Posts tagged ‘positive thinking’

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?

January 3, 2016

Top 2 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail …

There’s all sorts of data out there supporting the fact that most people do not succeed in keeping their New Year’s resolutions, if they even make them at all. Research from the University of Scranton suggests only 8% of folks succeed in meeting their resolutions.

There are 2 main reasons for this:

#1. Not understanding the reason for change

Don’t change to run away from something, change to run toward something. Since I spend most of my time working with businesses, I’ll use a business start-up analogy: Don’t start your own business because you hate your job, start one because you’re passionate about doing something better, or providing a better solution, or helping to improve the world in some way.

If you have a positive reason for making a resolution instead of a negative one, it can motivate and inspire you, which increases your chances of fulfilling the resolution.

#2. Setting goals that are not specific or realistic enough

If the resolution is too general (like “be healthier”), you won’t meet it because you won’t know if you met it. Too much wiggle room. Be specific (as in “lose 12 pounds over the next 6 months and then maintain it”). But if your goal is not realistic (as in lose 70 pounds in 6 months – not something you’d usually do without medical supervision), then you won’t stand a chance to meet the goal.

Be realistic about your resolutions. Do your research and know what is likely vs. unlikely to accomplish. It’s fine to be optimistic, but too much of it leads to being unrealistic.

Happy New Year to all!

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 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!

November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks

On this eve of Thanksgiving Day, I just wanted to give “thanks” again for the joys and rewards of working with all of you. To know that I’ve made a difference in your work or lives, even if it’s just a small difference, is a reward that I cherish.

Whether you spend your holiday with family, friends, or both, I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

October 12, 2014

Is Passion the Answer?

Last week, I delivered a short keynote at a breakfast event called “Too Young to Retire”, held in Syracuse, New York. The event was sponsored by community group FOCUS Greater Syracuse, and was held to attract Baby Boomers who are thinking of starting their own businesses. About 80 folks, overwhelmingly most of them Boomers, were in attendance for this early morning event.

During my keynote, I answered the 2 main questions I hear through my work on my program The Second Boom, which are “Is it too late?” (to start a business), and “Have I failed too many times?” (I’ll give you one guess on my answer to both.)

After my short segment, a panel of 3 local entrepreneurs answered questions by a moderator, and took questions from the audience. One of the themes that emerged from the panelists was something along the lines of “if you have a lot of passion for what you want to do, good things will happen.”

This was mentioned several times, and each time it was mentioned, I had trouble sitting still. Finally, I had to make a comment, and raised my hand, even though by then I was merely a member of the audience.

I said that I felt passion is an important component to reaching for success, but it’s not the only answer. There’s a lot of motivational talk about “thinking positively” and “being passionate”, but as I reminded everyone, that’s not the only thing. You still have to have a realistic plan for the business, one that provides a product or service that solves some kind of problem that enough people are willing to pay money for.

And that is because when you start a business, your goal is to make money. If you don’t make money, you’re just starting a hobby. Businesses make you money, but hobbies cost you money.

Be sure the thing you’re passionate about becomes a business, not just a hobby.

September 3, 2013

The Meaning of Success

Last year, in a survey of 26,000 Americans, Parade magazine and Yahoo! Finance found that almost 60% said they regretted their career decisions. I find that an astounding revelation, and feel even more thankful that I have forged my own path with my own business pursuits.

Success is something that means different things to different people, but part of this involves making your life meaningful to you. In a recent Fast Company article, Wharton Business School professor Richard Shell offer 5 insights on what could make life more meaningful. One I was happy to see was #3, “Discover what you do better than most.”

In my mind, that’s how you start laying the foundation for success and fulfillment, whether you have your own business, or work for someone else.

October 26, 2012

Uncertainty and “What If”

A couple of weeks ago while my dad was visiting my house I had to call 911. Just before the paramedics arrived, things were looking very scary to me since I didn’t know what was happening. After they walked in, he started to look better, and by the time they left for the ER, he seemed to be much better. But I still didn’t know what caused this scary scenario.

I had all sorts of thoughts running through my mind. What if it’s this? What if it’s that? What do we do if it’s this? Or that? How will this or that change his life? I had to remind myself to stop. There was no point thinking myself into a frenzy, until I knew more from the doctors who would examine him and probably run tests.

It occurred to me later that the uncertainty of this scenario is reflected often in business too. Something’s going to change, but you don’t know what, or how it might affect you. Or maybe it won’t affect you at all. But you fret about it even though you don’t have any new information to fret about. And then most of your energy goes into thinking about what if this and what if that.

It’s difficult, but you have to ignore the vicious circle of thoughts and “what ifs” that will swirl around in your head. You must force yourself to not think about things, until you know more. I don’t mean put your head in the sand and act like it’s not there. I just mean you keep looking, listening, awaiting more information, and putting off your worrying and decisions until you know more.

It’s perfectly human to fall into the “what if” trap, but try to be super-human and avoid it. At least until you get enough information.

Oh, about my dad? He ended up being perfectly fine. All tests came back normal, and he walked out of the ER with me later that evening. They really didn’t have any explanation for what happened, other than it’s just one of those things. My dad enjoyed the rest of his visit with us, and returned home.

September 30, 2011

Never Give Up

Two nights ago, on Wednesday night, was the most amazing night for baseball, possibly in the history of the sport itself. Whether you follow baseball or not, you can’t help but carry some of the inspiration over to your own business or career pursuits.

Late in the night Eastern time, in a span of just a few minutes, two favored teams, the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox, lost their chance to go to the postseason. Both teams had leads greater than 9 games ahead of the next contender, as recently as 30 days prior. Both teams lost those leads by playing poorly in September, and because of tremendous play by the contenders, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Even more improbably, Tampa Bay played themselves into the playoffs by defeating the New York Yankees, despite being behind 7 to 0 going into the bottom of the 8th inning. They ended up winning 8 to 7 in the 12th inning.

What’s the carryover for you? Never give up. Keep grinding. You might just make it. Everyone counted out the St. Louis and Tampa Bay teams, but they kept grinding away. And while these teams have their own teammates to lean on during hard times, you be sure you do too. Lean on family, close friends, or even a career or business coach.

And be sure to take action, pronto.