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Posts Tagged ‘Perserverance’

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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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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Dates never forgotten…

The anniversary of “the” September 11th was remembered this week.  A date we will never forget.  What dates are never forgotten for you?

In the beginning of the novel, A Tale of Two Cities© is the contrast, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…” within the context of both occurring at the same time.  For Americans, 9/11/2001 seems like a demarcation point between the best of times before that morning and the worst of times after, true?  That’s when terrorism figuratively and literally collided into freedom.

Do you remember where you were when news of the planes crashing into the World Trade Centers in New York was broadcast?  I always will.  It’s amazing what we can accomplish during the best of times; and what we can endure during the worst of times, don’t you think?  The 9/11 attacks were the worst of times for many Americans.

April 20, 1999 was the worst of times for my home town.  (Although truly, we are all Columbine.)

At a personal level, how many bests have you enjoyed and worsts endured?  The bad times help us appreciate the good times even more, yes?  Here’s what Ernest Hemingway said:

Life breaks us.  And when we heal, we’re stronger on the broken parts.

Our ability to gain strength from adversity should come as no surprise, though.  Our ancestry is made of up generations who had to overcome adversity.  Much of today’s adversity pales in comparison to theirs, doesn’t it?

For many of us who did not suffer a direct loss of loved ones from these tragic events, our hardships now come in the form of inconvenience and economics.  We work harder today to keep up than we did before; travel has become more difficult; guns are all too prevalent in our society; in our schools (and at our concerts!).

Things we once dreamed of seem further from our reach.  We have extended our resources close to the breaking point in defense of our country and our way of life.   But for America, that’s nothing new.  Our country has been on the brink; had parts broken; and healed back stronger for as long as we have been a country.  Were the hardships of the Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Viet Nam War, the Civil Rights Movement, or any other national, local, personal, or family crisis less hard?

We are up to facing today’s challenges.  We are strong because we come from generations of strength – families who struggled to make for this country, for their families, and for themselves the best of times.  Like past generations, Americans today have the opportunity to earn and enjoy the better things in life.  And we know why they are the better things:

To really enjoy the better things in life, one must first have experienced the things they are better than. 

Oscar Holmolka

So this week we reflect on that never forgotten, life-changing event now known as 9/11.  Like the day an American walked on the moon, or the night the USA Olympic hockey team won the gold medal to Al Michael’s famous words broadcast around the world, “Do you believe in miracles?”,  let’s turn to our favorite, Unknown Sage once again for this reminder:

The First Rule of Life: The best things in life aren’t things.

My local community is stronger following the 4/20 Columbine killings; and I believe America is stronger following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Both dates will never be forgotten.

GAP

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What makes you tick?

OK everyone; I’m swimming in the deep end of the pool with this one.

My Mom said she learned how to swim when someone took her out in the lake and threw her off the boat. I said, “Mom, they weren’t trying to teach you how to swim.”

Paula Poundstone

I was thinking about my career the other day in anticipation of attending a Learning & Development seminar (e.g. a seminar on training trainers how to train). I knew at this seminar I would be asked to introduce myself and give a short “elevator pitch” on my background and what brought me to the event.

I have written about my shyness many times before. Mingling in public with strangers in professional or even social settings is painful. I’ve had to learn how to overcome my awkwardness.

How about you? What makes you tick? Are you extroverted; introverted; it all depends; all of the above? Do you subscribe to the quote that according to the Quote Investigator is attributed to Mark Twain as well as many other sources?

Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt. And live like it’s heaven on earth.

That definitely doesn’t describe me. In order to disguise a delicate level of self-confidence I have become a “situational extrovert”. Maintaining this appearance takes practice. I practice via frequent, social interactions. I do so for two reasons; the first is because I am a life-long-learner. The second is because I’m following the advice of William James:

Everyone should do two things each day that they hate to do, just for practice.

What makes me tick is the realization that choosing to be a sales professional requires continuous interactions with others; mostly strangers. To succeed requires practice. So I practice that which I hate, often.

I have trained myself to face these confidence-shaking situations by preparing; in advance; in detail; rehearsals included. And at first when I did not succeed; I tried, tried, again. I’m still trying.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

Alvin Toffler

Ignorance in the 20th century led to my fragile self-confidence. I wasn’t illiterate as I built my career; just the opposite, I think. I didn’t know anything about anything so to make a living I had no choice but to learn; quickly; on-the-job.

