Insights from collectibles: Our friend time

I am a collector.  Throughout my life what I have actively collected has changed but there is always something that I am “collecting”.  At one point in my life, that “something” was clocks.  I’ve now progressed from collecting clocks to having a collection of clocks.

Recently I realized that when I look around at my various collections there seems to be something underlying them all.  What does my clock collection reveal? I am fascinated by and intimately value time. I remain curious as to why we feel such a need to measure it.

Very few of my clocks reliably work.  Each one has a different time displayed most of the time.  It drives some of my friends crazy.  I gave up trying to keep up with them. They are now a reminder of the gift of time, not a measuring of it.

Time.  A moment. A season. A lifetime. Eternity.

Impossible to fully explain other than to say it is without question one place where everything and everyone is equal.  Time is time.  Throughout history, it has been studied and debated.  It is beyond anything else what we ultimately seem to covet most.  And it is something we cannot create or buy.  Many of the most quoted proverbs and sayings have indeed been about our old friend (or enemy!) time.  Here are two that are among my favorites:

Who forces time is pushed back by time; who yields to time finds time on his side.  ~The Talmud

Man measures time and time measures man.” ~ Italian proverb

Some of the most compelling thoughts on time are found in antiquity and the Bible.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 is perhaps one of the most quoted sections penned by Solomon celebrated for his wisdom. For me, it expresses eloquently the lessons we need to learn and remember: “For everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.”

It brought to mind a song that is an old favorite – Turn! Turn! Turn!   This video is a wonderful opportunity to experience that music again and enjoy some incredible photography and images at the same time.  This bit of musical nostalgia for me reminded me of another favorite thought on time from an old English proverb: Time has wings.

Time.  A gift.  Invest it well.


Take your radio to work day!

Old beige vintage retro style radio receiver isolated on white bWe make assumptions about how and to whom we matter in the world. Those will stem from our own beliefs and perspective of the contributions we make.

And yet, sometimes what is most impacting about our life isn’t readily visible to us. We will not always know where we are making the most profound difference.

You see each of us is a miracle. Each of us comes into this life with our own soul print and we make a difference everyday. Even when we aren’t really conscious of it.

Let me tell you a story that brings this vividly to life. In the 1950’s, there were two men that worked in a factory in northern Ohio. One of them worked the afternoon shift and the other the night shift. They did not know each other. Yet their lives would intersect and create profound change.

The young man working second shift had just finished his tour of duty as a Marine during the Korean War. He and his bride had moved from West Virginia to Ohio in search of better opportunities. He often worked the night shift in addition to his regular hours for extra income. One night he was doing just that when he was assigned to a machine next to the other man in our story. Bear in mind that this was not mentally taxing work. In fact boredom was something they continuously contended with, each in their own way.

That night, over the humming of the machines our young Marine heard a very distinctive voice talking about all of his possibilities and how to reach all of those goals he had set for himself simply by changing his thoughts. It was as if this man was speaking directly to him. And so he went in search of the source and found the other man listening to a portable radio. The man speaking on the radio was Earl Nightingale. It was a life changing moment.

Immediately our young Marine was determined! He decided to take on an extra job instead of just extra shifts in order to earn enough money to buy his own portable radio. He had discovered his mentor even before he knew what a mentor was and did not want to miss a single opportunity to hear more! That encounter changed his life. That extra job? It was working as an attendant and mechanic at a local gas station. What happened? Ultimately, he didn’t just show up because he worked there as a mechanic. In time, he showed up because he owned the business.

I doubt that the other man in the story if asked would tell us that the most important thing he did that day was take his radio to work. He wouldn’t say that he changed lives just listening to his radio. But for that young Marine, undoubtedly that was the case. It set his life on a different course. And as a result, it did the same for mine. That young Marine was my Dad.

Throughout my life what I learned most from him beyond the values of faith and family was the miracle of personal leadership and development. He defied all of the odds. He surpassed every expectation. A deeply spiritual man, he did it all with a quiet grace and humility that remains a part of his legacy. There was never a time that he was not reading or later listening to recordings and tapes. In fact, I still have his books and some of those early recordings! From that late night shift in the factory until his death, my Dad continued to live a life that celebrated learning and growth each and every day.

