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Helping hooves…

My company recently completed Global Impact Week.  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 our highly competitive, “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 little 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; participate in 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):

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

Haley

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?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQB7QRyF4p4

Horses and puppies are motivational, yes?  For me they are a joyous reminder of how joyful it feels to help others feel joy.  It makes me wonder what good I have done today; whether 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 and need a little motivation to generate a little energy; to do a little more good before calling it a day; if our dog, or our herd, or even draft horse videos 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

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The truth…

Posted Aug 5 2015 by in True North with 5 Comments

A friend invited me to coffee a while ago.  As it turned out, he wanted to, “run something by” me.  Ut oh – sounded heavy.

We met the day before he and his wife were leaving for a President’s Club sales recognition trip he had earned.  You’d think that day would be low key; taking it easy; looking forward to a week of fun in the sun.  Not so much.

You see, my friend was being courted by other companies.  Success has a tendency to increase contact from head-hunters, yes?  And we all enjoy being courted.  Except he hadn’t managed this courtship as well as he would have liked – he was being offered a significant increase in pay but the offer expired today.  Today, the day before he and his wife head off to Presidents Club.

I listened while he described the innocent start to the courtship.  “I don’t normally take calls from head-hunters Gary…”  “I’m not sure why I even agreed to listen…”  “Before I knew it, I had two companies pursuing me…”  And BOOM! – He was in the proverbial love triangle.

Truth is, he did have two excellent opportunities.  Truth is, he is a stellar sales professional.  Truth is, if I were a hiring manager I would be courting his services too.  Truth is, one needs to be careful when playing with fire.

Our conversation arrived at the essence of his meeting request:  Should he inform his Manager of his pending departure before the President’s Club trip, or after?  “Gary”, he asked, “what would you do?”

WOW!  We should have been meeting for adult beverages not coffee!  But he had no time for that, his preferred, outside offer expired that day.  Truth be told, I have been in similar situations myself.  Not the day before a President’s Club trip; but I’ve faced the cross-roads of having to decide if I would disappoint my Manager by leaving for a “better offer”, or disappoint a courting company by staying put.  What would you do?

I suggested to my colleague that he “tell the truth”.  Ah, there it is; the essence; “the truth”.  I wasn’t really telling him anything he hadn’t already figured out.  I think he was simply looking for confirmation before facing “the truth”.

The truth doesn’t hurt unless it ought to. 

B.C. Forbes 

We noodled through his options.  He could accept the offer and resign after President’s Club.  That would disappoint his Manager (and leave a long-lasting, bad taste in his own mouth).  He could stall the offer by telling the courting company he needed more time.  That would disappoint his future employer (perhaps even risk the offer being rescinded).  He could call his Manager, inform him of his decision to leave and offer to stay home from President’s Club.  That would disappoint his wife!

“No place to hide”, I stated.  “You’re going to disappoint someone today – you’re only choice is to decide who you won’t disappoint”.  Not much solace from a friend he was hoping could help him feel good and “do the right thing”.  He could have turned to Mark Twain for advice:

Always do right!  This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

I suppose in the real world today, there is no “right thing”, is there?  I suppose there are simply advantages and disadvantages to the choices we make.  Successful people are continuously presented with opportunities – continuously facing choices.  I suppose it’s the principals our choices are based on that matter, true?  I mean, what would you do?

GAP

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Christ’s birthday…

Merry Christmas!  I trust you will enjoy a day of peace, hope and celebration with family and friends this Wednesday.  Whatever our spiritual beliefs, may each of us find meaning to our life during this time in a way that lasts throughout the entire year.

May we be of good cheer, too…

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

May we 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

May we 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

May we remember those less fortunate than us…

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

Charles Dickens

May we 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

And may God bless you and yours.

GAP

Still Giving Thanks…

We are in the season of giving thanks.  Not that we should wait during the rest of the year to say, “Thank you”; but certainly November and December remind us of our blessings, don’t you agree?  So before I go any further, let me say, “Thank you”! 

Thankfully, I am blessed with family, friends, clients and colleagues who enrich my life beyond count.  Thankfully, I have you who accept my periodic posts and reciprocate with personalized responses of appreciation towards my little ditties.  Thankfully, I have readers such as Jim Anderson and Joe Carusi. 

Jim is a reader, a friend, and one of my coaches.  Because he knew how much it would mean to me, he gave me the book Principle-Based Leadership © that he authored.  Thankfully, I am fortunate enough to be thought of as principled-based and a leader. 

Thankfully, I have been fortunate enough to work for some of the 20th century, “all time” business leaders, including Josh Weston of ADP; Larry Ellison of Oracle; and Dave Duffield of Integral Systems (which preceded PeopleSoft and now Workday).  

