Dec 312016
 

Traditionally, New Year’s Day is the time we make resolutions only to rapidly break them. So I’ve long considered them of little value. But there are indeed specific actions we should take.

  1. Reflect on the past year. What went well? What went poorly? What was satisfying? What left you feeling disappointed? What was aligned with your life goals? What wasn’t aligned?
  2. What are your priorities for next year in the areas of health, family, relationships, and career? (In that order – one builds on the other just like a house must be built on a solid foundation.
  3. Identify WHY these are priorities. A strong WHY motivates you to do them.
  4. Turn these priorities into specific actionable goals with deadlines. Goals should be uncomfortable, but not unrealistic. Set only 3-7 goals in each area, since it’s better to achieve fewer than to fail at several more.
  5. WRITE THEM DOWN, and look at them daily! Critical!
  6. Do NOT over-plan. Over-planning is simply a way to rationalize procrastination.
  7. Identify the next step and take it. The next step is always the most important and helps create momentum.

Now work toward them daily and incessantly.     –RG

 

Dec 212016
 

As a small child, Christmas held a special magic I’ve often wished I could experience once again. Mesmerized by the tinseled tree whose outstretched arms protected rewards for a good little boy’s year-long behavior, I anticipated for two weeks what marvelous treasures lay concealed by colored wrapping paper bound with glittering ribbons and bows. I imagined the most wonderful toys the Sears catalog depicted and described!

As I grew, I recognized those gifts for what they truly were – not toys, but sacrifices. I came from a poor family and gradually realized how much they gave up to demonstrate their love for me, doing without things they needed and wanted, preferring to shower me with happiness.

Their example of loving and caring and giving was the greatest gift they could have possibly provided, one that has lasted a lifetime. Do I long to feel that magic I felt as a child again? Yes. Every Christmas. Would I trade it for the feeling of now seeing my loved ones enjoy what I give to them? Never.

Giving is what Christmas is truly about, imitating the greatest gift and sacrifice ever made. The physical gifts we exchange merely symbolize that. My Christmas wish for you, then, is to be part of the ongoing magic, giving and receiving, providing and being provided for, sacrificing and, most of all, loving one another completely.    –RG

 

Dec 302010
 

I’m so happy to see the New Year begin. It’s always been a rather spiritual time for me, symbolizing at a very deep level the passing away of old things and the birth of renewed possibilities. It’s kind of like the “do-over” of childhood – former occurrences are replaced by new opportunities to explore fresh ideas, goals, and prospects.

Whether we succeeded or whether we failed last year means very little. Successes of the past will not for very long carry us forward into our tomorrows, nor will yesterday’s shortcomings prevent us from reaching that beautiful golden ring of the future. The game is officially reset.

So what will you do with the precious and fleeting gift of time that is given to you? That’s the question each of us must answer every moment of every day. For it is these small minute-by-minute choices guided and shaped by our thoughts and innermost desires that eventually determine our destiny.

Your car is packed and the tank’s full of gas. The open road beckons before you, and there are endless destinations. Where will you go? How will you get there? The possibilities are practically limitless. Exciting, isn’t it?

It is for this reason that I love the New Year. The fresh adventure calls us forward to do those marvelous things each are called to do. There is a reason we have all been given the spark of life, and your presence here and now – in this place and time – is most assuredly not an accident, but by the conscious design of something far greater than we.

What will you do to honor this gift and opportunity you are given? Will you leave this earth and the people with whom you share it a better place than when you first arrived? I certainly hope so, for that is the ultimate answer to why each of us are here.

As we begin in the freshness and the youth of this newborn year, please join with me in contemplating your road going forward. The rain will fall, the sun will shine, the grass will grow, and the flowers will bloom. So also will you be given the opportunity to blossom this year into a fragrant and lovely part of this earthly home. Choose the road well, navigate it with strength and courage, with wisdom and understanding, and with joy and peace.

May you prosper in all the good things that you do.

Dec 212010
 

I didn’t write this, and wish I could credit the original author. It is quite good, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s Winter Pageant. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his Teacher, and she assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor.

Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as “Christmas,” I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas Love,” I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row – center stage – held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.

As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold up the letter C. Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, “Christmas Love.” The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside down – totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W”. The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her “W”.

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

“C H R I S T  W A S  L O V E”

And, I believe, He still is. Amazed in His presence….humbled by His love.

Again, HAVE A BLESSED HOLIDAY SEASON. Merry Christmas Everyone!

Dec 012010
 

Ahhh…the holidays. Never was there a more magical time as a child than those eight glorious weeks comprising November and December.

I remember fondly the over-abundant dinner at Thanksgiving and the curious anticipation of presents under the tinseled tree at Christmas (now well over four decades past) that were in stark contrast to the meager lifestyle we “humble” folks lived the remainder of the year.

We didn’t have much by today’s standards, and kids nowadays have things my generation didn’t even imagine as possible. In some ways, that’s very sad. I think being able to pop in a holiday DVD movie in July or to watch one on their iPod whenever they want robs the “specialness” out of this time of year.

Who remembers searching the TV Guide listings (in the days before the channel grid at the push of a button) to make sure you didn’t miss the only showings of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, “The Little Drummer Boy”, “Frosty the Snowman”, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”? Can you still see Santa sledding down the snowy hill perched atop a Norelco electric razor? I sure can.

Those shows helped shape my moral values – aided by my dear grandmother’s belt and apricot-tree switch, of course – by describing a world in which self-sacrifice, teamwork, and generosity overcame all obstacles barring the path to goodness.