I was reminded of this once when I was interviewing a sales rep who wanted to join my Major Accounts team. His resume looked good, but don’t they all? It was during his interview that I sensed he did not truly have the experience he claimed. He picked up on my concern and said:

Gary, just tell me what to do and I’ll do it. I’m all balls and no brains, but I will learn quickly.

I hired him. He did learn quickly and ascended to a President’s Club level of sales performance.

I’ve come to realize that what makes me tick is this career connection to learning. My first 10 years in the sales profession I was learning while doing. During my second 10 years, I was learning to manage while still doing. In my third 10 years, I was leading while learning to teach. And the past 10 years I have been teaching while re-learning.

I get great fulfillment from life-long learning. The social interactions part? Not so much. What makes you tick?

GAP

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Doing alright…

“How are you doing?”  For many, every day is a struggle – sometimes literally between life and death.

I believe for most of us we have a choice; we still can control our mood; we can choose how we face each day.  But not for all of us…

Dedicated to those amazing people who unlike me, face each day “doing alright”; which means so much more:

Like Eric.  I have known Eric for 42 years.  Over that period Eric’s Mom and Dad have shared some of his most joyous occasions; and some of his most upsetting events; and in between these highs and lows Eric would tell you that he has been doing alright.  And for Eric, doing alright shows how amazing he truly is.

You see, Eric is the strongest person I know.  I’ll give you an example.  Close your eyes and return to the happiest day of your life – feel how you felt during your most exhilarating moments.  OK, now think back to how you felt on your saddest, darkest, most depressed day ever.  Just set those mental bookmarks in your mind’s eye.  There is an unbelievably wide and powerful range of human emotion, yes?

For most of us, we migrate from our highest highs and our lowest lows slowly; with long, “recovery” spans of simply feeling average in between.  Unfortunately, Eric is different; his mood swings back and forth, between euphoric highs and debilitating lows in a matter of minutes – multiple times – every hour!  Now picture your life with his type of mood swings – as if our other challenges aren’t enough to deal with.

Rapid Cycling – that’s the technical term for Eric and others who suffer from Bi-Polar Disorder.  And Eric lives every day with this unwelcome guest.  Medical science is not much help.  Bi-Polar Disorder is an affliction of the brain; and very difficult to properly diagnose and treat.  Trial and error, mostly.  That means people with Bi-Polar Disorder typically wind up dealing with this on their own.

Most can’t hold down a steady job.  Eric can – and he has consistently been a “go to” person for his company.  He is a skilled tradesman; good with customers; dependable; hard working; shows up no matter what; a positive attitude that no job is too tough; that’s Eric.  Most people with Bi-Polar Disorder can’t live independently.  Eric does – and if you met him, you would never know the internal turmoil he is living with.  He has a pleasant personality; a great smile; a nice sense of humor; knowledgeable of current events; just like the rest of us.

But Eric isn’t really like the rest of us.  Just getting up and facing the day; every day; takes enormous strength.  And he offers no excuses – never has.  Eric has earned success and experienced failure.  No matter; Eric treats each day anew, the best he possibly can. And when you greet him saying, “Hi. How you doing?”  you will almost always hear him say, “I’m doing alright”.

If Eric does alright each and every day even though feeling these uncontrollable mood swings – should we do any less?

No, I don’t have Bi-Polar Disorder, but it lives next door. And though I don’t have it, I can see first-hand the strength Eric has as he lives with it.  I’m very proud to say that Eric is my son.  And one day I hope to learn the source of his amazing strength so I too can be, “doing alright”.

Happy birthday Eric.  I love you.

GAP

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Olympians all…

It’s hard to top Olympic longevity.  Per Wikipedia:

The Olympic Games (Ancient Greek: Ὀλύμπια Olympia, “the Olympics”) were a series of athletic competitions among representatives of city-states … They were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin. The first Olympics is traditionally dated to 776 BC.

That’s 2,794 years (and counting)!

