Please Forgive Me

“It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”   Saint Francis of Assisi The first weekend in October is two weeks away. In 14 days from now, my life is going to dramatically change. I will never be the same. The year is 1976. My fiancé and future wife, Carol and I will be attending a marriage preparation program called Engaged Encounter (EE). Father Gallagher, the priest we have asked to witness our vows, has requested that we attend this marriage preparation. I do not want to go, but Father … [Read more...]

Knock Your Socks Off

“The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity, and accountability.”   Simon Mainwaring, (social media consultant) My wife Carol and I started Hackbarth Delivery Service (HDS) with a complete dedication to exceptional service. The strategy was successful. Many years later, our company branded that original concept and named it Knock Your Socks Off service. Today, the huge customer response to this brand has verified the value. Branding is an important business … [Read more...]

Oh, No!

“Entire books are being written about the distractions of social media.” Howard Rheingold Tuesday morning marks the final moments of a wonderful fun-filled trip; it is time to return home. Before walking our six-year old pet companion River, who accompanied us on this journey, Carol organizes her morning prescriptions, a routine scene River knows quite well – he patiently waits. Nine days ago, the three of us left our home in Theodore, Alabama, for a two and one-half hour trek to the … [Read more...]

Donor

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”  Henry David Thoreau The offshore fishing team is 13 people, including me as captain. My cousin-in-law Steve drives the boat to our first stop, about an hour away. He also drives back to Perdido Pass, the entrance to our home port in Terry Cove. On this trip, thanks to the driving duty of first mate Steve, I actually take more time to talk to other passengers. One conversation is completely … [Read more...]

Phubbing

“Our kids are actually doing what we told them to do when they sit in front of that TV all day or in front of that computer game all day. The society is telling kids unconsciously that nature’s in the past. It really doesn’t count anymore, that the future is in electronics, and besides, the bogeyman is in the woods.”   Richard Louv Many of my newsletter editions focus on achieving success through best practices based on positive life principles. And my definition for success is being and … [Read more...]

Make It Right

“The power of forgiveness is huge; it is really big, and it can save the world.”               Immaculee Ilibagiza You messed up. Perhaps, you did not intentionally make a mistake that caused discomfort or agony to another person. But, you still fumbled. Now, you need to make it right. But, how? We have all witnessed well-known individuals further bungling an already precarious situation while attempting to apologize to the public and to their family for an unfortunate act they have … [Read more...]

Triggerfish

“He listens well who takes notes.” Dante Alighieri It is one of those hot August days that we are known for in the deep South. Once again, I am enjoying one of my favorite roles - captain on an offshore fishing trip. The targeted fish is red snapper. Thanks to the regulators, the past limited nine-day red snapper season has been expanded to over forty days. A huge bonus for the recreational fishing population. We are fishing some reefs where we have caught red snapper in the past. … [Read more...]

Semantics

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that is has taken place.”     George Bernard Shaw As I begin the oral presentation of my thesis, I point to the triangle on my large presentation pad, and say, “If your concept of love is a circle” – then pointing to the circle I continue, “and my concept of love is a triangle, our communication is going to be difficult because of differing definitions of the words we use.” The primary  objective  is to illustrate for my classmates … [Read more...]

Wow!

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” Tom Peters “Wow” hollers grandson John (JR to his siblings) as he pulls a strip of paper off of one of his Christmas presents. Even though the contents are not visible, his elevated enthusiasm for the yet to be seen toy is highly contagious to family members engrossed in this scene. Each strip of paper, revealing more and more of the gift, is followed by another “Wow”. Later during the day, in a quieter moment - which is difficult to find on … [Read more...]

Little Sister

“Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.”      Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Seeing the familiar number on my cell phone, I quickly press the button and say, “Hello, Janice.”  She begins, “Hey, Robert.”  (Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I am always a little nervous when answering the phone call from one of my sisters).  I am thinking about the possibility of bad news. It is part of being a certain age. Parents experience this when children call, … [Read more...]