Who can you thank today?

March 7, 2017

As seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog some time ago – “There’s not a day goes byRod Stewart when I don’t get up and say thank you to somebody.”  (Rod Stewart)

Sometimes we may think that famous or very wealthy people are completely self-made successes; however, most of them would echo Rod Stewart’s message that they are thankful to someone. It may be someone from their past who set them on the course that they took to that success or maybe someone who took the time to pull them back from a bad course that they were on. Maybe it was a parent, a teacher, or a pastor, or just a BFF who took the time and had enough concern about them to take the time to work with them or just be with them in times of need.

helping-2Think about your own life and how many times a parent or teacher or others helped you, even when you didn’t want to be helped at the time. How many times did you say thank you back then? If they are still here, why not go back and do it now? Every day is a good day to thank someone. You can start each day by thanking God for giving you another day and then think about who else deserves a thank you.

Not every “thank you” has to be for some life changing event or effort that someone made on your behalf. Saying “thank you” to someone who holds a door open for you is important, too. It is an acknowledgement of their kind gesture and an acceptance of the
fact that we all need help from someone from time to time. We are not self-made norhelper self-sufficient.  We live in a society, not in a vacuum; and that society is dependent upon cooperation between its members. Sometimes that cooperation is called help and sometimes it is called intervention and all of us in this society may need a little of both from time-to-time.

I think it is important to start each day in the frame of mind that you will make the effort to recognize the tings both big and small that deserve a “thank you” and make sure to do it at the time and not regret later never havingpraying said it to that person. Saying thank you has a double sided benefit; it makes the person that you said it to feel good about themselves and what they did and it makes you feel good about having acknowledged their contribution to your day or life. Saying thank you is a win-win for all concerned. Think about how big that win will be for you, if you start by saying thank you to God each morning. His will be one “You’re welcome” that you don’t want to miss.

Thank you for reading this post. Who can you thank today?

Is it time for you to switch gears? Can you do better?

March 3, 2017

“Life is like a 10-spreed bicycle.  Most of us have gears we never use.”  (Charles Schulz)  – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Jack went on to write: An old song says, “You can be better than you are.”  We all have potential…unused abilities.  I’ll never forget a high school teacher who handed a test back to me, saying, “Jack, you can do better than this.”  He was right.  We all can do better!  In school, at work, at home, in relationships.  Is today that day when we begin to use a new gear?  I can do better!  I will do better! 

If you think back to your bicycle riding days (assuming that they are over, like for me – long over in my case) you may have used 2-3 of the 10 speeds on your bike. Sometimes youbicycle-rider-1 might have shifted down to a lower gear when you were going up a hill and pumped a little bit harder and faster; but for the most part you settled into a comfortable gear for the flat portions and just pedaled along. Life can be like that. We all hit tougher (uphill) stretches during which we must shift gears and pedal harder and faster; but for the most part we just settle into a comfortable gear and pedal along through life.

Perhaps it’s time to challenge yourself. Can you do better at work or in school? Can you do more to have a better relationship with your life partner and family? Can you do more in your community to help others? Can you do better? Maybe it’s time for you to switch gears and pedal harder and faster in life. Why? Because, in your heart, you know that you can do better.

The thing that works well in this analogy is the fact that switching gears is a conscientious effort. In times of emergencies (the uphill times in life) that switch of gears happens without giving it a lot of thought. The situation demands that you do something different, that you switch gears; and, you just do it. You may go into problem-solving mode or even life-saving mode; but, you definitely do so in a different gear than you had been in – you swing into action.

Making the conscientious decision to switch gears in your day-to-day life is more deliberate, but can be no less demanding of you to pedal harder and faster. Making the bicycle-rider-2decision to volunteer at a local charity means switching gears. Making the decision to work with special needs children or adults requires a switch in your gears. Deciding to volunteer at your church or maybe at your child’s school will require choosing a new gear. Even the decision to just try to be a better partner in your life-relationship or a better parent to your children means choosing a new gear and pedaling harder. Doing those things means raising your life to a new, higher level and requires a new, uphill gear and that you pedal faster and harder.

All of these decisions require a commitment first that you want to change and you want to do better. It would be sad, indeed, if you ended life with a bad case of the “coulda, woulda, shouldas” about gears that you never used because you wouldn’t make the effort to switch from your comfort zone and try something that required you to use a new gear and pedal harder. You don’t get extra credit at the end of life for turning in unused gears.

So, think about your life and the gears that you aren’t using. Can you do sobicycle-rider-3mething out of the ordinary to help someone else? Can you put more effort into your relationships with your family members? Can you show the world your faith in actions, rather than just talking about it? Can you do better? Can’t we all?

Have a great day – Switch gears and pedal hard!

It’s a living; but, is it a life?

March 2, 2017

“Work won’t hug you when you’re old.”  (Bob Dotson)  – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to write – Dotson tells of a man whose work caused him to be away from home for extended periods of time.  While gone, he’d plan “Daddy Days” with his daughter when he got home.  Those were special!  We need to be alert so that in our making a living, we don’t neglect to make a life.