Are you watching the 2018 Winter Games?  What’s your favorite part?  Here’s mine from a previous Games:

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, four 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

The Olympics are a major TV event.  High drama perhaps; but has their purpose morphed? Originally the Games were religious in nature; intended to honor the Greek Gods.  Back to Wikipedia:

In the ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, the Twelve Olympians are the major deities of the Greek pantheon, commonly considered to be Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, and either Hestia or Dionysus.  Hades and Persephone were sometimes included as part of the twelve Olympians (primarily due to the influence of the Eleusinian Mysteries), although in general Hades was excluded, because he resided permanently in the underworld and never visited Olympus.

I didn’t know that.

Here’s what I do know – Olympians are not limited to Olympic Games.  For many of us, just facing our daily challenges is an Olympic event.  For many of us, making ends meet requires an Olympian effort.

For many of us, each day we must set our mind for victory to avoid defeat

If you think you are beaten, you are,

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you like to win, but you think you can’t,

It is almost certain you won’t.

 

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,

For out in the world we find,

Success begins with a fellow’s will –

It’s all in the state of mind.

 

If you think you are outclassed, you are,

You’ve got to think high to rise,

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.

 

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man,

But soon or later that man who wins

Is the man who thinks he can. 

Unknown Sage

The Olympics will continue in the future.  For the rest of us; we will rise tomorrow; set our mind for the demands of our day; thinking (BELIEVING) “we can”!

Not something I would call “Games”.

GAP

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Giving our best…

Football is my favorite sport.  A bit ironic I suppose, because football is the epitome of a time in my life that I did not give my best.  Actually, it was worse than that.  It was the one time in my competitive pursuits (in athletics or in business) that I quit.  I’ve lost many times; won my share too; quit once.

I quit my high school football team two weeks into the start of my junior year season.  It was the only time in my life that my Mom told me I disappointed her.  I can remember going into the head coach’s office to quit as if it was yesterday.  A bit ironic I suppose, because after being a starter and co-captain my freshman and sophomore years, I was not even planning to play my junior year.  I planned to focus on basketball.

The coach called and asked me to reconsider.  I agreed, but when I showed up I wasn’t prepared to give my best.  He and his coaches weren’t prepared to coach me up either.  At the age of sixteen, I decided that quitting was the only escape.  I’ve regretted it to this day.  A bit ironic I suppose – it’s not the not-playing that I regret; it’s the not giving my best.

I bet there have been special coaches and mentors who have had a positive impact on your life.  Coaches come in all shapes and sizes and use a wide variety of styles and techniques.  I bit ironic I suppose – some coaches resonate with us; some don’t.

Here’s a 6 minute movie clip about a high school, an underdog team, and their coach’s expectation about giving our best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sUKoKQlEC4

Probably not a technique that transfers into the business world today – but his message does, true?  Yes, the sporting world is different than the business world.  Nonetheless, we don’t have to go it alone.  Even the best-of-the-best have coaches.

In business, our favorite, Unknown Sage offers this:

Common misconceptions about coaching in the marketplace:

“Coaching is primarily for correcting behavior”

If we only coach people when they do something wrong, we have missed the point.  It’s about building not fixing.

Coaching requires giving up power and control”

The manager relies more on influence. The person is still accountable.

“Coaching takes too much time”

Coaching takes too much time if you don’t do enough of it and you don’t do it correctly.

“Coaching is soft stuff”

The manager who avoids soft stuff usually does so because it is so hard.  The work is easy; people are difficult.

“Coaching is laissez-faire management”

Freedom in the workplace, actually just about anywhere, is rooted in strict discipline.

“Coaching is simply being a good cheerleader”

A good manager has the courage and inner strength when needed to tell people the truth.

“Coaching is like therapy”

To be a good manager and coach one does need a basic understanding of human behavior and motivation, but therapy has no place in your relationship with the people you are leading.

Coaches enjoy occasional accolades, too.  The best I ever heard was a tribute to Bum Phillips, head coach of the then, Houston Oilers.  It was once said of Bum:

He could take his and beat yours – and then he could take yours and beat his.

A bit ironic I suppose, but his players had no quit.  They gave him their best.  Imagine – what could we accomplish today if we just committed to giving our best?

GAP

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Who’s TOUGHER than you?

Spoken as a verbal tag line by “Lou from Littleton”, former radio sports talk show personality on the airwaves of Denver and beyond (FIFTY THOUSAND WATTS OF POWER – 850 KOA – THE BLOW TORCH!).

