Photo Friday

Anthony Delcore reaches for a volley.

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FOCUS: Tell the Truth! (v3n12)

Selected Life Lesson
Do not lie and always tell the truth no matter how hard it may be.
-Kate N’s life lesson from Olathe, Kansas

Richard’s Thoughts…
There is an old saying from Mark Twain: A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. We know that to be true. Lies can be easy to tell. They can save your behind. But they can also erode your life and your career.

And it’s not just about lying. It’s about being honest. If you make a mistake, own up to it. You’re earn the respect of your friends and co-workers just by simply owning up to it. In my work, I have a weakness. If I am given a task and I don’t write it down, odds are, I will forget it. It’s happened before where someone asked me to do something and because I didn’t write it down, it didn’t get done. In those situations, I accept the blame and fix the problem.

It is hard admitting wrongdoing, but it adds respect and honor to your name. It happens all the time: birthdays, anniversaries, meetings, reports … just be honest and everything will be okay.

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A Rare Breed

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*Beginning in 2010, I started writing a bi-weekly column, “From Richard’s Oft Cluttered Desk” which appears every other Wednesday.

Four days ago we said good-bye. And thank-you. It happens a lot to me when I say farewell to my friends. I am very thankful for them. Of this I am very public about. But it wasn’t my friends this past weekend. It was an athlete.

Rarely in sports do we get to do the same thing we get to with our closest friends. I can count on two hands the athletes that I said farewell and thank-you to – at the same time. It would take a whole stadium packed full of painted-faced crazed fans to count how many times I’ve only said “good riddance.”

There was the man whole grew up in front of America and the world’s watchful, and quite often, scornful gaze. He won, then lost. He won, then lost more. He fell off the face of the earth. He reclaimed his glory and became one of the game’s best ambassadors and philanthropists.

I recall an athlete who just played because he loved it. He played for one team his whole career. He won three championships and was a complete gentleman on and off the ice. His career ended possibly prematurely with an injury, but he left with grace and compassion.

One of his competitors did the same. He also played for one franchise his whole life. He was captain for much of his career and won two championships. He didn’t fight, he just played with a quite poise, worked in his community, and was a man of his word.

An athlete who isn’t retired, but will probably be the next person who makes my list recently signed a new and quite massive contract with his hometown team. He could have taken ever larger paychecks in the glitz of New York, but he stayed true to his roots. He plays the game with passion and kindness in an unforgiving position. And he’s good, but doesn’t act like it.

Andre Agassi. Steve Yzerman. Joe Sakic. Joe Mauer. Do those names ring a bell? Those are the first four names that come to mind when thinking of athletes I’ve said good-bye and thank you too.

Another one was just added to this list, but has been on his way there for nearly a decade. He won his sports grandest prize seven times. Seven straight times. That is LA Laker or Chicago Bulls dominance. But think about that. For seven years this person was the best of his sport.

Even better, he did it with a constant, and still never-ending barrage of questions about doping. For the last 21 days of his career, it seemed each day was filled with another accusation from a former teammate who is swearing to anyone still listening that this man doped. And we have all been duped. I don’t buy it.

First of all, this man has put hundreds of thousands if not millions of his own money to finding a cure for cancer. He’s done that for nearly a decade.

Secondly, he has never, not once in his life failed a drug test or even received a false positive. Hell, even I’ve had false positives in my blood tests!

I never forget an advertisement after his third or fourth title (yes, I know it is an ad!), but it says everything that needs to be said. People ask me what I’m on. I tell them I’m on my bike six hours a day busting my ass. Yeah, that’s right.

One final item must be pointed out that is often forgotten. I read this person’s first book and in it he wrote about when he was younger and just getting started in his sport. He was given a full and comprehensive physical. They tested and prodded everything and one thing they found stands out above all the rest. He had a lung capacity high than most humans, as well as an ability to keep oxygen in his muscles longer (or something to that effect). He was destined for this.

He made us proud. He made us care. He paid tribute to where he came from and where he had been. He’s still fighting for Cancer. He uses his celebrity for good – and not reality television shows.

So, as his career came to an end this past weekend, I said a silent, and now very public good-bye and thank-you.

Good-bye Lance Armstrong.

Thank-you Lance Armstrong.

On The Road Again

I recently had a wonderful dinner with my twitter friend @_Ashley_Nicole_. We just needed to catch up. The last time we met up she was unhappy with her current job and I was just starting to do research on my own move. I’d seen on Twitter that she had a new job so I knew we needed to re-connect.

In our dinner, I saw a completely different person from the one I’d first met only months before. In a nutshell, Ashley was unhappy, and did something about it. She quit her job (not the easiest thing to do in this market) and joined the ranks of the unemployed. Just hearing her talk about it made me nervous.

But then she kept telling her story of finding a connection, having a meeting that quickly turned into a job interview, and a job offer. She told them what she needed, they said okay. It was a done deal. But here is the kicker. Ashley’s new job, or, the job offer was for a company that was working in the trucking industry. She, like me, have never considered working in that industry. Doesn’t interest me and didn’t interest her.

