The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Posts Tagged ‘Overcoming Adversity’

You’re fired…

No one wants to hear those words – they sting.  Unfortunately in today’s real world, companies sometimes need to “go in a new direction”.  When one loses our job, it tests our toughness; our resolve; even our identity:

Failure is the greatest opportunity I have to know who I really am. 

John Killinger

A client of mine called me recently; he had just been “given his walking papers” by the firm that hired him 12 months previous.  His sales results weren’t acceptable; his firm was “going in a new direction.”  It stung.  We talked about it for a while.  In reality, he wasn’t happy in that role anyway; he wasn’t performing up to his standards; he wasn’t making money; he wasn’t happy; he knew it wasn’t “him”.  It was time to move on.

Amazingly that same day not 30 minutes after we spoke, I received a call from his boss.  He called to tell me he had to let his sales rep go; needed to “go in a new direction”; generate better sales results.  It stung.  We talked about it for a while.  The reality was he had given his sales rep sufficient time to perform.  It simply wasn’t working out; no one was happy; letting a sales rep dangle and starve wasn’t “him”.  It was time to move on.

This remarkable coincidence of these two conversations immediately flashed me back.  It was February of 2011; and it stung.  (See )  The sting has faded somewhat, but not the memory – never the memory.

The good news is my sense of humor back then was up for the challenge.  When I joined the conference call that day, I knew what was coming.  The executive who hired me was joined on the call by my new Sales Manager, and a representative from HR.  They informed me that the company was “going in a new direction – without me”, my initial response was, “You know, it’s not too late to change your mind.”  We all chuckled, but it stung.

Tom Hopkins once wrote:

I never see a failure as failure, but only as the opportunity to develop my sense of humor.

Actually the toughest part of that experience was telling my wife.  Thankfully, she dealt with it.  I suppose sticking with me for over three decades of the highs and lows of a professional salesman helped her develop her sense of humor, too.

As it turned out, “going in a new direction” was better for me than if that company had decided not to.  Don’t get me wrong – I really liked that job.  I felt my initial sales performance was pretty good; and I could have become a stellar producer for them if given a little more time.

But how much more time?  That’s the sticky wicket for business leaders, true?  When I’ve been on the other side of that discussion I must admit I have been impatient for performance.  When in doubt (when the person wasn’t “the obvious choice”) I have made the roster move; “gone in a new direction”.

It’s not revolutionary, really.  Business leaders have done this since last century (even longer):

Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. 

Henry Ford

So the advice I offered my two colleagues that day when they both called me simultaneously, was yes – it was time to go in a new direction.  And learning from the experience, do so more intelligently with our sense of humor intact.


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.

Cowboy Up!


We’re past the midpoint of Denver’s National Western Stock Show & Rodeo.  Never been?  If not, you should definitely add it to your fantasy list that I spoke of last week (see 2014 – A Year of Fulfillment?).

Denver’s National Western is a great opportunity for those of us from urban roots to walk a mile in the shoes of those with rural roots.  As a bonus, you can mingle with cowboys large and small!


There’s much we can apply today that originated from the farm; the ranch; and the Old West.  James P. Owen in his book, Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn From The Code Of The West© does a better job than I can in describing many of these applications.

We don’t have to be a cowboy to “ride for the brand”; and “the brand” can be both our professional brand as well as our personal brand.  Much has been written about the term brand (see ).  I would summarize it simply:

Brand identifies what makes one distinct from others.

What makes your personal brand “distinct”?  What is the cowboy in you?  Do you use cowboy logic when sizing up situations?

Cowboy secrets to life’s success:

1. Don’t let your head strap your hand to anything your butt can’t ride.

2. Never corner anything meaner than you.

Unknown Sage

This excerpt from my book I try to apply to my personal brand every day:

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.


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

Here’s to you – Business Travelers…

I’m just back from a Pasadena “fantasy” trip (more on that next post); headed out on my first 2014 business trip.  Oh yea, now I remember what air travel was like!  Let’s take a moment and salute our army of business travelers (aka “Road Warriors”).

Thankfully, I’ve been off the road and lost all of my 1K; Platinum; Gold; Premium; Preferred status levels.  Back in the day business travel used to be tolerable.  Back in the day, business travel also played a role in our relationships:

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

Lisa Kwiecien

It’s difficult for those of us who don’t have to travel for a living to fully appreciate the hardships of those who do.  The Road Warrior works an extended day; starting early to beat traffic to the airport; working late to catch up on emails.  Preparing for tomorrow’s appointments after completing today’s.  Hearing from the spouse about what broke at the house; unable to assist with the repairs.  All done during different time zones, before or after what everyone else considers “normal business hours”.