Lou’s real name is Tom Manoogian.  He was one of my favorite radio personalities – distinctive verbal style originating from Detroit; catchy clichés; a Broncos homer; soft on his callers (referred to everyone as “cous” as in cousin); tough on company B.S.  How tough?  He left the broadcasting booth at KOA to buy a competing radio station so he could call the shots; do things his way.

Imagine if our remedy for office B.S. was to simply buy the company.  We can all agree that office B.S. is tough. But business; families; friendships; relationships; politics; life in general are tough too.  Just about everything is competitive these days.  That’s OK – we’re tough enough:

I’ve been up against tough competition all my life.  I wouldn’t know how to get along without it. 

Walt Disney

We can all dream; and for a few, dreams come true – if we’re tough enough.

While Lou was on the air, he made his callers feel so comfortable that they often related personal tales about overcoming adversity.  Sports challenges, for sure; but also stories of life’s trials and tribulations we all face sooner or later; less or more.  And if the caller was “J.K.” and J.K. had a story to share about overcoming adversity, at the end Lou would always add, “Who’s tougher than J.K.?” as testimony to J.K.’s triumph.

Lou applied his, “Who’s tougher than…” to sports stories of the day.  Comeback victories; beating the odds; under dogs slaying prohibitive favorites; any and all tales of victory; punctuated by Lou’s, “Who’s tougher than x, y, or z?”  Verbalized with gusto; articulated slowly; every syllable over emphasized. “WHO’S…TOUGH…ER…THAN!”

I thought of Lou from Littleton the other day on my drive home from the airport.  Actually it wasn’t “day”, it was night; actually, it wasn’t “night”, it was one o’clock in the morning.  Up for 19 hours, I wasn’t even home yet.  And of course, I was scheduled for a 9:00 a.m. meeting.  That’s what’s called being a Road Warrior!

I used to be a Road Warrior back in the day.  Thirty years ago, these marathon work days occurred every week.  I never gave it much thought, other than “hang tough”; “just making a living”; “all-in for the big bucks”; “makin’ the donuts”; “who’s TOUGH…ER…THAN”; “Road Warrior”.  Others may have lighter work schedules; but just about everyone has tough times of one kind or another, true?

Tough times don’t last; tough people do. 

Mike Shanahan

You’re right; many of us endure hardships at work and at home without ever taking off on a plane.  Many of us have to be tough just to make it to the end of a day; just to make it home; just to make ends meet.  So how do we get through?  Where does toughness originate?

Well, recognizing life’s struggles for what they are is a good place to start.  Having the right attitude goes a long way to getting us to the end of each day.  Associating with the right associates helps too:

Stick with the optimists.  It’s going to be tough enough even if they’re right. 

James Reston

So, here’s to you and to your tough mindedness.  Here’s to your shear will power to overcome adversity.  Even without calling into the radio, Lou from Littleton would be proud!

GAP

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Olympians all…

Whatever your favorite sport is today, I doubt anything can top the continuing string of Olympic popularity.  According to Wikipedia:

The Olympic Games (Ancient Greek: Ὀλύμπια Olympia, “the Olympics”) were a series of athletic competitions among representatives of city-states … They were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin. The first Olympics is traditionally dated to 776 BC.

That’s 2,792 years (and counting)!  Yes, the ancient Games became a setting for collusion, conniving, and political control (just like the 21st century I suppose).  Its popularity continues nonetheless.

Are you watching the 2016 Summer Games held in Rio de Jeneiro?  What iss your favorite part?  What will be your most long-lasting memory?  The winners – Michael Phelps; Simone Biles; Ladislav Škantár and Peter Škantár – the Slovakian Gold Medalists of the Men’s Canoe Double event?  The Slovaks were able to overcome Mother Nature I think:

Andrew’s Canoeing Postulate

No matter which direction you start, it’s always against the wind coming back.

Perhaps you were more enthralled with the drama surrounding the big upsets – Colorado’s Missy Franklin; Chris Froome; the water pollution that seemed to engulf the entire city?  Yes, the television cameras (and reporters) are there in droves; up front; personal; shoving microphones and cameras in the competitors’ faces even before they caught their breath after their event.  High drama to us – I wonder what the ancient Greeks would think.