Joe is a reader, a friend, and another one of my coaches.  He recommended Marc Miller’s book, Selling is Dead © which is the most applicable sales coaching piece that I have seen written this century.  (If you think about many of the great sales authors, Mahan Khalsa, Robert Miller, Stephen Heimann, Neil Rackham, etc. – most of their work was written last century.)  Thank you Joe! 

So, ready or not, its Thanksgiving week!  Hard to believe it’s here already isn’t it?  I guess time flies when we’re heads down, working during these challenging, economic times.  (By the way, there are only 30 days left before Christmas!) 

With the ski resorts open in Colorado; winter is upon us as well.  No worries, though.  The kindness I receive from Jim, Joe, and all those around me, will keep me warm: 

            A kind word warms for three winters.

Chinese Proverb 

Thankfully, many are optimistic that we will have a successful “Black Friday”; “Small Business Saturday”; and “Cyber Monday” of retail sales.  This will help contribute to our economic stability. Thankfully, we have retailers who are able to brave the “Advertise & Hope” approach to sales.  Thankfully, I chose the Business-to-Business sales profession where we can go out and “sell somebody something” vs. waiting, and hoping, shoppers find our establishment. 

Thankfully, we have people much smarter than me to help put this economy in proper perspective.  The next best thing to being a financial genius is to mingle with those who are: 

Market Terminology for Dummies: 

Bull Market –      A random market movement causing the investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.    

Momentum Investing – The fine art of buying high and selling low.    

Standard & Poor – Your investment strategy in a                 nutshell.

Mailbits.com 

Oh well – I guess I’m not much of a financial genius.  I’ll just have to keep working at it. 

            If you can’t be a genius, imitate the daring. 

Endora Weltz           

Thankfully, we will spend time with family, friends, food, fun, football, and even a movie thrown in during the Thanksgiving holiday.  Thankfully, we will have a few quiet moments to reflect on all we have to be thankful for. 

Thankfully, I have readers who read my posts and recommend me to others.  May the peace and power of a positive perspective be with you and yours this holiday season. 

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.

What is >…

Do you find yourself pursuing more and more and more these days? Can’t get “enough”?  Life is one, big super-sized experience, true?  Technology certainly offers consumers “more”; the Federal Government is the master of the “more”; and today the IRS takes their turn.  (Enough!) 

But what is “more” anyway?  And does, “more better” mean more; better; both; or neither?  Our Unknown Sage suggests: 

            Less is more. 

Is that it?  Is “less” > “more?  My doctor said after I weighed in that it would be better if there were less of me.  Hopefully my readers don’t feel that way! 

People who read me seem to be divided into four groups; Twenty-five percent like me for the right reasons; 25 percent like me for the wrong reasons; 25 percent hate me for the right reasons.  It’s the last 25 percent that worries me. 

Robert Frost 

At work, is your Manager pushing the “more button”?  Companies ask their people to do “more” with less every year, don’t you agree?  Why is that?  Can’t our companies succeed if executives didn’t ask their employees for “more”?  Usually, a reason for asking for “more” is not even offered.  The leaders just say, “We must”, and the followers say, “It is what it is”.  

But in America, we can still take pride in this phenomenon.  Brian Tracy suggests: 

Do more than you are paid for.  There are never any traffic jams on the extra mile.                                 

OK.  I agree that I am capable of doing “more” without having to ask for “more”.  Doing a good job; doing the job right, can often be fulfilling enough, yes?  “Pride” > “more”. 

Our organizations are asking our customers to pay “more” for our products or services, too.  Yep, everybody seems to want “more”.  (And don’t even get me started on the price of diesel fuel.)  But, what is “more” again, and why do we seem to have so much of it? 

The Denver Broncos want “more” for season’s tickets.  Their rationale?  Could be Peyton Manning’s contract; maybe it’s due to the NFL’s flat salary cap year.  (Flat salary cap – how did that happen?)  Could be that it’s simply something they have always done.  (“It is what it is”.) 

My company just completed a hefty price increase (although to be fair, it’s the first price increase in over three years).  It was the justification that caught my attention:  “Customers buy on perceived value – higher list price conveys value better”.  Is that the origin of “more”?  Higher price conveys higher value?  Frank Hayes, in his write-up on Conventional IT Wisdom several years ago wrote: 

Exactly what you want, always costs more than you can afford. 

Perhaps the origin of “more” comes from society’s extreme, recreational preferences.   Careful what we ask for: 

            Phillip’s Law: 

Four-wheel drive just means getting stuck in more inaccessible places.

