Details Matter

“In the successful organization, no detail is too small to escape close attention.”  Coach Lou Holtz The BET, my next book, is in the final phase before heading to the printers.  According to the experts, and there are plenty of them if you google certain words, the actual book cover really matters in getting your book sold.  The book cover is the first part that a potential buyer sees. Details matter. If you incorrectly spell one word in the first chapter, a reader might give up on you … [Read more...]

A Family Approach to Success

“It is important for me to carve out time in my schedule to spend quality time with my family.” Belinda Johnson Andrew leans over and says to me just a few simple yet, powerful words. The conversation takes place in a gathering hosted by my sister, Janice. Present in the room are her three sons and their families from Colorado, South Carolina and Birmingham, Alabama. We are gathered in the living-dining room of the rented condo on the beach in Orange Beach, Alabama. Meeting seven young … [Read more...]


“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”  Helen Keller River, our Australian Labradoodle and a real member of the Hackbarth family, is traveling with us on a road trip to Jackson, Mississippi. Less than four hours from Mobile, the Capital of Mississippi is home to one of the terminal branches of Hackbarth Delivery Service (HDS). My wife Carol and I have planned this journey to personally say goodbye to Robert Moody, who has been with our company for over … [Read more...]


“A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”   Mark Twain If you had 10 words that would accurately  describe you, which 10 adjectives would you use?  What would be the 10 words you would like for others to use in describing you? Finally, do you know what words other people would use in describing you? Fill in the blanks: “I am” (insert the adjective that best describes you) “I am . . . “(using an adjective that others would use in … [Read more...]

Being Connected

“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” Aristotle (384-322BC) “Being aware is more important than being smart.” This is a quote from the book, Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior, written by Phil Jackson, NBA All-American and former head coach of the Chicago Bulls. Phil Jackson had the privilege of coaching one of, if not the greatest of players in NBA history – Michael Jordan. He knew that Michael … [Read more...]

The Voice

“If we always helped one another, no one would need luck.”   Sophocles (996-906BC) The gallbladder surgery is over and Lucille, my mom, is now settled in her hospital room. After talking for a few minutes, it is apparent she wants to rest. My dad, Carol, my wife, and I go to the cafeteria for coffee and a snack. After a few minutes, Carol returns to check on Mom – an ultimately fateful decision. Dad and I stay behind, continuing our conversation. About 20 minutes later, after a short … [Read more...]

Angel Biscuits

“Our mistakes and regrets are not barriers to becoming who we can be; they are a necessary ingredient.”  David Schnarch, Ph.D. I do not drink buttermilk.  Just the thought of consuming this beverage is unpleasant.  The last time I took a sip of this thick liquid was so long ago that I can’t actually remember specifics. But, the experience permanently sealed in my brain that this was not a drink for me.  I only know one person who ever drank this stuff – my mom, who was probably the influence … [Read more...]

Kite Flyer

“Pilots take no special joy in walking. Pilots like flying.” Neil Armstrong During a visit to our condo in Orange Beach, my sister Janice assembles a kite she bought at the local Al’s 5 & 10 Store.  This kite is sophisticated and unlike the basic model flown by young kids every day  . . . without their parents help. With sophistication comes some difficulty. Janice and I are joined by another of our sisters, Dianne, in an open grassy field.  ‘Pilot Janice’ is holding the string while … [Read more...]

Mental Toughness

Are you mentally tough? How do you know? This question came to mind recently when I had the pleasure of attending a luncheon at the University of South Alabama where the main speaker was Joey Jones, head football coach. He is familiar with the public work of the Navy SEALs, a U.S. Navy special operations unit. Getting permission from the president of the University, Coach Jones organizes an experience for the football team with the SEALs. In the several days of challenging jobs, it is now … [Read more...]