Friday, December 17, 2010

Farmville? Really?

I gotta tell you, I just don't get it! But the fact remains that 80 million...yes, that's 80 Million people are playing this silly game!

Click Here for Top Secret Guide!

At first, it's a fun little time start out with a bit of coin and you begin small and earn money to get's a lot of fun, but the catch is you have to harvest in a timely manner or your crops go to waste....and there's the hook! Soon, you are pulling into an internet cafe while on vacation to harvest the virtual strawberries before they go bad!

My wife and I played this when it was originally called "Farmtown" and I gotta tell you, it was addictive! We would have to agree to harvest each other's crops and she would get upset if I didn't let her because she wasn't around when the crops were ready! LOL!

Ever a proponent of never doing things half-way, I just happened across this little guide full of secrets of how to be great at this game. I am blogging it just for some Christmas fun.


Click Here for Top Secret Guide!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Have you Seen the Flip Camera?

I have a confession to make. It's hard to admit it, but I need to just be honest and let everyone know this.

I am a gadget guy.

I was recently in the Toronto Airport on my way to another consulting gig, when I was picked to have my backpack invaded..ahem!...inspected. This young lady went through every pocket, crease and crevice...of the bag...and as she pulled out my camera, I-pod Touch, Livescribe Pen, Blackberry Storm, Portable external hard drive, Kindle, trackball mouse, and all of the connecting wires to go with all of these, she looked at me and, deadly serious now, said: You sure do have a lot of gadgets!"


But the coolest gadget in the bag was the newest addition: A Flip HD Video camera. Someone once said "Do one thing and do it better than anyone else." That's exactly what Cisco did with this puppy. It only takes HD video and you press one button to turn it on, one to start the video taking and the same button to stop it. It has a built in USB connection arm that springs out with a touch and plugs into your computer.

The on-board software loads up to your PC and you can download the video you have taken and capture stills, produce web-ready content with titles and music in seconds! Simply an elegant solution to doing what most people want to do today with their videos, especially for the web. And all in about a 4" by 2" by 1" package

Very cool gadget! can I put this to good use?!?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Think You Can? Vash Young Did!

I am reading some good information about creating wealth and I ran across this article from Dr. Joe Vitale I thought I would share. Enjoy!

by: Dr. Joe Vitale

In 1931 Vash Young inherited a fortune. This was during the Great Depression in the USA when much of the country lost jobs, savings, hopes, dreams, and more. Young was so grateful for his inherited fortune that he spent his entire life sharing it.

Last week I inherited his fortune.

It was strange, unexpected, and yet incredible.

I didn’t know Young before last week, though I had heard of his fortune.

I never imagined he would pass it on to me.

I’m grateful for it, of course.

Who wouldn’t be?

And I’m now going to share that fortune with you.

Let me explain.

A friend of mine in the Miracles Coaching program told me about an old book he found that he thought I might like. But he couldn’t recall the title or author. He was obviously moved by the book. I’m a bookaholic, so I was interested, even without all the details. I asked him to send me the book’s info when he came across it. I didn’t think any more about it. But last week my friend sent me a package. Inside was the mysterious book. The title is A Fortune to Share. The author was Vash Young. I had never heard of the book or the author. Since I was busy with projects...and already had fifteen books to read either on my iPad or my desk, I just put the book aside. It would have to wait.

But the book wouldn’t wait.

Something about it called me to it. Maybe because the book was from 1931 and looked like a lost gem in self-help and self-improvement; maybe because I love success literature and this title seemed like it was from that category; maybe because I hoped the author had been a friend of a man I wrote about from that era, Bruce Barton, in my book The Seven Lost Secrets of Success; maybe because the author put a spell on the book. I don’t know. But before I knew it, everything else got pushed aside and I started reading A Fortune to Share.

Within minutes, I was captivated.

The book is written in the first person, with the author talking to me about his fortune and how it changed his life. The old Young of poverty and reckless living was gone; the new Young was now so rich that even the Great Depression couldn’t touch him.

His mission became the life-long quest to share his fortune with others.

I was riveted.