Unknown Sage           

How about social media?  Is “more” better?  There certainly is quite the din of tweets, posts, and videos.  Viral today; gone and forgotten tomorrow.  Can our Unknown Sage have something when he states? 

Talk less, say more. 

No – in the final analysis, I don’t believe “more” is better; or more profitable for companies; or that “more” pricing conveys higher value; nor is “more” necessarily more fun.  “More” is definitely not “less”.  “More” is simply “more”. 

And if we can’t always have “more”, we will just have to settle for “enough”.  And many times, “enough” is > “more”. 

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.

Giving Thanks…

We are in the season of giving thanks.  Not that we should wait during other parts of the year to say, “Thank you”, but certainly November and December remind us of our blessings, don’t you agree?  So before I go any further, permit me to say, “Thank you”. 

Thankfully, I am blessed with family, friends, clients and colleagues who enrich my life beyond count.  Thankfully, I have readers who accept my periodic posts and reciprocate with periodic responses of appreciation towards my little ditties.  Thankfully, I have readers such as Chris Corcoran and John McCall.  

Chris is a reader and a client.  Because he knew how much it would mean to me, Chris bought me the book Softwar: An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle © by Matthew Symonds.  Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to work for Oracle back in the day that the majority of this book was focused on. 

Thankfully, I have been fortunate enough to work for some of the 20th century, “all time” business leaders, including Josh Weston of ADP; Larry Ellison of Oracle; and Dave Duffield of Integral Systems (which preceded PeopleSoft and now Workday).  

John is a reader, too.  Earlier this month, he generously sent me a very special email: 

Gary, about a year ago I tried to compile quotes from one of the most wise men in American history. I enjoy your site and emails and I hope these quotes (or most of them anyway) you will find to be as hilarious, spot on and useful as I do. I hope you are well. 

John attached a compilation of Benjamin Franklin quotes for my enjoyment.  Thank you John!  

So, ready or not, its Thanksgiving week!  Hard to believe it’s here already isn’t it?  I guess time flies when we’re heads down, working during these challenging, economic times.  (By the way, there are only 36 days left before Christmas!) 

With the snow we have already had in Denver; winter is upon us as well.  No worries, though.  With the kindness I receive from Chris, John, and all those around me, I will stay warm: 

            A kind word warms for three winters.

Chinese Proverb 

Thankfully, many are optimistic that we will have a successful “Black Friday”; “Small Business Saturday”; and “Cyber Monday” of retail sales.  This will help contribute to our economic recovery. Thankfully, we have retailers who are able to brave the “Advertise & Hope” approach to sales.  Thankfully, I chose a Business-to-Business sales profession where we can go out and “sell somebody something” vs. waiting and hoping shoppers visit our establishment. 

Thankfully, we have people much smarter than me to help put things in proper perspective.  You see, I’m not the smartest guy in the room.  But I am coachable; listen well; and have an excellent memory.  Thankfully, the next best thing to being a genius is to mingle with those who are: 

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

Albert Einstein           

Thankfully, we will spend time with family, friends, food, and fun with a little football and even a movie thrown in during the Thanksgiving holiday.  Thankfully, we will have a few quiet moments to reflect on all we have to be thankful for. 

Thankfully, I have readers who read my posts and subscribe to my book.  May the peace and power of a positive perspective be with you and yours this holiday season. 

GAP 

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

Christ’s birthday

Merry Christmas!  I trust you enjoyed a day of peace, hope and celebration with family and friends.  

Whatever our spiritual beliefs, may each of us find meaning to our life during this time in a way that lasts throughout the entire year. 

May we be of good cheer, too… 

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 

May we 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 

May we 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 

May we remember those less fortunate than us… 

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

                                  Charles Dickens 

May we 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 

And may God bless. 

GAP

Good ‘nough – let’s go home…

I was thinking about the skill true craftsmen have.  About the personal commitment these professionals have to their craft; how they care more about doing the job right than about how much they get paid.  How they care more than their boss does, or their co-workers; even their customers.  Skilled craftsmen do the job right because that’s the only way they know how to do it. 

My Father-in-Law was a craftsman.  He was the trim-carpenter for a builder in the 1960s and 1970s who built million dollar homes in the western suburbs of Chicago.  As you might imagine, a million dollar house in 1970 was some house!  And my Father-In-Law specialized in the final trim work; everything visible – woodwork, doors, windows, recesses, cabinets.  And for a million dollars, perfection was expected.  

But he didn’t care about the expectations; and he didn’t mind those expectations either.  You see, as a true craftsman, perfection was his expectation and that’s all that really mattered to him.  The satisfaction of doing the job right was more important than the amount of his paycheck.   His peace of mind when he went home everyday came from knowing this.  Pride in his work.  No worries; no pretending; no cover-ups; no excuses; no office politics.  Peace-of mind of a job well done – that was his personal reward (that, and a martini before dinner). 