Now we’re treated to such programming as “Larry the Cable Guy’s Star-Studded Christmas Extravaganza” which starts out with Larry in a bar, stealing drinks from midgets dressed like Santa’s elves, and “Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation” that has Buford confiding that he “has a method” – act any way you want all year long, and then right before Christmas, perform one big selfless act of kindness.

Have we lost the traditions and values of our previous generations? Absolutely not. If you think we have, may I point out how Americans rescued oil-soaked animals, cheered the freedom of trapped miners, and gave so much to the victims of the Haitian earthquake? We are indeed a kind, generous, caring, strong, and resourceful people.

We just don’t talk about it or teach it as much as we should. In our quest to honor diversity, we’ve perhaps forgotten (or have grown fearful to point out) that a country stands only through unity – that a house divided will surely fall.

My wish this season is that we might all see it’s not about us, but really it’s about others, that we might all love and give generously to those around us. And that we might never fail to teach the proud traditions and the courageous strength of our heritage to the next generation who are relying upon us to do so.

I wish a truly Merry Christmas to all and hope that even if you do not celebrate this most glorious of holidays that you at least partake of it’s traditional values. My friend, I honor your diversity, I respect your right to think for yourself, and I admire your strength. May we stand together always as one for what is right and for what is good. And may you be blessed in all the righteouness that you do!

Dec 232009
 

So what’s up for the New Year? I hope you’re not one of those folks who start making resolutions they’ll never be able to keep. (If you can, great for you – most of us, however, just don’t do so well…)

Resolutions to accomplish more, eat less, be healthier, save money, and maximize your earnings potential start out with the best of intentions, but usually get moved first to the background and wind up out-of-mind as life gets busier. When you finally remember and realize you haven’t gotten there, it’s easy to feel like a loser or a failure. But you’re not. You just used the wrong approach to the problem.

A man I study about who wandered around Israel a couple thousand years ago instructed us to do just two things and everything else would fall into place. Similarly, if you do just this one thing I suggest, then all your resolutions will fall into place without even thinking about them. Just…

…Be deliberate every moment.

Deliberate means “carefully weighing or considering, intentional, careful or slow in deciding, steady in movement and action”. Deliberate is applied to what is done not in haste but with full realization of what one is doing.

If we are deliberate every moment, we will not say harmful words to those we love, sit for hours in front of the TV set, eat that second piece of pie with the extra large scoop of ice cream, smoke, drink, drive too fast, argue with the rude customer, buy it just because it’s on sale, or neglect to help others.

If we are deliberate every moment, we will put out that extra effort, read the book that will benefit us, exercise even when we’re tired, do the job that much better, make the plans we should, eat the salad, work the extra hour, give the compliment, lend the hand, say we’re sorry, and succeed in life.

Isn’t that so much better than a resolution?

Jun 232009
 

Concerts, parades, barbeques, and fireworks come to most peoples’ minds when they think of the Fourth of July. And we’re no different, even though we may be entrepreneurs at heart.

While we join in the celebration of our nation’s independence, we understand as well that it is for our own individual independence that we are still fighting. And we fight for it in our marketplace each and every day.

So how will you celebrate the holiday entrepreneurial style?

The Concert

A successful orchestra is made up of talented individuals, led by a conductor, each playing their vital part of a well-written score. Think of your employees as musicians. You are the conductor. And the score is your business plan.

Do your employees have the right talents? Are they hitting the right notes with the right rhythm, or do they need more practice (training) so they can play along well?

Are those with greater talent given recognition for such? Are you giving them an occasional chance to solo and take a well-deserved bow?

Are there others perhaps that just cannot gain the skills to play a polished concerto, and they need to go play elsewhere?

Does your business plan harmonize all the elements together, or is it still a bit choppy in places, requiring retuning and revision? A good business plan, like a well-written symphony, ties everything together with a recognizable and pleasing theme that attracts many listeners.

Are you, as the conductor, leading in the correct tempo, and communicating well your instructions and expectations to your orchestra? If not, believe me, the musicians and the audience (your customers) know even before you do.

The Parade

Dressed in lively costumes, marching in line, making lots of noise and impossible to ignore, your marketing campaign must be in fine shape.

Are you parading your products and services to a cheering crowd? Does the crowd like what they see, or are they perhaps focused on a more spectacular float coming down the street?

Remember, you can’t change your customers, you can only change yourself. So find out what they like, and parade it before their eyes and ears.

Barbeque

Ahhh…the sizzle of success. The sweet smell of summertime profits. What does your financial main course look like?

Are you allowing the dollars to grill for too long before you turn them? Quick-turned dollars fly out and back in quickly, plumping in the process, and definitely have the best financial flavor.

Dollars that simmer too long on the back burner tend to get burnt up when nobody wants them on their plate. Don’t let good dollars wind up in the trash. Keep turning them quickly while they’re still hot.

And don’t forget to put a few on your own plate. After all, your ARE the master chef.

Fireworks

Oh, that my life would be like a rocket, booming, soaring high above the crowds, captivating spectators with a splendid burst of vibrant colors, leaving the audience breathless in awe before the excitement fades away. That I, albeit for a brief moment, may make a positive difference in the lives of others and be forever etched in their memories….

Enjoyment. Passion. Enthusiasm. Freedom.

This is the joy of entrepreneurship. This is why we work the long days and then continue well into the night – because we believe in something worth believing in.

Our effort is fueled by our passion. Let the idle dreamers merely dream their lives away. But let we who create, create something of lasting value.

Never, never, never lose the passion that drives you. But instead enjoy, celebrate, and feed the fire within you each and every day.

Happy Independence Day!