Young explained that you own a factory. Most of the time you make junk in that factory. As a result, no one buys from you. No wonder you were broke and struggling. No wonder life looked bleak. Your factory wasn’t producing what anyone wanted.

He went on to explain that the same factory could make gold.



In your mind.

In your mind!

As it turns out, the fortune Young inherited was the gold inside himself: his ability to control his thoughts, beliefs, moods, and attitude. He could let the factory of his mind create a life that was miserable, or he could take charge of that factory and get it producing new thoughts, beliefs, moods and attitude that he and others would want.

He inherited a mental fortune.

As long as Young accepted his fortune and shared it, everything he wanted would come his way, and without trying to make it happen.

Young literally did attract a financial fortune (he sold over $80,000,000 in life insurance) due to his discovery and his sharing. He went from a life of go-getting to a life of go-giving. (He later wrote a book titled The Go-Giver.) The more he gave, the more he attracted. His mission truly became one of sharing the mental fortune inside himself to awaken your own understanding that you have a mental fortune inside you, too.

While it’s easy to wish that Young’s fortune was all cash and he shared it by writing checks (which he often did, just not to you or me), what he actually gave us is something far more valuable: he pointed out you have a cash-making machine in your head.

In short, we attract “junk” when we think from selfishness and fear; we attract “gold” when we think and act with love. A Fortune to Share contains much more information, and many wonderful stories. It’s a hypnotic read. Breezy. Easy. Fast. It also delivers some unforgettable wisdom, such as:

“Any experience can be transformed into something of value.”

“Prosperity can not be built on fear!”

For a long time, Young would hold “Trouble Day” every Saturday. He would let anyone walk into his office, dump their troubles on him, and then Young would do his best to help the troubled soul with his philosophy, and often with money. In talking to an unemployed man one day, Young tells him, “You haven’t been unemployed all these months, you have been working for the wrong boss. You have been working for failure, discouragement, fear and worry and the sad part of it is that there has been no salary for your labors. You seem to be destitute, but I am going to tell you how to become rich overnight. I want you to deposit the following thoughts in your mental bank tonight: ‘I am not afraid – I am a success, not a failure – I have an inexhaustible supply of courage, energy, confidence and perseverance.’”

Young helps the man out with a suit of clothes and a little money, and reminds him to draw on his new mental bank account when he needs it.

Within a week, the man has a job he loves.

Young’s first book was so sincere, helpful and timely that it became a national bestseller. He followed it with several others (which I have yet to read but eagerly await), including The Go-Giver, Be Kind to Yourself, and Let’s Start Over Again. All were bestsellers. All were booster rockets for a weary country suffering during the Great Depression of the 1930s. When Young was in his seventies in 1959, he wrote a final book summing up his philosophy of life, called Fortunes For All.

I found Fortunes For All and read it. Loved it, too. On the cover the publisher says, “Let Vash Young show you that your mind is worth $175,000 or more!”

How can your mind bring you $175,000?

Here’s the secret:

Young explains that instead of asking, “How can we have more?” we should ask, “How can we be more?”

He then invites you to try an experiment:

“Go off by yourself with a pad and pencil and write out your own ticket for a happy and successful life. By that I mean put down all of the things you would like to have or be.” He adds, “After imagining every wish has been granted, then go one step further. Start in being the ideal person you think you would be if you had everything your way.”

Young’s philosophy of fortune basically said that once you began to be that happy, successful person now, then you would naturally attract all you wanted from the being. Sounds a whole lot like step four in my book, The Attractor Factor, and step five in my book Attract Money Now, where I suggest you “Nevillize” a goal to help bring it into reality. In other words, feel what it would be like to already have the thing you want or be the person you long to be. Feel it now.

But Young is also wanting you to be something greater than a satisfied person. He wants you to embody the traits of — dare I say it — God.
Decades ago in Houston I gave a talk where I encouraged people to think like God. I said God wouldn’t think in terms of lack and limitation. Why should you?
But Young wants you to act like God, meaning live love, compassion, forgiveness and all the other positive, enlightened states that a God would have.

Be God.

Young was a great believer in taking action, too.