Yes, being “on the road” is tough.  At least such challenges don’t dampen the Road Warriors’ sense of humor – nor that of the airline employees working on their behalf:

After every flight, pilots fill out a form called a gripe sheet, which conveys to the mechanics problems encountered with the aircraft during the flight that need repair or correction.  The mechanics read and correct the problem, and then respond in writing on the lower half of the form what remedial action was taken, and the pilot reviews the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humor.  Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints and problems as submitted by pilots and the solution recorded by maintenance engineers. (By the way, this airline is the only major airline that has never had an accident.) 

P = The problem logged by the pilot.  S = The solution and action taken by the engineers.    

P:  Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.

S:  Almost replaced the inside main tire. 

P:  Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough. 

S:  Auto-land not installed on this aircraft. 

P:  Something loose in cockpit.   

S:  Something tightened in cockpit. 

P:  Dead bugs on windshield.

S:  Live bugs on backorder. 

P:  Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.

S:  Cannot reproduce problem on ground. 

P:  Evidence of leak on right main landing gear. 

S:  Evidence removed. 

P:  DME volume unbelievably loud. 

S:  DME volume set to more believable level. 

P:  Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.    

S:  That’s what they’re there for. 

P:  IFF inoperative.    

S:  IFF always inoperative in OFF mode. 

P:  Suspected crack in windshield.

S:  Suspect you’re right. 

P:  Number 3 engine missing. 

S:  Engine found on right wing after brief search. 

P:  Aircraft handles funny.  

S:  Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious. 

P:  Target radar hums.  

S:  Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics. 

P:  Mouse in cockpit.   

S:  Cat installed. 

P:  Noise coming from under instrument panel.  Sounds like an elf pounding on something with a hammer.  

S:  Took hammer away from elf. 

Unknown Sage 

Yes here’s to you, Business Travelers; to a stellar 2014; to getting there and back; traveling home safe; thank you for all that you do.


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website based on my book, 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. 


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.

One of “those” days…

I cut myself shaving this morning – of all mornings.  Was it going to be one of “those” days?  I was getting an updated head shot on my LinkedIn profile later today.  Ut-oh: 

            Murphy’s Law 

If anything can go wrong, it will. 

Well, maybe no one will notice.  I headed off to the office, just like any other day: 

            Maah’s Law 

Things go right so they can go wrong. 

Upon arrival, I discovered that I had left my briefcase (with office keys and computer) at home. Ut-oh.  Guess I was preoccupied with stopping the bleeding on my chin.  As I retrieved the necessary tools of my trade I experienced what the morning reverse-commute is like: 

            Law of Life’s Highway 

If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane. 

I returned a bit late but ready to face the day; the first incoming call came from one of my colleagues.  He asked if I knew how to run this new application we were given to create content for our learning management system.  Like me, he had received instructions on how to use this program from our application expert.  Ut-oh.  Like me, he followed the instructions as best he could. And like me, he was now reaching out to someone other than our “expert” for assistance, because: 

            Rudnicki’s Nobel Principle 

Only someone who understands something absolutely can explain it so no one else can understand it at all. 

We ignored the biblical prophecy of “the blind leading the blind”; avoided the ditch; and figured out how to record his content; although it consumed the rest of my morning. 

Trying to break the pattern of one of “those” mornings, during my lunch hour I read a few posts in my LinkedIn Groups.  One Group comprised of sales and marketing executives, had this post, “What concerns you most about the new year?”  Ut-oh. 

I responded to this post because I believe the sales profession is (or at least should be) a profession of optimism.  A post about “concerns” can be made by anyone I suppose, but for us sales professionals, we look at the world through a different lens: 

            Too much respect for problems kills faith in possibilities.  

Unknown Sage 

I felt better after sharing the Unknown Sage’s perspective with the “concerned” sales executive.  But then the phone rang.  Ut-oh. 

It was one of my clients calling to complain about an email he received from one of my other colleagues.  I agree with you – I’m thinking he should have just called her vs. me, but hey – it was definitely one of “those” days. 

After clarifying his issue (which could have been easily resolved by calling my colleague, I was tempted: 

Look, do you want to make a decision on this?  Or do you just want us all to drive home tonight and feel bad about it?

