Posts tagged ‘motivation’

February 11, 2017

Playing to Win

No matter who you rooted for (unless you were rooting for Lady Gaga), what a thrilling Super Bowl it was last weekend, with New England coming from way behind to win in overtime. At one point, the young, upstart Atlanta team raced out to a 28-3 lead, but somehow did not score a single point after that.

There’s been plenty of analysis in the sports columns about how they lost, what the key plays were that turned the momentum, and which plays should or should not have been called. It’s easy to second-guess after the results are in. So I’ll add my own contribution to this debate, but from a completely different perspective.

As young as the Atlanta team is, I happen to think that there’s a possibility that two collective thoughts doomed the team in the third quarter when the score first reached 28-3: (1) “We’ve got this well in hand, everyone was saying we couldn’t do it,” and (2) “Don’t blow it now.”

Those thoughts together lead to a strategy of playing “not to lose”. If you have thoughts of playing not to lose, or playing not to make a mistake, then you generally stop doing whatever it was that got you to that point of success. And because you change your style of work, you often won’t get the same successful results.

I wonder if playing “not to lose” was indeed the beginning of the end of the game for the Falcons. What do you think?

January 28, 2017

Another “Happy New Year” – Why Not?

Today is Chinese New Year’s Day, the start of the Year of the Rooster, by the lunar calendar. Happy New Year! All the best for health, happiness, and prosperity in the coming year.

Why not celebrate another New Year’s holiday? It’ll give you another chance to reflect — again — about what you accomplished last year, and what you’d like to accomplish in the coming year.

In case you’re wondering, celebrate by adding chicken, fish, long noodles, and eggs to your menu sometime through the day. If you already ate, have some tomorrow. They’re all supposed to bring you good luck, and as you know, you can’t have too much good luck!

November 23, 2016

Giving Thanks

For a second Thanksgiving in a row, I’m blessed to be thankful for being with my family. Those of you who read my posts here and on LinkedIn know what happened to me a year and a half ago, so being here to write this and feeling great gives me much to be thankful for.

There are irritations in life, but in the end they’re just irritations. Let those be, and focus on the greater things that you know you are thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

August 15, 2016

Olympic Motivation

So I’ve been a bit tardy, not having posted for a little while, but don’t worry — this time around, I’ve just been busy. The Olympics in Rio have been front and center, and I’m struck yet again by some of the stories of champions who shed tears on the podium. Those who have talked about it have mentioned that the emotions come welling up when they think of the road that they took to get there, and all the adversity and pain they overcame.

Every four years — actually, now every two, with the Winter Olympics filling the gap — we hear some of the best stories about Olympic competitors who reached their peak after overcoming adversity. It’s an occasional reminder that when you think it’s bad, it might really be, but maybe there’s a way to fight back, conquer it, and still get to where you want to be.

Here are a few inspiring stories covered in a piece on the British website Metro:

Inspiring stories of Olympic competitors in Rio

I saw the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, win his race last night. Who should I watch tonight?

December 24, 2015

A New Meaning of Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve, and I’m realizing that Christmas this year has a new meaning for me … Christmas has already arrived.

I know, I know, that sounds like it’s straight from some movie. But for me, it’s really true this year. You probably read about my medical emergency that I described in an October post. The fact that 10 months later I’m here, feeling great, and that I can look forward to the future, is my Christmas gift.

A gift that’s so big it can never be wrapped or put under a tree.

Oh sure, I’ll still enjoy watching my loved ones open their presents. And I’ll still enjoy opening some too (*wink*). But I could be just as happy sitting with my wife and daughter on Christmas morning, and feeling the love.

So for all of you, I hope you’re feeling the love too, this Christmas Eve and all year long … of family near and far, and of loved ones near and far.

October 20, 2015

I’m Back, and Why Things Will Never Be The Same

It’s been a while since I last posted to my blog, so I wanted to bring you up to date on why the silence. Back in February, in fact exactly 8 months ago to this day, I lay in a local hospital intensive care unit starting my recovery after open heart surgery. The day before I was admitted suffering from chest discomfort, received an alarming diagnosis of an emergent condition involving my heart, and underwent surgery from 10:00 at night until 3:00 the next morning.

I’ll spare you the details, but it was a medical event that was sudden, completely unexpected, and one which at the time I thought had a very high mortality rate associated with it. I had not been a person with high blood pressure, and have no past family history of heart disease. I don’t smoke, am not overweight, work out up to 6 days a week, and eat sensibly and in moderation.

Yet there I lay, on the bed just before being wheeled into the OR, about to say “see you later” to my wife and 12-year-old daughter. But the most frightening thought was that I really didn’t know if it was going to be “goodbye”, and if I was seeing my wife and daughter for the very last time.

The hardest part of that moment, even harder than the uncertainty of wondering if I was going to die, was holding my daughter’s hand and seeing her face as I said to her,

“It’ll be okay, sweetie. But just in case, take care of Mom, okay?”

