluding most indoor locations, of course).   So I made my calls outdoors, in the clear, which was particularly lovely during Chicago winters!  The power antenna reduced my battery life to about 5 minutes, but when it was cold, my calls were brief anyway.  Nonetheless, I definitely had to have “it”.

Tivo to 2011 – Now our business world blurs into our personal life – so we all work more (yea!).  And who goes even a few hours without checking social media to see all the posts everyone makes showing just how blurred our daily lives are?  The result of working more I’d guess.  And the latest and greatest?  Well if you’re still on 3G and not 4G, then every TV ad and billboard blares that you’re missing “it”! (Better buy a power antenna, I suppose).  How on earth did we ever get by on whatever preceded 3G – what was that, tin cans and string?

So if you find yourself pausing to wonder how did we get so entangled with all these new-fangled, hi-tech, cellular, social gadgets, which have helped us to work more and vacation less?  And when we can’t get “it” to connect (even when we go outside) causing our blood to boil, and we demand, “Who is the %/*# responsible for this!”  I offer a behind-the-scenes explanation on the newest and coolest, latest and greatest (which I affectionately like to refer to as Dark Ages Computing®):

“Charismatic salespeople vie to win the attention of the visionary with outrageous promises, which heroic sales-support specialists try to illustrate in demos invented more or less on the fly, and which R&D groups agree to make come true under the influence of contagious enthusiasm and too much caffeine.”

                                                                            Geoffrey A. Moore

OK, gotta go now – gotta check my texts to see if that order for the latest and greatest, newest and coolest “it” came in from my new customer.  I know they absolutely, positively have to have it!  (My bad).

GAP

How’s your day?  When life gets tough you could get a helmet.  Or, you could read The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please sign up on www.TheQuoteGuys.com.