A chapter on selling in Fortunes For All proves that he sold such a staggering amount of life insurance by focusing on giving, thinking of others over himself, and following his being principle. But he also took non-stop action. Even when Young was on jury duty for three weeks, he still held the sales record for the month. How? He kept taking action.

All of this is so inspiring and powerful that I wish Vash Young was still alive so I could thank him in person. But I’ve inherited his fortune. And I’m sharing it with you. I’m hoping you will now share it with others, too.

Take control of your mind and you can live a life of magic and miracles — a life of good fortune.

It’s Vash Young’s inheritance.

It’s my inheritance.

And now it’s yours.

What do you think, anyway?

What is your factory producing?

Who’s the boss of your own mind?

Who are you being?

Enjoy your new fortune.

Dr. Joe Vitale is famous for creating Hypnotic Writing and Miracles Coaching, but he’s also written 53 books (such as The Attractor Factor), appeared in 13 movies (such as the hit The Secret), and has bestselling audios (such as The Secret to Attracting Money) and more.
His main website is Read his book Attract Money Now for free at

Sunday, December 12, 2010


So...after the fog cleared this morning, I was thinking about Army's loss yesterday. The image above, text added by me, said it very well to me!

Better luck next year, Army....please?!?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Go Army! Beat Navy!

Oh yeah! It's on!

I have attended a few of these...especially as a Cadet from 83 to 86...and once in Baltimore, long after graduation.

Those were special years, remembered fondly on this day every year when two great groups of young men get together and continue the Army-Navy tradition

For those who have served and are serving, God bless you and your families.

To my 1987 Classmates....GO ARMY! BEAT NAVY!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Flying the Un-friendly Skies of United

Yes...I know it is an old cartoon, but the "bankruptcy" the moral arena. Here is an encounter I had while flying the "Un-Friendly Skies" of United Airlines:

Delays, lost luggage, off-shore customer service for that lost luggage, more delays, apathy, frustration, did I mention delays?...additional charges for everything from your darn suitcase to a few inches of leg-room (thanks United!) In fact, as I write this on a united flight from Calgary to Chicago, I actually saw a flight attendant keep a fellow from moving up to a totally empty exit row because he was sitting in the back of the plane and United Airlines now considers the exit row a Privilege to be paid for!?! “To the back of the bus (plane) with you, young man who may be able to help all of our passengers in an emergency! You didn’t pay us $32 for that seat!” (quick note: I was seated in an exit row seat that I didn’t pay for when I watched this exchange. I was informed by the agent when I requested the seat, with a nod and a wink, that “I’m not gonna charge you, but these are supposed to be $32 each.” I thanked him and made a mental note about it)….this is what flying has degenerated into.

I fly on 8-12 different airplanes every month. I, unfortunately, must fly the most reasonable airfare proffered by my company’s travel agent. As such, I often do not have a choice of airlines. Because I often have to go through Chicago, yup, you guessed it, I have to fly United Airlines.

Didn’t they used to call themselves the “Friendly Skies?” Nothing could be further from the truth. I must admit, many of the flight attendants and counter agents I encounter are pleasant enough. They also at times express their frustration at the ineptitude of their employer. Are the executives at United so daft as to not know they are the laughing stock of all the major airlines?

Really? Are they that blind?

Have you seen the show “Undercover Boss?” Here’s a suggestion for the CEO of United: Contact the producers and beg to be permitted to be on the show. Spend a week in your employee’s shoes…live their frustrations and see the impact your procedures and money-grubbing policies are having on them and the customers you are supposed to serve. Then go back and do something about it. What a leadership position that would put you in in the airline industry! What ground-breaking, employee and customer focused ideas you could develop that would make people actually PREFER to fly your airline.

Of course, I have no confidence anything like this will ever happen. United’s executives just doesn’t care what I think or what you think. They only care about getting theirs by taking yours.
Leadership requires service and sacrifice, even in business. Only leadership can make things better and create “win-win” policies and procedures that benefit both the customer and the business.

Are there any leaders at United Airlines?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

An Airline that Gets it

So how many of my readers fly a lot? I can honestly tell you that over the last two years, I have spent more time in the air than most. I am, after all, a road-warrior. And my road usually leads to and from Western Canada...and I live in Western New York!'s about 2400 miles one-way as the Raven flies (I say Raven as they are more common than Crows in Western Canada...and a hell of a lot bigger!)

