#720 It’s not about what happens to you in life…

Posted by admin July - 25 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Mickey Ibarra served as the director of intergovernmental affairs for the Bill Clinton administration. He had a rough go as a kid, growing up in foster homes but managed to become very well educated and very successful. Mickey is the personification of the belief life is much more about how you react than about what happens to you.
My good friend Rick sent me an article about Mickey and his life. I lifted this quote from that article to share with you.
Mickey Ibarra: “Yes I believe I am a great example of a person born of average ability who through hard work has been able to exceed the average. I’m not going to outthink anybody but I will outwork just about anybody.
I smile. It doesn’t cost you a thing. Who wants to be around a frowny face? The business of government is about people. If you don’t like people, find yourself another line of work. And BE NICE! It’s nice to be important but it is important to be nice.”
2016 Motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#719 More on Character

Posted by admin July - 18 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Many of us have been falsely accused of something from time to time. I’m not talking about criminal things, I’m talking about what a coworker, a neighbor or even a family member might say.
There are two slices of this to examine. First, do you carry yourself in a way that invites the accusation? If you have a short fuse and you are falsely accused of berating someone, can we say that the way you live made it easy for people to believe that accusation?
Secondly, what do you do when you hear an accusation against a friend or coworker whom you believe in? Do you say, “Wow, I can’t believe Susie did that?” Or do you say, “I know Susie. There is no way she did that?”
Jim Rohn said, “Because of all he was, he did not have to say.” I like that. Urban Meyer’s great book, Above the Line talks a lot about this. Living above the line means there is a standard, a height at which the character bar is placed that you choose to live above.
That is exactly right. If you carry yourself in accordance with that standard and live life above the line you will find you do not avail yourself to gossip and accusation and, in fact, your character is such that a false accusation against you damages the reputation of the accuser.
2016 motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#718 Training

Posted by admin July - 11 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

It is possible to manipulate someone by scowling and constantly disapproving. It is possible to manipulate someone by talking down to them and questioning their every decision. The problem is that while you may have modified the behavior, you have a wounded person and the wounded never function at 100%.

It’s sometimes harder to bite your tongue to maintain patience and teach but if you do you’ll have behavior that comes from the inside out.

This isn’t to say that the carrot and the stick don’t both get some use but the point is to teach and encourage the behavior you want so that it becomes the normal course of action rather than a flinch.

In the end, whether you’re training employees, children, or dogs, the object of the training is to build a behavior that is ingrained and carries forth even when you aren’t looking.

2016 Motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#717 Charactor

Posted by admin July - 5 - 2016 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

When someone thinks badly of me, and it isn’t true, I do two things. First, I consider the source.  Is the person who is thinks I did this foul deed credible or are they are projecting some of their own issues on to me with the accusation.

The next thing I do is go inside. I do a quick Frankie review and try to see if there is a part of me that I am putting out there that would make someone think that I am capable of this thing.

Not so much what you say, but the way that you carry yourself and walk through life should disallow a good deal of negative chatter. That is character.

Character defends you so well that if you find you have to defend yourself too much or too often, you probably lack it.

2016 Motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#716 The Ubiquitous Smart Phone

Posted by admin June - 27 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

The ubiquitous smart phone

Too many people rant about our reliance on our smart phones and how we will all look like question marks some day because of our phone searching posture. I love my smart phone. I love getting directions in an instant or telling Siri to remind me to check on the plumber Thursday at 9. I love getting a quick answer to “How old is Marissa Tomei?” I love learning Italian on my Babbel app and getting a car to pick me up in 5 minutes rather than fighting for a cab.

My objection, and I suspect most people’s objection to the smart phone. is the distraction. When I was a competitive bodybuilder I was taught to “put my head inside the muscle I am working.” Which means to focus on biceps, to the exclusion of all else, when I am training biceps. When I see a guy texting in between sets at the gym it makes me cringe.

I am a big believer in “Do what you’re doing while you’re doing it.” Texting while driving is stupid and dangerous. Texting while we are having a conversation is rude. Looking at your phone while you are at dinner with family or friends takes you out of the moment as does looking at it when you’re out for a hike or a nice walk in the park.

Do what you’re doing while you’re doing it. Be where you are. This philosophy has been around forever and it was a challenge long before computers and smart phones came on to the scene. Distractions have always been the nemesis of good work, good conversation and beautiful moments. Now we carry the distraction in our hands.

That guy in the gym texting in between sets of curls had arms like pencils but he could probably drive a nail with his thumbs. Probably not what he was after…

2016 Motto Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#715 Leadership

Posted by admin June - 20 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

As many of you know I spent four years in the US Navy Presidential Honor Guard. During those years I learned a lot about leadership.   In the military, the insignia on your shoulder allows you to boss around those with lessor insignia.  The mistake I’d seen, all too often, was people believing that rank was all there was to it.  High ranking officers can be put there by virtue of time in service, test scores and by appointment.  Leaders, conversely, become leaders by earning the position.  Don’t get me wrong, I did meet many good leaders during my time in the Navy.  I only point out the difference between rank and leadership to make the point that even in a system with a well-defined chain of command, leadership is never about rank.