John F. Akers 

But for some odd reason a scene from Shakespeare’s 1596 play Henry IV, Part One, popped into my head reminding me that, “discretion is the better part of valor”.  So I agreed to speak to my colleague on his behalf, which I did.  She resolved his “concern”.  And I headed to a meeting: 

Oh, you hate your job?  Why didn’t you say so?  There’s a support group for that.  It’s called everybody, and they meet at the bar. 

Drew Carey 

Now that’s my kind of meeting when I’m having one of “those” days – you? 


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


Are you “in the mood”?  Can those around you tell?  I suppose the definition of the word mood takes on different meanings for different people depending on the setting.  For instance; 

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

Steve Martin 

Mood – quite the word for current times.  I’ve noticed in my work, it really doesn’t matter if I’m “in the mood” or not – my manager makes it clear that either me, or my successor, will get the job done.  I’d rather it be me; even if it sometimes makes me a bit moody.  You? 

There’s that word “mood” again.  And in a business setting, we usually add in “positive” or “negative” adjectives.  According to Wikipedia; 

Negative moods are basic psychological states that can occur as a reaction to an event or can surface for no apparent external cause. Since there is no intentional object that causes the negative mood, it has no specific start and stop date. 

No specific start or stop date?  Scary!  Best to avoid negative moods, true?  Wikipedia goes on; 

For positive moods; People seem to experience a positive mood when they have a clean slate, have had a good night sleep, and feel no sense of stress in their life. 

A clean slate; good night’s sleep; no sense of stress – hmmm.  I think I can remember what that felt like back in the day.  But today, I probably speak for many of us by saying we definitely feel a sense of stress in our lives. 

However, most of us don’t have time to worry about our moods – too much to get done; not enough time; too little sleep; trying to clean our slates.  That’s one impact from a tough economy, just ask John Kirk Nelson; 

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

Of course, we have plenty of political commercials shouting at us; telling us how we have been crushed; how tough it is to do something about the state of our slates.  Good material for the media I suppose.  I’m looking forward to the stop date for, “I approve this message.”  

Yes, life’s lessons have us completely surrounded; whether we choose to face each day with a positive mood or a negative mood.  To gain our bearings when dealing with our slates we might turn to our education (be it formal, informal, inherited, or tribal): 

Perhaps the most important result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not: it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly.

Thomas Henry Huxley 

That sounds more like it.  We do what has to be done; no matter our mood; regardless of sleepless nights; whether we like it or not.  We get the job done. 

And we aren’t concerned about a stop date – while we can, this is who we are and what we do, to the best of our ability each and every day, regardless of the stress in our lives. 

Perhaps an NFL legend and Hall of Fame quarterback; said it best; 

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

 Johnny Unitas 

Speaking for Johnny, “I approve this message”!


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

Who’s to blame?…

While picking up my wife’s Jeep from the impound recently, I really wanted to blame someone – anyone! 

“It’s hard to be a responsible adult.  It’s much easier and sometimes more fun to be an irresponsible adult.” 

 Adam Katzenmeyer 

I parked my wife’s Jeep on the street near our house with a “For Sale” sign in the window.  As it turns out, we can’t do that in Colorado.  I didn’t know for sure, but must admit, when I was walking back home after parking the car I had an inkling in the back of my mind; “I wonder if I’ll get ticketed?”  I did.  Adding insult to injury, the Jeep was towed, too.  I really wanted to blame someone – anyone! 

I discovered the Jeep was missing when I returned home that evening.  Since I didn’t know what happened, I called my local Police Department – they said it was a County Sherriff’s matter.  OK; I called the County Sherriff – they had no record of my vehicle being towed.  OK; then I said it must have been stolen – who’s to blame?  A Sherriff’s Deputy arrived shortly to take the stolen vehicle report. 

But first, he called the State Police.  Sure enough, they had a record of a vehicle being towed from the vicinity, but the license plate number did not exactly match – it was one digit off.  He called the impound yard with the VIN and guess what; they had my Jeep.  For the mix-up, I really wanted to blame someone – anyone!  