In all my travels, I have experienced good and bad, but mostly good because I usually fly on an airline that gets it. An airline that usually understands that Customer Service means they should take care of their customer's needs. An airline that has invested in making the travel experience a pleasurable one. Air Canada.

In this day and age of airlines combining and getting bigger (Untied and Continental, for example), the customer is more and more treated like a necessary evil..."If it weren't for these damn passengers, this flying stuff would be kinda fun!" United has actually compressed the seats in the back of the plane so that they can charge you $39 one-way for 5" more leg room in the front of the plane. I even witnessed a stewardess (yeah, I know, they prefer "Flight Attendant," but I care about that exactly as much as they appear to care about me on United), tell a young man he could not move up to an EMPTY exit row because he did not pay the $39 premium. (A-hem! Hey missy, we might need that fella to open the door!) I actually will be posting another post all about that encounter

But on Air Canada, they get it. They know why they are in business...because hard-working people pay good money to get from point A to Point B quickly and with their luggage actually getting there when they do! They understand that if you are a road-warrior, you like a little more comfort on all of those flights and they try to do the best they can to ensure you are comforted. They understand that when you go to their frequent flyer lounge, Maple Leaf Lounges they call them, you would like to pampered a little. And they do it in style. Free booze, free food that is actually worth eating, and a nice quiet environment with no hassle.

I don't know of another airline that takes such good care of their passengers...their customers.

Thanks, Air Canada, for being a example for other airlines to follow.

Monday, December 6, 2010

WARNING!: Results not typical

Ever seen that disclaimer? "WARNING!: Results not typical" Of course, it is usually in much smaller print... As I scouted the images today that I thought might fit today's thoughts, I saw many that depicted weight loss, wrinkle creams, vitamin claims, all manner of self-help and self-improvement items...and then I saw the old poster above.

Pretty cool, eh? It was attached to another blog: . Thank you,Roni!

What intrigues me is that despite the disclaimer, people plunk down millions of dollars, $19.95 + shipping and handling at a time, for every manner of external item that might make us smarter, thinner, healthier, less wrinkly-er...but what about the internal? What about our spirits...our heart...our drive to be something more than we are?

I know that I struggle every day to stay try to live up to my personal mission statement (which, as always, I will share with you if you need help, or will help you to write yours...just ask). I think for most of us, the struggle is real and we are all coping in very unique and personal ways.

I need to re-focus my energies on trying things that fit for me, regardless of who says it can or can't be done. I counsel you to keep pushing forward towards what you know is right...those things, behaviours, beliefs, challenges, that you know will make a difference in your life.

Our biggest struggles always seem to be in front of us. Take a look back at your accomplishments from time to time and remember what it took to achieve everything that you have today. I know that I must go back and revisit the goals that I have accomplished and establish new ones. Like me, I suspect many of you are blessed with many, many, blessings that you often take for granted...until they are jeopardized in some way. Don't wait until you are about to lose something, or someone, important to show your appreciation.

Do it today. And keep trying, regardless of the label.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Always Important Things to Learn

Great image, right? That sense of wonder at learning something so new your jaw drops. Think back to when you were that small, or when your children were (are?) that small and the brain was an open book... What amazing things we have learned. So much has changed since we were so small. The pace of technology has advanced more in our lifetime (we 45+ year-olds) than probably any other period in time. Wow!

How often are you learning? Have you thought about it?

I believe you have to be self-aware enough to know that every day is an opportunity to learn. Almost every encounter we have with others is an opportunity to learn something new. It may not always be a good lesson, but even a bad lesson teaches us something.

I have recently been reading a lot about Internet Marketing in an attempt to understand what it is about and how I might use the lessons learned there to create what Tim Ferriss calls "Freedom of Time and Place." He is the first person to put it all together in my mind. He has given me not just the destination, but the road map of how to get there.

I will begin sharing those lessons here and hopefully you can come along for the ride.