She nodded, face full of tears, eyes full of fear, lips trembling. I will never forget such an indelible image.

Thankfully, the morning after surgery, I woke in the cardiac ICU to start my recovery, 8 months ago today. And in the early afternoon, I was even more thankful, almost overjoyed, to see my wife and daughter walking down the hallway toward my bed.

Fortunately my recovery over the weeks and months since, have gone well. I adjusted to, then conquered the uncertainty of a new normal, regaining my strength along the way. And so here I am, finally getting around to posting a blog entry for the first time since before I was stricken.

Why will things never be the same for me? Because I learned from this that you never know. You never know when your time is up on this earth.

I suffered the medical version of a car accident. That morning, I got up, went about my usual routine, made a couple of phone calls, and expected to take the afternoon off to spend with my family.

Then suddenly I was in the hospital, having life-saving surgery for half the night. It was all very sudden and out of the blue. Like a car accident.

But going forward, that doesn’t mean I’m going to live every day like it’s my last. Because then I wouldn’t be doing any long-term planning, and that could be a problem assuming I’m still going to be around for the long term.

And it also doesn’t mean I’m going to live in fear of what might happen next. Because then I’d wouldn’t be doing much of anything except being fearful.

What’s different for me now is to readily and repeatedly appreciate the most valuable things in life I have … my family, close friends, that my health is good again, and that I can look forward to being around for a long time. This whole thing has reminded me that if there’s something I think is important to do, like call up a friend I’ve been meaning to for a while, or see how someone else is doing, then I should do so, and not wait.

It’s also given me a sense of what’s truly important in life, and what’s truly insignificant in the big picture of things.

Because you never know. Which is why I try to be sure that I give my wife and daughter a hug or a kiss when I have the chance. And to be continually thankful that I have that chance.

Perhaps the biggest difference between now and before, is how I’ll look at my birthdays. I used to think, probably like most people, that with each passing birthday I’m a year older and a year creakier. I used to complain good-naturedly about “getting old”.

No more.

I now know that with every future birthday I celebrate, I’ll have been blessed enough to make it through another year, being with family and loved ones, doing the kind of work that I really enjoy doing. And that is something worth celebrating every time.

I’m back.

December 31, 2014

A New Year’s Challenge

Here’s my challenge and a wish for you as another New Year approaches. Check out this short 2-minute video I recorded just for you.

Happy New Year!

December 15, 2014

Keeping the Faith

I happened to be watching the 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street the other night on cable. Lawyer Fred Gailey (played by John Payne), had just told his girlfriend Doris Walker (played by Maureen O’Hara) that he had quit his law firm to defend Kris Kringle. Despite everyone telling him to drop the case, Fred said that if Kris had faith in him, he wouldn’t want to abandon him.

When Doris appeared dismayed at Fred’s decision, his face clouded over as he asked “Don’t you have faith in me?” To which Doris replied, “It’s not a matter of faith, it’s just common sense.”

Naysayers have been with us for generations, in film and in real life. Fred is intent on achieving something no one else thinks can be done. Even those closest to him, like Doris, express negativity, masking it as a comment that’s supposedly “common sense” or as a plea to “listen to reason.”

If you’ve done your homework and have faith in what you’re trying to achieve, feel free to ignore the naysayers in your life, no matter how close they are.

Oh, and Happy Holidays!

September 2, 2014

If Peyton Can Do It, Why Can’t You?

Over the summer I read a story on the ESPN website about Peyton Manning and his offseason preparations. Though he’s a sure-fire Hall of Famer and has a ton of accomplishments including one Super Bowl championship, no one apparently works harder than he does. The sting of the last Super Bowl loss is just too great to ignore.

At an age and level of accomplishment that could cause anyone to start dialing back, Peyton is doing anything but. He arrives early, stays late to work with young receivers, and is constantly self-evaluating. He’s not bashing himself or others, he’s not being unfair, he’s just assessing where he can improve and do even better. That’s all just plain hard work.

Sometimes in our careers, businesses, or lives we might think we’ve come far and can dial back or even coast a bit, and that’s human nature. But if Peyton can continue to work hard, why can’t you?

February 17, 2014

An Awesome Experience

10 days ago, I stood in front of 800 people packed in an auditorium, delivering a speaking engagement that I called “The 10 Aha! Moments of Entrepreneurship”. Most of the attendees were students, from grade 7 through grade 12, at The Pingry School, a private preparatory school in New Jersey. I wanted to give them 10 things to think about from the world of entrepreneurship.

After the keynote, a couple of dozen students moved up close to the stage for a one-hour Q&A session about anything on their minds. It was during this conversation that I got a feel for the interest and motivations that many of the students share. By the time I left, after touring the school and hearing about some of their ongoing projects, I couldn’t help but feel energized by what I’d seen and heard.

I went there to inspire them, and they in turn inspired me. What an awesome experience!