My Dad. He never lost sight of who he was. He never lost his vision of who he could become. And he never stopped growing into that man. He lived that legacy every day of his life. As a result, other lives were changed. And his legacy lives on in those lives. Including mine.

Thank you, Dad for always showing us not only who you were but who we could be. Thank you for being a living example of how to become that person more every day. And thank you to the gentleman that was part of God’s plan for our lives and brought his radio to work so all of this would begin!

In memory and honor of my Dad, Happy Father’s Day to all my readers! Always remember, as Earl Nightingale taught my Dad and he ultimately taught me:

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”

Live today like you want tomorrow to be.

Live well.

Behind the quote: What is courage?

CourageWhat comes to mind when you think about courage?  Do you think of soldiers in battle defending freedom at any cost?  Those that have taken great risks to affect social change? People that have proven through their own fortitude that not giving up matters?

Those are some of the examples I found when researching around the idea of courage – these people that engaged in their lives and in their world. We are the benefactors of their choices, their courage.

It is easier to recognize courage when the battles fought have been won. But that is not where it begins.  It begins in the essence of our character. That is where courage is born. That is why the stories of these heroes matter. Their stories allow us to draw from their example to find courage of our own.

Here are seven quotes on the subject from some proven champions from history.  Each one has a kernel of universal truth in it about courage.  We will need courage to become everything we are meant to be now and in the future.  It takes courage to grow, to change, to speak, even to love.  Do some research – learn more about the life behind the quote.   Their example and words can be a catalyst for change in our own lives if we allow ourselves to be open, to have courage.  Let these become a touchstone to spur you on to your own greatness.

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”  (Winston Churchill)

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”  (Margaret Thatcher)

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” (Martin Luther King)

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”  (Rosa Parks)

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” (Henry Ford)

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” (Dale Carnegie)

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)


Success Live: Where everything old is new again…

Success Magazine has been an integral part of my personal development strategy for many years. I look forward to getting the new edition each month and a subscription is one of my favorite things to gift to those brave enough to show me their potential. When they recently created a new opportunity for learning and connection it was an easy choice to say yes.

Success Live. A single day. Just one block on the calendar. Something to look forward to as much (or perhaps more) for the break in routine as for attending the actual event. An easy yes but frankly not really a star on the page. In all candor, that was how I thought about it. Until I experienced it.

I had forgotten the power of new perspectives.  I had forgotten the energy boost of being in the room. The virtual world is a good thing. It has enriched my life enormously but there is still something to be said for being in the room. When I look back over the past few years, it is clear my most significant personal and professional breakthroughs had their genesis in events I’ve attended in-person.

This conference was different however from most in terms of format. Fourteen speakers. In one day. Seven before lunch. Seven after lunch. And lunch was the only break. You really had to engage to keep up. No time for a wandering mind. If you stopped paying attention you would miss something. And from the very first speaker what you knew without a doubt was that you did not want to miss anything.

Time tested principals and philosophies were front and center. But with fresh voices and life stories demonstrating their continued relevance for all of us.

Here are a few highlights from my notes:

From Brendon Burchard we heard again from Aristotle, who also influenced Will Durant’s writings in his book The Story of Philosophy (1926). He spoke about the science of habit. If you want to know how extraordinary people achieve that status – this is how:

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

Motivation may be what gets us started, but it is habit in the end that gets us to the finish line. We don’t make a difference by what we start, we earn that influence by what we repeatedly do.

Listening to Tom Bilyeu (co-founder of Quest Nutrition) I was reminded of David Bayer’s work which I discovered at a conference last year. Tom’s work also includes the interview series Impact Theory which is rich beyond measure for those of us seeking to understand mastery of our thoughts and self-discipline. His interview with Lewis Howes, another presenter at this event is well worth the listen.