A good friend of mine, who is the exemplary leader of a strong company, recently had breakfast with a Marine Corps General. The General is, of course, high-ranking and according to my friend, he is also a gifted leader.  My friend asked him about his thoughts on leadership.  He responded;

  1. Know your stuff.  Be knowledgeable, up to date and always learning.
  2. Take care of your people. Take the time to get to know them and what motivates them. Respect them as individuals while integrating them in to a cohesive team AND if after working with them, they don’t fit in to the team, get rid of them because you owe it to the others.
  3. Be a person of character. Be someone that others can depend on. Let your people know what you stand for, what you expect of them and be uncompromising in your commitment to your mission and your people


I have nothing to add…

2015 Motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#714 the Softening of the language

Posted by admin June - 11 - 2016 - Saturday ADD COMMENTS

This is a pet peeve week for me. I have issues with the inadvertent softening of the language. First of all, let me tell you that I am a believer in the Meheraban hypothesis. His experiments at UCLA led him to publish that 57% of our message is received visually, 36% is the tone and verbal inflection and just 7% of our message is the words we use.

So, when I listen to speakers that throw in “sort of” and “kind of” throughout their message with a vocal inflection that matches those weak phrases, it infuriates me!

I have studied communication for years. I give lectures and do trainings on communicating so to witness an error as egregious as this, spread through society like an airborne virus in a Robin Cook thriller makes me crazy!

I want to know who patient zero is.   Who is the first non-linguist who decided to attenuate his own message by uttering, mealy-mouthed, “I sort of think that…” NO YOU DON’T! YOU EITHER THINK IT OR YOU DO NOT!

This “Sort of, Kind of” thing has crept into language as a guise for being understated or humble or intellectual or I don’t really know what! What I know is that those who have adopted this speech pattern are worse for it and it is pervasive.


I would love to go on a rant about Um as a placeholder in speaking but I fear I have already reached the end of your blog-reading tolerance. Um, perhaps, I can sort of, kind of, write about that another time…

2016 motto” Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

The Wind and the Sun #713

Posted by admin June - 6 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

At 1:01 AM on June 5th, the miracle occurred.  My Angel, Alicia, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.  When Alicia was diagnosed they said this day would never come.  Thanks to the generosity of so many of you and the good work of the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, they were wonderfully wrong.  God Bless Alicia and her beautiful little girl, River. 

For this week’s thought, my favorite Aesop fable:

The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveler coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveler to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveler. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveler wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the
traveler, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

#712 The Girl Who Cried Wolf

Posted by admin May - 30 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

The Girl Who Cried Wolf

Are you dismissed out of hand because your reactions are too extreme and therefore unreliable

Phil asks, “How is the new guy doing in accounting?” Janet replies, “Tina doesn’t like him.  Says he’s slow to catch on.”  Phil says, “Tina doesn’t like anyone and says they are all slow to catch on!  Please check with Diane to see how he’s really doing.”

Tough to please is OK. Always disapproving or negative isn’t

I worked with a guy who predicted a loss or failure early on in almost every project. He was in a position of authority and while he wouldn’t shut down an idea he would express enough doubt so that if it went south he could say “I warned you guys.”  Eventually, we came to disregard him entirely because his primary interest was in being right, not in the value of the idea.


If you are a doom-caster perhaps you are coming from a place of help, experience and fair warning and you’re probably reading this remembering all of the times you called it right.


That’s fine, but the parking assist warning in my new car has beeped so many times, when I know for sure I have a few inches left, that I have turned that feature off entirel

Being judicious with warnings and advice gives you a greater chance of being heeded and helping folks to avoid driving in to a ditch. That’s what you want…isn’t it?


2016 Motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#711 Just My Luck

Posted by admin May - 23 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

A friend of mine was telling me about her Dad. She said he was a miserable guy; perpetually unhappy.  She said he always spoke about having the “Bernstein Luck” which was no luck at all or constant bad luck.  He blamed anything that didn’t go his way on “The Bernstein Luck.”  He said his Dad had it and his Dad talked about his grandfather the same way.

If it rained on his golf day, It was “The Bernstein Luck.” If the boiler broke, It was “The Bernstein Luck. If the car got a flat or there was a traffic detour or the restaurant ran out of the dish he ordered, it was “The Bernstein Luck.”

I’ve had a flat tire and some broken appliances. I’ve been stuck in traffic and rained out of an events but I don’t fundamentally believe that I caused those things to happen or that that happen more to me than they do to you.

This man, THESE GENERATIONS OF MEN, espoused this philosophy to their children to the point that their legacy is of hapless men who got what they expected; a raw deal in life.

There is so much to be learned from this; but most of all, as I think about my Darling Alicia due with her little girl due any day now, I think about the example I’ve tried to set for my family and the responsibility she and her husband are about to take on in setting the example for their little girl.

This friend of mine remembers her Dad first by his self-defined ill-fated, life. That’s bad enough but what about her world view?  How much did he poison her well before she moved out and dug her own?

2016 Motto. Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!