Archive for the ‘lessons’ Category



How Not to Leave a Job. A Lesson From Caddy Steve Williams

The way you leave a job says more about you than the way you started it. Recently Tiger Woods fired his caddy of 13 years, Steve Williams. Unfortunately for Mr. Williams, his public reaction to the event is a classic case of how not to walk away from a job. Whether or not Tiger was justified in firing Williams, the time and manner of it is truly irrelevant. The only thing Williams can control is his reaction. In Steve’s own words: “Following the completion of the AT&T National I am no longer caddying for Tiger after he informed me that he needed to make a change. After 13 years of loyal service needless to say this came as a shock. Given the circumstances of the past 18 months working through Tiger’s scandal, a new coach and with it a major swing change and Tiger battling through injuries I am very…

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Getting Off The Privileged Bubble

Could my money be more useful than my non-medical skills? I had to reason with myself about the merits of going on a week-long mission trip. Rationally the answer was a resounding “yes,” but, as it turns out, the answer is a big “no.” At first thought, I have no business being on a medical mission trip. Since I haven’t been able to find a marketing or technology mission trip yet (hey, now that’s an idea!), I decided to join the Cross Point Honduras mission team and brought my 16-year old son, Marcus along. I’m glad I did. While my money can be used to buy supplies and hire more help, my presence here is more important than just my resources. Here are some thoughts: Looking into the eyes of the Honduran people, touching them and letting them know they matter is a deep personal experience no funding mechanism can…

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Life in Detour

No one like detours. If you’re an impatient type-A person like me, you really hate detours. I don’t build enough margins in my day for extra time to get somewhere.  By its own nature, a detour is a slower, longer, less convenient way to get anywhere. Who wants that? But it has been in the detours of my life that I have grown the most. As I take inventory of the times where I made the most progress in the professional, personal, as well spiritual parts of my life, I can point out to specific “detours” that forced me to get off the highway, take the slower more cumbersome path that would eventually lead me to a place a discomfort but growth at the same time. I remembering taking a detour in college when my parents called me on my 19th birthday to let me know that they couldn’t send…

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Getting a Handle on Life Storms

The storm was at full force by the time I finished my run. All I could see were dark clouds, lighting and rain all around me. It always amazes me how storms come out of nowhere, and in a matter of minutes can wreak so much havoc. Life’s storms often behave the same way. You’re going through your daily routine and then there’s a call or a text message and everything changes. As if you were out for a walk in the beautiful sunshine and before you knew, the skies turned to gray and a storm catches you by surprise. Do you know what I’m talking about? If you live long enough you will. Those moments are not easily forgotten. I remember conversations, texts and calls where in an instance, everything changed. Words like “accident, I’m leaving, this is not working out, you’re overdrawn” have a way to instantly create…

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Lakers vs Mavericks. Talent vs Character.

I’m not a Mavericks or a Lakers’ fan. This post is not about basketball, but about character. Yesterday, Lakers center Andrew Bynum was ejected in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals sweep by Dallas after a dirty foul on Dallas Mavericks reserve guard J.J. Barea. With the Mavericks winning 98-68, Barea drove to the basket and put up a floater. Bynum entered the lane and delivered a hard elbow to Barea’s ribs.  Barea landed hard on the ground as the referee immediately called a flagrant foul and threw Bynum out of the game. You can watch it in the video below. It was so bad that ESPN announcer, Mike Tirico said “And that is one of the biggest bush league things I’ve ever seen! That is terrible!“. Interestingly, Bynum had just come off a two-game suspension for another flagrant foul. Here what Mr. Bynum’s behavior…

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What To Do With a Bad Day

I thought I was getting out on an early flight home. Time was tight but this was a small airport and my gate was literally less than 10 feet from security. I heard my name called over the intercom as I was collecting my bags. The TSA agent wanted to do extra screening of one of my bags, of course, so I stepped aside, made eye contact with the gate agent and yelled out “I’m here. I’ll be there as soon as they let me go.” Within a couple of minutes I was ready to board. I didn’t expect what I heard, “Sorry, the flight is closed. You’re going to have to take the next one.”  “You have got to be kidding me!” I was just incredulous.  “Didn’t you see and hear me?” I asked the agent who didn’t bother looking up from the computer. “I waited over 4 minutes.”…

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The Problem with Fakes

Last time I was in Hong kong I bought a couple of Rolexes. Instead of costing thousands of dollars each, they cost less than 100 dollars for both watches. These are great-looking replicas of the original. From the heavy weight of the watch to  the smooth second hand movement, these watches look and feel like the real thing. After I bought them, I reasoned with myself, “why did I ever by a real one?” There’s only one problem with my imitation watches: they can’t keep time. Every time I wear one of my Falsex watches, I’m reminded why I love my real Rolex. In life, much like my watches, the fake seldom deliver on their promises. In the business world we deal with salespeople and companies that promise us a product or services just as good as the high-quality, more expensive version, but for less than half of the price.…

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A Survival Lesson from a 108 Year Old Retailer

Retail is a tough business these days. Mega stores are shutting down mom & pop operations all over the world. Saturday afternoon I visited a clothing store downtown Vienna that has been in business under the same family ownership for the past 108 years. That’s staying power. It has endured two world wars, bombings, fires, the great depression and numerous other challenges that I can’t even begin to imagine. As I compare my experience of buying a traditional Austrian coat at Loden-Plankl with my previous week’s shopping attempt in Vienna in which I blogged about here, there are obvious differences that I am certain have contributed to their century-long staying power. Unique Merchandise. Loden-Plankl sells primarily traditional Austrian clothing. While it might not be the “it” thing to wear, their apparel is never out of style ( I thought the multi-button collarless sports coat was a very stylish, thus my…

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The Law of Expectation that Changed My Life

Expectations can help you grow. Unreasonable expectations will only frustrate all parties involved, however. My college organ teacher, (yes, I played the organ during college) Mr. Shanko was a crusty, old, organ virtuoso whose expectations helped me become a much better organist. What I didn’t know, however, is that the law of expectation would carry over into other areas of my life. “If I accomplished so much more than I though I could in this arena, what other areas can I outperform my own expectations?” I eventually asked myself. So how can you help those around you succeed without creating unreasonable expectations for them? See what they cannot. Mr. Shanko saw a talent in me that I didn’t see. He affirmed it during our lessons together. “You’re very good. You could be great,” he used to say. I though the organ was cool because I could make sounds with my…

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Confession of a Failed Parenting Moment

This is not an educational, inspirational, or leadership post. This is a confessional note, and I’m not proud it. Sometimes you have days where there’s not much left of your brains, patience or both at the end of a long haul. Yesterday was that day for me. I got home and by the time I took the boys out for a “guys dinner out,” I had nothing left for them. Our dinner was, for all practical reasons, a non event. I was tired of thinking and talking so I just sat there like a lump on a log and watched the boys eat their dinner. There was no teaching moment, no funny stories, not even an argument from me. I was barely there; as a matter of fact, I was not there at all. I’d rather write about all the life lessons I get right and the good things that…

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