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.

Oct 302009
 

You turn on the TV or radio, or pick up a newspaper or magazine, and you would think that Thanksgiving would be an inappropriate holiday this year with economic turmoil, global unrest, and pandemic outbreaks of the swine flu.

But those, as important as they are to the news media, are just temporary side issues in a much bigger scheme of things. We’ll come through it – and be better for it.

I strive to navigate life with thoughts of Thanksgiving each and every day. And although these thoughts are indeed often shared, the fourth Thursday of November is designated as a day in America to formalize our feelings of gratitude for the wonderful life we live and for the wonderful people with whom we share this walk.

I am thankful for so much. Life really is rather splendid when you allow it to be. Although we tend to favor winning the victories, enjoying the happiness, and savoring the rewards, even the struggles, the heartaches, and the losses are worth looking at through tears of joy. If – and what a big word that is – you consider the alternative of not living, and you never fail to remain standing in that one final bastion of strong character, which is hope.

I’m thankful for my family, my friends, my customers, my suppliers, my home, my lifestyle, my community, my country. But most of all I am thankful for today. It’s a brand new chance to get up, dust myself off, and try it again. I’m so thankful that it doesn’t matter that I made mistakes or missed the target yesterday. I’ve got another chance to get it right again now. And what a wonderful opportunity that is!

I’m thankful that we all have that same exact opportunity. Young or old, rich or poor, individual or family, business or government.

But it’s not just an opportunity. It’s a personal responsibility. We can’t ever give up; we must keep on getting up.

Success guru Tony Robbins urges us to reside in a state of mind where we say to ourselves, “Here is an opportunity for me to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary.”

We really can do it.

And that, dear friends, is what I am thankful for. That we are given the power denied to every other creature on the planet. That we are self-aware, that we can learn from not only our past, but from the past of others. That we have freedom of choice in our thoughts and actions to become better than we once were, to make a real difference in the lives of others, to come to the realization that it is not about us and what we gain, but truly it is about the service and the love that we give to others.

May you have a joyous Thanksgiving, and be ever thankful for the life you live. And may you be especially thankful for the today you have been given, no matter how the circumstances of yesterday may have seemed.

Be thankful that YES you can do it. And that today is the day it will happen.

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!

May 262009
 

Much has been written about entrepreneurial vision and passion. While these are without doubt highly important traits, they have also led many companies into financial ruin when the passion degrades into stubborn mule-headedness, and the vision which seems so clear is, in reality, merely an illusion.

Wisdom is where it’s really at, my friends.

Think of it like a race car. Passion is the fuel. Vision is the finish line, but Wisdom is always in the driver’s seat of those who reach the winner’s circle. Wisdom is what allows the creation of workable strategies in business as well as in all of life.

I’ll not pretend to know your business. Only you do. But I can tell you that a change in strategy may indeed be a wise decision for many companies to continue seeing success – or to achieve greater success.

Where does wisdom come from?

It can come from experience, which takes the longest and, unfortunately, sometimes we don’t always understand the lesson right away.

Most effectively, it comes from a knowledgeable mentor. A person who’s been there. Done that. And got a three-piece suit instead of just a T-shirt. A person who is successful in the same or similar arena as yours.

Mentors are certainly not a new idea. The word comes from a character by the same name in Homer’s ancient Greek text The Odyssey. Mentor was the man (and later woman – the goddess Athena in disguise) who tutored and guided Telemachus throughout his travels in search of his father.

Is there a mentor in your life? A trusted friend, counselor, and teacher who is helping you grow in your business, career, education, or social network?

If so, great for you.

If not, where do you find one?

Maybe you already know this person. If you don’t, SCORE, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Rotary Club are great sources of possible candidates.

But remember, once you’ve obtained success, you then owe the price of paying back the favor and becoming a mentor to another, so that they too may achieve.

Pass wisdom along.