I’ve written here a few times before about the danger of getting so wrapped up in one’s family grroupcareer and the need to make more and more money, that one forgets the important things in life – why and for who they are supposedly doing it. All too often it is the parting embrace of the father-daughter dance at her wedding that a father realizes his little girl has grown up and that he missed most of it, because he was so hard at work. Perhaps it is when his son drives away with his bride that the father stops to reflect on years of missed ball games and lost opportunities for father-son bonding.

Whether we admit it or not, a large part of the cause for one’s devotion to a career, is not the drive to earn money for the family, it is the need to feed an ego that hungers for recognition and adoration.  It is the need for external indications of success in life that one may not be able to find or identify from their day-to-day family life. Only later in life do father-daughter dancepeople who fall into that trap find out that the most important roles that they ever had in life were husband and father. At least Dorson recognized that enough to plan Daddy Days when he was home.

Many over-achievers find even more ways to attain self-gratification when not working by engaging in sports or other competitive leisure-time pursuits.  They don’t see being a successful parent and being engaged in their children’s lives to be as a satisfying “win” as being club champion at the country club. I was interested to read recently that Christopher Ilitich, the new CEO of the Ilitch Enterprises pizza and entertainment empire, is also a coach on his son’s baseball team. It appears that he is living a more balanced and rewarding life.

Sometimes trying to achieve that balance can feel a little like the guy with one foot on the dock and one foot in an untied boat. The dock (your family and home life) is, and should beone-foot-on-the-dock the foundation upon which your life is based. The boat will almost certainly try to float away and take you from that foundation. It is tempting sometimes to just jump into the boat and see where it takes you and you may not even look back at the dock until it is out of sight. It takes a stronger person to keep a foot on/in both and not let the boat drift away with you in it. If you really think about it; everything that you really want and cherish is on the dock and not in the boat; so, never give up your foothold there.

So much of the wisdom of life that is shared by older people is couched in terms like “don’t do what I did” that is make one wonder why it took so long for them to realize their mistakes. Perhaps the answer is found in Ecclesiastes 2:2626 – To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Perhaps, instead of chasing the wind, if one man prayingfinds God first, He will give you the wisdom to see the important things in life and show you the right path to take.

I have a feeling that if you center your life around God the rest of the things will take care of themselves and you will have more fulfilling relationships with your wife and children. They will be there to give you those hugs throughout life and not just when you are old. As you count your “treasures” at the end of life, those accumulated hugs will be of much greater value than all of the salary and bonuses that you’ve ever earned.  Make all of the days that you can Daddy Days and Husband Days with those who love you.

Have a great rest of the week. There’s a Daddy Weekend coming up.

I’m too busy…

March 1, 2017

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates

I found that little saying on-line when I decided to write a quick piece about being too busy to write anything lately on my blogs. It has to be a quick piece, because I’m so busy. There is within that simple saying there’s lots of truth and insight. We (I) get so busy
with things busysometimes that we have no time left for family, friends or other things that are important to a healthy, balanced life. And when I do pause on what I’m busy doing, sometimes I realize that much of what is stealing my time is way less important than the things that I’m ignoring.

I suspect that things like smart phones and the Internet have
contributed greatly to this problem. Because we are almost always “connected”, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that anything and everything that shows up in a text message or an email is important enough to demand our attention and right away. Seldom is that really the case. Taken to its extreme one sees people sitting and staring at their phones and exchanging messages that go somewhat along these lines: 1 – “What are you doing?” 2 – “Nothing, what are you doing?” 1- “Nothing, too. Where are you?” 2 – “At the Mall.” 1- “Me, too. Where?”  2- “At the food court.” 1 – “Me too. Wave or something.” 2- “I see you.” 1 – “I see you too. Well I’ve gotta go.” 2- “Bye.” Did that keep them busy for a while? Yes. Was it good use of their time? You decide. But, they are connected. Maybe.

So, I’m trying now not to schedule every minute of every day, or not to get stressed out if I don’t make it to every event that I’ve been invited to attend and not to let my job consume all of the time that it seems to demand. There is always going to be something else in real estate that I could be doing – another appointment I could be trying to make, another restless sleepComparative Market Analysis I could be researching, another class I could be taking or another open house I could be conducting. At the end of the day, I don’t want to go to bed
thinking about all of the things that were left undone. I’d rather go to bed with some pleasant thoughts of things that I did with family and friends; things that I enjoyed, not things that I felt I had to do.

It is not easy for me. My wife often admonishes me for being a workaholic and I am. I think it is important realize that and admit it. Just as it is important for people to admit to being an alcoholic, if that is the case. The first step to fixing things is to realize there is a problem and admit it to yourself and others.  I’m sure that there are probably workaholic therapy groups, like there are groups for alcoholism, but I don’t know of any locally. I probably couldn’t find time to go anyway – I’m too busy.

Is that my phone ringing?