I mean, how difficult can it be?  The State Patrol Officer had the license plate right in front of him; he even had my phone number on the “For Sale” sign in the window.  You’d think he might have had the courtesy to call and tell me my Jeep was being ticketed and towed, but Noooo!  At the very least he could have had the competence to enter the license plate number into his system correctly.  Is he to blame

I called the towing company to clarify what was needed to recover the vehicle.  By the time I had navigated the maze of inaccuracy, the person at the towing company said they were closed for the day.  (Which made me wonder; then why did she answer the phone?)  I would have to wait until tomorrow to recover the Jeep, and that meant I would have to pay an overnight storage fee to boot.  I really wanted to blame someone – anyone!  

Do you ever feel that because people don’t do their jobs correctly, your level of inconvenience (and cost) goes up?  It seems so common – people make data entry mistakes; they’re too busy to answer the phone; they’re clueless when they do answer the phone… does it seem to you that we have to do our jobs and everyone else’s jobs, too?  Is everyone to blame? 

I recovered the Jeep the next afternoon and paid the $300 fee.  Rather than putting the parking ticket in the Jeep or leaving it with the towing company, the State Police mailed it to me.  How much extra administrative cost is that?  At tax payers’ expense, I might add.  Who’s to blame? 

Well, now I know for sure that responsible adults can’t park cars with “For Sale” signs on public streets in Colorado.  Now, I know my initial inkling was correct.  Unfortunately, now I also know who was to blame.  (Wait – could I blame it on my wife?) 


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

No, the other kind…

The word “winning” received a great deal of media attention a while back thanks to the infamous tirades of Charlie Sheen.  And November often brings a similar, negative connotation from the traditional American competition we have all come to know and love called elections.  But today, I’d like to chat about winning in terms of the other kind of connotation. 

To competitors, winning is both important and fun – at least it should be.  Take the story about these competitors: 

Let your imagination put you in a grandstand at the Seattle version of the Special Olympics.  There are nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash.  At the gun, they all start out, not exactly in a dash, but with relish to run the race to the finish and win.  All, that is, except one boy who stumbles on the asphalt, tumbles over a couple of times, and begins to cry.  The other eight hear the boy cry.  They slow down and look back.  They all turn around and go back… every one of them.  As you watch, one girl with Down’s Syndrome bends down and kisses him.  You hear her say, “This will make it better.”  All nine link arms and walk across the finish line together.  Everyone in the stadium, including you, stands up, and the cheering goes on for several minutes.  People who were actually there are still telling the story, fours years later.  Why?  Because deep down we know this one thing:  What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means changing our own course.

                                  David S. Pottruck 

When most of us compete in our endeavors today, we are playing to win because it’s fun.  It’s not win at any cost; cheat to win; win or die; or any of the other negative connotations of winning that tend to receive a disproportionate amount of attention through our over-hyped media, don’t you think? 

For instance, this time of year always reminds me of high school cross country state meets.  I have written often about Joe Newton, the boys’ high school cross country coach at York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois.  His winning record over the forty year period from 1960 – 2000 is unprecedented and unparalleled.  If you are interested in knowing more just let me know and I’ll send you the preface to Chapter IX of my book The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© which details the amazing accomplishments of Joe’ high school kids in,“Playing to Win”. 

Competitors – you; me; Joe Newton; we like to win – but we hate to lose.  Take the movie, “Money Ball” starring Brad Pitt, based on the true story of Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team.  One of my favorite scenes in that movie included the statement, “I hate losing more than I like winning; there’s a difference…”.  Tony Larussa echoed the same sentiment in his retirement press conference after the St Louis Cardinals won the World Series this year. 

Losing is not failure, however.  Competitors always get back up and try again, don’t we.  On those occasions when we lose, before we go over the emotional, “deep end”, we can benefit from the words of a master motivator and sales professional, Tom Hopkins: 

I never see a failure as failure, but only as the opportunity to develop my sense of humor. 

So smile – and get back in the game!


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


If you’re like me – well – God love us for our quirks! 

Recently, I was invited me to find new employment (yep, I was fired).  I had the opportunity to join the traumatized, fearful ranks of the unemployed, wondering how I will put food on the table and keep my home from foreclosure.  Fearing the worst comes easy sometimes, doesn’t it?

I say I had the opportunity to join these fearful ranks, but actually I didn’t in the way you’re thinking.  Oh I had fear alright; at my age, with the state of the US economy, and my wife’s four horses in our backyard eating while we sleep, there are plenty of reasons to have fear.  But the source of my fear was different – it was quirky.  But fear just the same, and: 

Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is. 