Over the centuries the purpose of the Games seems to have morphed IMHO.  The original intent was religious in nature; intended to honor the Greek Gods.  Back to Wikipedia:

In the ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, the Twelve Olympians are the major deities of the Greek pantheon, commonly considered to be Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, and either Hestia or Dionysus.  Hades and Persephone were sometimes included as part of the twelve Olympians (primarily due to the influence of the Eleusinian Mysteries), although in general Hades was excluded, because he resided permanently in the underworld and never visited Olympus.

I didn’t know that.

Well, here’s what I do know – Olympians are not limited to the Olympic Games.  There are Olympians among us all, true?  For many of us, just facing our daily challenges requires an Olympian effort.  For many of us, just making ends meet is as strenuous as an Olympic Marathon.

And for many of us, we start each day by setting our mind for victory in order to avoid defeat:

If you think you are beaten, you are,

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you like to win, but you think you can’t,

It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,

For out in the world we find,

Success begins with a fellow’s will –

It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are,

You’ve got to think high to rise,

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man,

But soon or later that man who wins

Is the man who thinks he can. 

Unknown Sage

Olympians will reconvene in 2020 at the Tokyo Summer Games. For the winter sports, theirs will be 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The rest of us?  We’ll rise tomorrow morning; set our mind for the competition; meet the demands of our day head-on; thinking (believing) “we can”.  Not something we refer to as “games”.

GAP

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Doing alright…

“How are you doing?”  A common greeting these days, yes?  Our response often depends on our mood, true?  For many, we have a choice over our moods; a degree of control; at least a consciousness of why we are in the mood we are in.  But not all of us…

Dedicated to those amazing people who unlike me, face each day “doing alright”; which means so much more:

Like Eric.  I have known Eric for 40 years today – his birthday.  Over that period Eric’s Mom and Dad have shared some of his most joyous occasions; and some of his most upsetting events; and in between these highs and lows Eric would tell you that he has been doing alright.  And for Eric, doing alright shows how amazing he truly is.

You see, Eric is the strongest person I know.  I’ll give you an example.  Close your eyes and return to the happiest day of your life – feel how you felt during your most exhilarating moments.  OK, now think back to how you felt on your saddest, darkest, most depressed day ever.  Just set those mental bookmarks in your mind’s eye.  There is an unbelievably wide and powerful range of human emotion, yes?

For most of us, we migrate from our highest highs and our lowest lows slowly; with long, “recovery” spans of simply feeling average in between.  Unfortunately, Eric is different; his mood swings back and forth, between euphoric highs and debilitating lows in a matter of minutes – multiple times – every hour!  Now picture your life with his type of mood swings – as if our other challenges aren’t enough to deal with.

Rapid Cycling – that’s the technical term for Eric and others who suffer from Bi-Polar Disorder.  And Eric lives every day with this unwelcome guest.  Medical science is not much help.  Bi-Polar Disorder is an affliction of the brain; and very difficult to properly diagnose and treat.  Trial and error, mostly.  That means people with Bi-Polar Disorder typically wind up dealing with this on their own.

Most can’t hold down a steady job.  Eric can – and he has consistently been a “go to” person for his company.  He is a skilled tradesman; good with customers; dependable; hard working; shows up no matter what; a positive attitude that no job is too tough; that’s Eric.  Most people with Bi-Polar Disorder can’t live independently.  Eric does – and if you met him, you would never know the internal turmoil he is living with.  He has a pleasant personality; a great smile; a nice sense of humor; knowledgeable of current events; just like the rest of us.

But Eric isn’t really like the rest of us.  Just getting up and facing the day; every day; takes enormous strength.  And he offers no excuses – never has.  Eric has earned success and experienced failure.  No matter; Eric treats each day anew, the best he possibly can. And when you greet him saying, “Hi. How you doing?”  you will almost always hear him say, “I’m doing alright”.

If Eric does alright each and every day even though feeling these uncontrollable mood swings – should we do any less?

No, I don’t have Bi-Polar Disorder, but it lives next door. And though I don’t have it, I can see first-hand the strength Eric has as he lives with it.  I’m very proud to say that Eric is my son.  And one day I hope to learn the source of his amazing strength so I too can be, “doing alright”.

GAP

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