Keeping it Real

“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”    Oscar Wilde The exceptional person in our world says exactly what they are thinking in any given situation. All of us know at least one person who rarely holds back their thoughts. They stand out. Such a ‘stand out’ is my wife Carol, known by our children and me as someone who “speaks her mind.” Some in our extended family would call it frank speech. While there are times I wish Carol would hold back a few words (sometimes a sentence or two), I … [Read more...]


“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care, for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”    The Buddha “Because I said so!” is a familiar statement – a parental proclamation we heard during childhood and probably have asserted to our own children. Representing a tactic to accomplish compliance without further argument, the request often came at the end of a frustrating conversation with a parent. Do you remember? Perhaps, you were one of the few of us who … [Read more...]


"Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated.  It is hard to make something simple.”   Richard Branson Within your organization and family, do you ever want to throw up your hands, exasperated by the complexity of just about everything of importance? Does it seem at times that those surrounding us make things more complicated than necessary?  Perhaps even on purpose? Confucius, the great Chinese teacher and philosopher, commented on such frustrations when he said, “Life … [Read more...]


“Just whistle while you work Put on that grin and start right in to whistle loud and long Just hum a merry tune Just do your best and then take a rest and sing yourself a song When there’s too much to do Don’t let it bother you, forget your troubles Try to be just like a cheerful chick-a-dee And whistle while you work . . .” Source:  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs She is singing along to a song being played as background music at the restaurant in Orange Beach, Alabama where we … [Read more...]


“You cannot change what you refuse to confront.”  (Source unknown) “Rob!” shouts Larry, jolting my mind out of deep thoughts during an ongoing conversation in which I am not engaged.  Unfortunately, the only word I hear is the last one – my name – which my son-in-law has purposely spoken louder to get my attention. (He’s probably a little upset at being seemingly ignored). Has this ever happened to you? Perhaps you have been the person not being heard. If so, you know how Larry … [Read more...]

Bowline Knot

“The experience of being understood, versus interpreted, is so compelling, you can charge admission.”   B. Joseph Pine, II, The Experience Economy Ask any boating enthusiast to list the top marine knots they use and most will include the bowline knot.  Why do boaters like this knot?  As someone who has great passion for boating and fishing, and who often finds a way to be on the water, I can give three reasons: The bowline knot is simple to tie, absolutely will hold under a heavy load, and … [Read more...]


“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”                                                                                                                     Ralph Waldo Emerson What do you do every single day? What tasks, throughout your life, seem to command more frequency? If you are like most of the ‘electronic people’ of this modern world, you probably check your email multiple … [Read more...]


“A man’s got to know his limitations.” (Source: Magnum Force, spoken by Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan) I am not going to win any kind of Olympic contest during my life time. Age and capability are concrete evidence at this juncture. Does this prove to those radical, positive-thinking gurus (of which I have been accused) that you can’t do everything? There are limitations. There is a thing called reality. “Face the brutal facts!” advises Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great.  Not … [Read more...]

The Breakfast

“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. “ Brian Tracy In a phone conversation, he asks if I would be willing to share a few words at an upcoming breakfast. He is Marty O’Malley, Financial Life Leader and Director of L’Arche Mobile, a non-profit organization that is a favorite of Carol’s, my wife, and mine. Involved with this group a long time, we have contributed financially and with many volunteer hours. Our participation evolves over … [Read more...]

Broken Glass

“There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.”     Henry David Thoreau It’s not the first time for my sisters and me. The shattering sound confirms that the drink container that was in my hand seconds earlier is now in many pieces on the hardwood floor. My first reaction to the mishap is disbelief – surely it had not occurred. How could I be so clumsy? My second reaction is to apologize, of course, but … [Read more...]