Four decades later, I wonder if these special craftsmen still exist in our fast-paced, automated, outsourced, technology-based society.  Gerald M. Weinberg thinks not: 

Weinberg’s Law 

If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization. 

Do you feel the same way?  Are we losing our pride and skill of true craftsmanship in our white-collar professions?  Certainly, if we think about the eye doctor we are about to turn our two, and only two, eyes over to for Lasix surgery – we definitely hope he or she is like my Father-In-Law, true?  Are other positions with our companies any less important?  Shouldn’t our clients count on us to be craftsmen, too?  Shouldn’t we? 

I like to compare white-collar and blue-collar pursuits.  It has always seemed to me that one key component to success in a white-collar job is maintaining a blue-collar mentality.  Doing the job right the first time should be more important than the paycheck, don’t you think?  (That, and a martini before dinner.)  But can we avoid the good ‘nough syndrome? 

            Good enough never is.

 James C. Collins

Take a plumber, for instance.  Ever notice that plumbers don’t use a hammer in their job?  Many don’t even carry a hammer in their grip.  In just about every other trade, an amateur hack can “get it close” and then pull out a hammer and “knock it into place”.  I call this; “Good ‘nough – let’s go home.”  Plumbers?  Not a chance!  Good ‘nough equals a leak – which is why we called the plumber in the first place.  They can’t go home yet. 

Ever notice the details of a job that’s done at work?  Lots and lots of leaks, yes?  (Is Noah near?)  Seems to me it’s becoming too convenient to adopt the “good ‘nough – let’s go home” approach.  Yes, we can rationalize this because we are sometimes surrounded by leaks – who will notice one more if we add it? 

Well, if we were my Father-In-Law, the answer to that question is – we would. 

GAP 

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Are we making a difference?

Hey everybody – it’s income tax time, yea!  

Have you ever had this happen to you?  I recently asked a very dear, pretty well-to-do, relative, “How are you doing?”  You see, I hadn’t seen him in some time and I was hoping he was well.  (You might have distant friends and relatives, too.)  The answer he gave was not what I was looking for.  Instead of finding out how he was doing, I heard all about how hard he works; what a rat race his company is; how tough he has to be each day just to get by; how much he pays in taxes. 

To get off of the job (and tax) topic, I asked about his family.  Response:  How big his annual bonus better be; how that money is already spent; that he and his wife now have a wine locker at an upscale restaurant (even though for the fifty plus years I have known him I have never seen him drink wine); etc.  His health?  Plans for retirement?  Relationship with his family?  Hobbies and outside interests?  I must have been speaking Greek. 

When he got around to asking about me, I said my job was terrific and taxes are taxes.   I expressed excitement about my son’s wedding this summer to which he replied that they would be much too busy to attend.  You know – commitments and all.  Funny, he and I have both wed once in our lifetimes.  The vows of marriage are important to our family.  One would think such an occasion would be worth changing a daily routine for.  How do you say that in Greek? 

So I’m sure my son and his bride will receive a nice check from this dear, pretty well-to-do relative in absentia.  There won’t be a picture of the check in their wedding album though.  

It’s not a W-2 that makes a difference but rather what we do with our income that’s important, don’t you think?  When we discuss our children they are more important than just a standard deduction.   Imagine the contributions to mankind they will make in their lifetimes (not to mention the pride and happiness they will give us).  Weddings, graduations, birthdays – these are special occasions, not inconveniences, true?  Or is it me? 

Income tax season?  Well, I don’t like paying taxes any more than the next person, and Will Rogers said, “The Income Tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.”  But you know what they say about death and taxes being certain.  We are fortunate to have what we have in our lives, taxes included, yes?  

So this year, like past years, our CPA helped us complete our Income Tax return; we updated our important files and shredded outdated documents; we finished a thorough, financial “check-up”, and our “prognosis” is promising.  We reviewed our household budget and made plans for important projects this year (not the least of which is our son’s wedding).   Of course, this household budgeting process brings to mind our good friend Murphy: 

Addendum to Murphy’s Law:

In precise mathematical terms, 1+1 = 2, where “=” is a symbol meaning seldom if ever.

                                                                         Unknown Sage 

Yet it was my very dear, pretty well-to-do, relative that helped me re-focus my monetary perspective.  James P. Owen put it this way: 

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

                                                                           GAP 

How’s your day?  When life gets tough you could get a helmet – or, you could buy my book The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please visit www.TheQuoteGuys.com.