                                                                            German Proverb

So there I was; 8:30 Friday morning, losing the job I liked and felt very competent at, and facing a downward, spiral staircase of fear, the wolf right behind me.  What will I do now?  How will we get by?  What will our horses eat?  I only took a few steps down that staircase, however.  You see, by 5:00 p.m. on the same day, I had two job offers and after three weeks of mutual due-diligence, I accepted an offer to join a terrific company, working for a terrific boss, and engaged in a role that I’m a perfect fit for.  Here’s to Seneca:

Our fears are always more numerous than our dangers.


Yet I still had fear then; have it now, too.   In fact, at one point my fear grew so large that I almost didn’t take the job.  You see, I feared success.  Funny thing about fear in the business world; we can fear failure; we can fear losing our jobs; we can fear all of the bad things that may happen.  We can also fear success.  We can fear greatness.  I guess if we leave it up to us, we leave ourselves no place to hide from fear, yes?  Quirky!

Actually, there is no place to hide; no way to avoid danger; no guaranteed contracts (unless you’re a ball player or an elected official).  We will just have to do our best to do the job that we are hired to do and take our chances.  And you know what?  Maybe our hiring managers see the qualities we have even more clearly than we see ourselves.  Maybe they knew what they were doing when they hired us.  Maybe if we stopped fearing and looking over our shoulder for a moment, we can be the great contributor our companies think we will be.  Maybe…

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens most of us.  We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?”

                                                                           Nelson Mandela

OK, OK – gorgeous and fabulous may be a stretch.  But maybe we really are brilliant and talented.  And maybe our companies; our clients; our manager; and our staff really are fortunate to have us.  Maybe there really aren’t any wolves chasing us.

So here’s to our boss who wants us on the team – quirks and all.  And here’s to going out every day to be brilliant and talented (and maybe even a little gorgeous and fabulous, too!). 


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

The obvious choice

“Gary, you’re going to get fired tomorrow.”  That was the Thursday night phone call I received from the man who had hired me a little over a year ago. I had suspected something was up and emailed him earlier that day to see.  And at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning on a conference call with him, my recently hired, Manager and a Human Resources representative, I was.

When you’re in the business long enough you experience a lot of “firsts”.  I must admit, getting fired was a first for me.  But, I can’t really say I was surprised; disappointed, yes; but not surprised.  The company was reorganizing and even though I was 155% of quota my first year, it was just not impressive enough to convince the new leadership team to keep me.  I wasn’t the obvious choice. And although I felt I was “running as fast as I can”, they thought they could find someone who could “run faster”.

Going in a different direction; reorganizing; changing ownership; being taken private; consolidating; there are a lot of ways executives describe changes to their employees (and soon-to-be-ex-employees).  Geoffrey James said it another way:

As one IT Professional put it; “We’ve been reorganized, restructured, re-engineered, right-sized, down-sized, up-sized, TQM’ed, and MBO’ed, and if I hear the word empowered once more, I swear I’m gonna scream!”

Well in my case, this wasn’t about empowerment or quality improvement.  Nope, just good old fashioned cost-cutting.  Here’s a hint:  anytime you hear the new CEO talk about EBITA, beware!  In my final analysis, I hadn’t given them enough reasons to be “the obvious choice” – EBITA won out.

“Obvious choice” is a rarely used phrase. Oh, sometimes we receive congratulations; sometimes a nice note; too many times, nothing is said at all.  I can remember one time I was awarded a promotion with this phrase, “Pokorn, you’re the best of the worst.  Get a haircut and buy a couple of new suits.  You’ve got the job.” Motivating, huh?  I assure you I hit the ground running that time and enjoyed a great string of success.  (And not just because of the haircut or suits!)

I’ve always felt that the best way to succeed in business is to be the obvious choice.  I suppose this concept also applies to our personal lives – like when I was in high school.  I’m not sure how I did it but when I met my then future-wife-to-be, I convinced her that I was the obvious choice.  (Breaking the news to her Friday was the hardest part.)

I have always associated being the obvious choice with good news.  Now I know there’s another version, too.  I think it was Spock who said, “for all things there is a first time”.  So I will mark this first time well; and I will become the obvious choice for my next company.  I will also focus on hitting the ground running (might even buy a couple of new suits).  I’ll think of my favorite African Proverb:

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.  It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.  Every morning a lion wakes up.  It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve.  It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle.  When the sun comes up, you better start running.

I’m on my way – gotta run – wish me well!


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