Tag Archives: Overcoming

The only resolution you should make this year

The presents have been unwrapped, the turkey’s been devoured, the crazy relatives have been pushed out the door, and we are all sick and tired of eggnog and Christmas music. It’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions. While losing weight, hitting your sales goals, or quitting smoking are great goals for next year, I’d like to challenge you to make only one resolution in 2014—and unlike the resolutions mentioned earlier, this one has the potential to transform every aspect of your life—your career, your relationships, your dreams and your health. Are you ready for it??

This year, resolve to keep the main thing the main thing.

Whatever the main thing is for you—a career goal, a desire to invest in certain relationships, or a dream you’re chasing—keeping the main thing the main thing will minimize your distractions and focus your actions with the precision of a laser pointer.

For example, if my “main thing” is to be the best husband and father that I can be, I will be working hard to be a great provider for my family—but I’ll also be curbing my late nights at the office so that I can take my wife on a date or catch a movie with one of the kids. I will learn that talking to my daughter about her day might be more exciting than whatever’s being covered on SportsCenter, or that walking our two energetic dogs with my wife transforms a mundane task into an opportunity to spend time with her. Wanting to live a long, full life with my family motivates me to eat a little better and move a little more. It makes me a better listener, a more productive employee, and a more generous giver.

So as you think about your own resolutions, I hope you identify your main thing, and perhaps a few action steps that you can take in order to keep the main thing the main thing.  May your 2014 be an exciting, successful year—but most of all, may it be the year when you begin to make progress on purpose.

Life Secret: Givers are Getters

I was visiting a friend in the hospital. I would love to tell you I was there because that’s just the kind of guy I am: one who visits others in the hospital, but that would be a lie. Truth be told, I had been having quite a pity party for myself. I had just lost my largest customer to a competitor, my retirement investments had taken a major hit in the market, I was worried about having to let some employees go in a bad economy, my car had logged 200,000 miles and was making funny noises, my son was developing a real attitude (and growing a Mohawk) – you get the idea.

While griping about all of this at a family gathering, my ever-wise mother-in-law looked me square in the eye and said, “David, sounds like you need to get your eyes off yourself.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Whenever I feel down, I just go and find somebody who is worse off than me, and I help them in some way,” she said. “You know what happens? My problems seem to shrink and I become very grateful for my blessings.”

Her words became the motivation to go to the hospital to visit a friend who was recovering from an illness. While I was there, a nurse came into the room and asked me to step out for a few minutes so she could take care of some tasks. I didn’t even want to know what that might entail – bedpans, bandages, and blood are all things I will gladly avoid.

So I began to roam the halls of the hospital. I wandered past the over-priced gift shop and meandered by the cafeteria. Eventually, I stumbled upon the interfaith chapel.

I pushed open the door, adorned with stained glass, and peeked inside. It was empty, so I stepped in. There was soft music playing, several rows of chairs, an altar with a kneeling pad, and a cross on the front wall with a table below it. On the table was a basket full of little cards upon which people had written their prayers.

Like a moth to light, I was drawn to the cards in the basket. I felt a little guilty as I picked one up, but I began to read it anyway: “If there is any way you can heal my baby, please, I beg you, do it.”

I picked up another: “Please take this away from my wife and give it to me.”

Card after card I read, my heart aching for people I would never know. Tears began to stream down my face as I continued to read. And then I came across a card I will never forget. Scrawled with a blue crayon were these words:

“Dear God, Please let Mommy live until Christmas. Love, Jenny”

My mother-in-law was right. Suddenly, I didn’t have any problems. I thought I had gone to the hospital to “help” someone else who was worse off than me, you know, to “give” of myself. And while my friend was touched that I had come to wish him well, I was the one who came away from the visit full. I received way more than I gave. That’s the secret that all givers know…in giving, you get.

Focus On Your Strengths

An exhausted and jet-lagged dad had just walked in from a brutal week of working and traveling across the country. As he was unpacking, his son burst into his bedroom carrying a baseball bat and ball and excitedly announced, “Dad, you have to see what a great baseball player I am now!”

“All right, son,” the dad replied. “Just let me change my clothes first.”

“Ok, but hurry! You are not going to believe your eyes! I am the greatest baseball player in the world!”

Baseball-kidA few minutes later, the father followed his son into the backyard, where the little boy proceeded to rest the bat on his shoulder, throw the ball up in the air with his left hand, and then quickly grab the bat with both hands and swing as the ball came back down.

On his first attempt, the little boy completely missed the ball. Undaunted, he retrieved the ball, tossed it back up in the air, and swung again, missing. His dad was starting to get a little embarrassed for him and moved in to help.

“No, Dad!” his son said with a huge grin spread across his face. “One more time.”

With a firm resolution he gripped the bat harder, tossed the ball up, and for the third time, swung the bat – and completely missed the ball.

His father’s heart was breaking for his son when the little boy turned and excitedly pronounced, “Do you see what I mean?! I am a great pitcher! Unhittable!”

Sadly, rather than focusing on what we are good at and enjoying life, we tend to focus on our own weaknesses and shortcomings and that tends to drag us down. Choose to focus on your strengths and figure out how to do “those things” more often.

“No” Does Not Mean Game Over

As I travel in airplanes across this great nation of ours, I have the opportunity to meet many different people. Since I am energized by others, me and my seatmate (or, as my wife would tease me, my new best friend) usually end up having a great conversation. I love to hear about people’s dreams and goals and learn what inspires them. Recently though I have begun to see a pattern… folks who have given up on their dream because they have run into opposition.

From the bank not loaning them the money, to a partner backing out, to the deal falling through, to the economy in general—many are throwing up their hands and saying, “Oh well…I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.”

Phooey! Life is full of opposition. And just because you may have run into a stop sign or brick wall, that does not mean the journey is over!  Here is what I mean:

When the Decca Recording Company rejected the Beatles in 1962, the company said it didn’t like the young British group’s sound, claiming that guitar music was on the way out of mainstream popularity.

When Debbi Fields went to a potential investor for her idea of a cookie store, she was told that it was “a bad idea” and that market research indicated that “America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.” Fields went on to found Mrs. Fields’ Cookies (and probably added to America’s obesity epidemic in the process. But I digress.)

A Yale University professor similarly labeled Fred Smith’s paper proposing the idea of reliable overnight delivery service “unfeasible.” Smith went on to found Federal Express Corporation, known these days as FedEx.

It’s no secret that every one of the people behind those “bad” or unfeasible ideas created something that has become a household name. Right from the start, they experienced opposition, but they didn’t let it stop them from persevering and taking their idea from dream to reality.

Opposition is a normal part of life. Don’t let it throw you off course or cause you to give up on the dream. Pause, rethink, reevaluate, adjust, and keep moving forward!

A Special Gift From A Participant

This past weekend I was doing a presentation for a group using principles from my upcoming book, Leadership Redefined in Las Vegas, NV.  After the presentation was over, I was surprised with a gift from one of the participants.  She had been in an “Overcoming Life’s Goliaths” presentation nine years ago and returned this year with a special gift just for me!  I couldn’t believe it!

If you have trouble viewing YouTube videos, click here to watch this presentation on WeberTV.