Tom’s presentation was especially valuable to me as this is where I’m spending a great deal of time in self-reflection right now – the idea of keeping our promises to ourselves and installing the right disciplines to help us reach our full potential.

His signature statement for me was this: “Do and believe that which moves you to your greatness.”

It really comes down to these two questions:

  • Who do you want to become?
  • What price are you willing to pay to get there?

Another speaker that has stayed with me was Jonathan Fields. This was a lesson for me in staying open. I wasn’t familiar with his work and his presentation was later in the day. I was nearing capacity for taking in information. What I can share with you is that I have very few notes from his presentation. He drew me in from the start and I didn’t want to interrupt the experience even with notes. It was the presentation in a day of excellence that moved me the most. Since then I have been living with his voice in my head and I’ve been studying his thoughts through his books and other resources. His story is so powerful. His book Uncertainty is what I’m currently reading. There is no question that my future endeavors and writings will be influenced by what I’m learning from him.

A day of reflection and questions. Questions that we need to be asking ourselves continuously to ensure that we are always striving to live our best life and be of optimal service in the world.

These were the challenges I took home with me:

  • What decision have you been unwilling to make?
  • What action have you been unwilling to take?
  • What connection have you been unwilling to initiate?
  • What goal have you be unwilling to set?

Giving ourselves permission to face these questions is where the process begins.  Empowering ourselves to take the next action as we answer these questions is where the transformation begins. Continuing to ask these questions is where our gifts can reach their highest possibilities.

I trust that what I brought home with me also resonates with you. Always remember that there is more value in the rest of your story than you ever dreamed possible. Live today in the belief that you are creating the tomorrow that will transport you beyond achievement to joyous fulfillment.

Live well.

P.S. There is another Success Live event coming up in September.  If you’re looking to capture this experience for yourself, take advantage of the early bird registration. You won’t be disappointed.

What will you never outgrow?

At a recent conference, one of the keynote speakers shared lessons he learned from Coach Don Meyer, a much loved and respected college basketball coach who left an indelible mark on everyone that knew him.

There were three key rules that Coach Meyer lived by and expected his teams to honor as well. They seem simple when you first hear them but great depth is within them.

He said that he was resolved to never outgrow by any titles or status he may have achieved, the mindset of these three rules. Throughout his life, and because of him, countless other lives, they were a guiding compass for always knowing the next right thing to do.

The first rule was that everybody takes notes. We are never finished learning and growing. We all need to pay attention and take notes. What works, what doesn’t work. Champions pay attention and they take notes. They stay in development mode always.

His second rule was simply this: Everybody says please and thank you. Everyone to everyone. We are always living from a state of grace. Everyone merits respect. Everyone.

When it came to the third rule, I will admit that it wasn’t what I expected but after reflection it made perfect sense: Everybody picks up the trash. We are all responsible to leave wherever we are better than we found it. We are all responsible to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Even if that is picking up the trash.

One of my favorite quotes from him came from that third rule. He said that picking up trash didn’t win any titles but every title they ever won came from the fact that they picked up the trash. They always did whatever it took and they left every game better than when they arrived.

It begs the question for all of us of what our guiding principles might be. What are we resolved to never outgrow? If the answer is lacking, that question is the right place to start. It’s the next right thing to do. And Coach Meyer’s rules might just be a worthy launching point.

There were many legacy teaching moments throughout the conference. It was a compelling reminder that our influence goes well beyond our breath. Another memorable moment for me came from Tom Ziglar, son of Zig Ziglar, one of my Dad’s personal heroes as well as my own. Tom shared this: “Legacy is a transference of habit.”

Such a clear way to think about the legacy we are living. What habits are we transferring? Coach Meyer’s life practices and habits are embedded within his rules: Growth, Gratitude and Grit.

This was my first encounter with Coach Meyer’s story.  If you (like me) want to know more, you can learn about his life and legacy here.

If you’d like to explore your own life and legacy, we’re here for you. As your possibility partner, we are committed to helping you achieve more from the rest of your own story than you ever dreamed possible.

Live today like you want tomorrow to be. Live well.