But here’s the rest of the story. She took the job and she’s become quite passionate about the trucking industry! She loves it! She loves the people she’s with and she loves talking about it! That’s the amazing thing. She quits her job one day and then, just around the corner, was a great opportunity. Just like a recent post where I talked about keeping your eyes on the horizon, Ashley didn’t quit and kept searching for a better situation. She found it. So can you!

I Like Tennis Too!

Photo Friday

While watching tennis, I saw this bug. Couldn’t pass up taking a picture of it!

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FOCUS: Up & Down Adventures! (v3n11)

Selected Life Lesson
Life is a like a roller coaster – when things are going downhill, if you hang on long enough, eventually you’ll go back up again.
-Betty K’s lesson from Mason City, Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
I remember growing up that I never ever EVER would go on roller coasters. It wasn’t until high school when I was with my church youth group that I succumbed to peer-pressure and finally got in line to go on “Wild Thing” up at Valley Fair in Minnesota. And what a ride! On that one trip, I became hooked on the ups and downs, twists and turns, and the pure adventure of the roller coaster.

But life, just like the coaster, goes up and then goes down and then it goes back up again. But here is the great thing – on a roller coaster you know where you are going; no matter if you’re up or down, you know the end. In life, when you’re up you have a lot of choices. If you’re down, you also have choices.

In those down moments, you have the option of staying on the same course, taking a break, or completely changing your course to see your other options. Never close your eyes, keep them fixed on the horizon and you’ll be back up again in no time.

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Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon

I love to watch episodes of The West Wing from time to time and a recent episode had a great story in it. It is Sen. Stackhouse speaking to the President just before he drops out of the race: “He said a new pilot will fly into cloud cover. There’ll be no visibility. And they’ll check their gauges, they’ll look at the artificial horizon, it’ll show them level, but they won’t trust it. So, they’ll make an adjustment and then another and another… He said the number of new pilots who fly out of clouds completely upside-down would knock you out. My office will make arrangements for me to endorse you in the morning. You keep your eyes on the horizon, Mr. President.”

The same applies to life. We are often pulled in so many directions; all at the same time, the horizon is often blurred.

Think about the past. How often do you reflect back and let past mistakes control your current and future choices? Life is full of mistakes. We just have to learn from them and move on. The great thing about the past is that it is past. It’s over. We only have to learn from the past, and keep growing. The problem however is when the past inhibits your ability to make positive choices in the future. People can get so afraid of making the same mistakes, the don’t even realize the current mistake they are making in letting the past control the future.

Experience. Fail. Learn. Grow. Evolve. Be better. And of course, keep your eyes on the horizon.

(flickr photo via piet mustard)

Build Trust

I’ve had my fair experiences with managers and directors and one thing that always stands out is that I believe there are two types of managers.It happens to even the best intentioned leaders.

First, there is the leader that you can trust. That trusts you. The respects you and your knowledge. And then there is the one that doesn’t. This idea crossed my mind last week while reading one of my industry publications about landing new business. One of their lessons read,  “Give them what they ask for. Build trust.  Then give them what they need.”

Think about it. You wouldn’t become friends with someone one day and the next day tell that new friend everything that is wrong with them. You’re be lucky to ever see that person again. Instead, friendship is built on a shared respect for each other, which in turn, builds trust. That respect comes over time and is built by conversations, shared experiences and our vast array of differences.

So when it comes to business leaders, your boss, I bet you can imagine how this works. One boss will be “friends” with you. And I’m not talking about being an actual friend; hanging out on the weekends, having drinks over the LeBron James decision or talking politics over dinner. It’s just that respect. The, “I hired you because I believe in you, your talents, and your honest hard-working approach to what we do.”

But then the other boss doesn’t try to be your friend. Doesn’t try to understand your life and your experiences. Don’t apologize for mistakes. Doesn’t trust your talents, your abilities, or your general attitude and knowledge about life and the business you work in.

They are profound differences and unfortunately there isn’t much we can do to change person two. So, find the best boss you can – and work for them – and then become one yourself!

(flickr photo via colemanennis)

Waiting – and – Watching

Photo Friday

A player watches his shot – waiting to see if it comes back.

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FOCUS: Embrace Challenges (v3n10)

Selected Life Lesson
Challenge yourself to do something you never, ever thought you could do.
-Cindy B’s life lesson from Springfield, Mo.

Richard’s Thoughts…
Today I am off on a big adventure! I’m in the Big Apple meeting with public relations folks as well as book publishers and agents! I never thought I would even start this journey but here I am; on my way!

What about yourself? What have you been too scared to do or too reserved to try?

Now is as good a time as any! Check out this video from a recent retreat I did… Adults, flying kites! Amazing things can happen when you take life by the horns and embrace the challenges and opportunities in front of you. Good luck … Anything is Possible!

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