Hopefully, it will be something you learn that changes your life.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Words (and picutres!) are Important

Here's a gem I picked up this morning by Jerry Bader.

Jerry Bader is Senior Partner at MRPwebmedia, a website design and marketing firm that specializes in Web-video Marketing Campaigns and Video Websites. Visit, and Contact at

How to Deliver a Marketing Message On Your Website

Here's a question for you? What do you need to be successful? What will it take for you to climb out of that deep, dark, dungeon of despair and mediocrity? What are you willing to do to be the best you can be?

Look around. Things are nuts, the economy stinks, politicians are goofy, people are addicted to cell phones, businesses are obsessed with Twitter and Google and Facebook; everything is made in China, and it's all CRAP! You're lucky if anything you purchase works the way its suppose to and God help you if you complain. You'll spend hours on the phone with some clown who doesn't know, doesn't care, and doesn't get paid to really help you. They are the purveyors of frustration and creators of cynicism. Athletes pretentiously thank God for their base hits and million dollar contracts, and we watch in astonishment. Trust me, God doesn't give a damn about who wins the next NASCAR race, or that you get an even bigger flat screen plasma for your birthday. He's got bigger fish to fry like global warming, child starvation, and deadly pandemics. You're on your own fella. So get use to it.

So what's a poor entrepreneur to do? Follow the big boys as if they were The Enlightened Ones. Right, how's that worked out so far? Do you really want to go down the same road as GM or Lehman Brothers? Nobody is going to bail your ass out of trouble; you can count on that.
People have stopped thinking. We educate our kids to be engineers and technicians, but they don't understand the world, they don't understand people. Unable to get into med school or law they become Web entrepreneurs because they think it's an easy way to make a buck. You don't ever have to see or hear from customers, they're not people they're just digital ghosts with bank cards. Well maybe that's the problem. Maybe that lack of communication skill is what's wrong? So how do you communicate, how do you serve your public, how do you become a success?

Do you really want to know, or do you want to keep doing the same thing with the same results you've been doing? Maybe it's good enough for you, but good enough isn't good enough anymore. Now you have to excel, now you have to be different to stand out. Now you have to be better, or at least as best as you can be. And all it takes is a fundamental understanding of how to communicate.

Are you ready to take the leap? Are you ready to communicate your message so people say, "I want that!" Don't get me wrong. There's no mystery, no secret, no great panacea for success. It's just a question of learning how and what to communicate, and that my friend is the why of it all.

Words Have Meaning

That's right, words have meaning. Even in an era where language has been bastardized by text message lingo and meaningless business palaver dumped on us by consultants...even today, words have meaning if you know what to say and how to say it.

Sure, sure, people are busy, I get that, but you know what frustrates them more than anything, it's when companies waste their time with bland, meaningless platitudes. People crave information. They demand to know more, be more, and achieve more. The potential is limitless. Are you filling that demand with meaningful, memorable content? Words are the foundation of persuasion. Words have meaning.

Language Defines The Conversation

If you want to be the market leader you have to control the conversation and you do that with the language you use. If you can control the words you can dominate the market. The words you use make a difference. Use the right words in the right way, and you'll own the conversation, and put your competitors at a distinct disadvantage.

The Republican Party in the USA has controlled the political discourse for some time thanks to political consultant and pollster Frank Luntz. Luntz is the architect of the Republican Party's language policy. It's Luntz who was responsible for turning "inheritance tax" into "death tax," "global warming" into "climate change," and "eavesdropping" into "electronic intercepts." Control the words and you control the conversation no matter what side of the political fence you sit on.

People respond emotionally to the words used. The right language can spark an argument or an agreement; it can generate an order or a rejection. Words can move you. Move you to action. And that's what marketing is all about.

Voice Provides Clarity

Words aren't much good if nobody hears them. Writing has to speak with a voice, an attitude, a point-of-view, and it has to be heard - out loud. The sound of the human voice delivers more meaning, more nuance, more depth of emotion and excitement than any other communication tool at your disposal. The proper use of tone, cadence, rhythm and phrasing creates something special, something more than just clever prose; it creates an experience and defines a brand.

Sound is by far the most complicated of communication tools and at the same time the most ignored and misunderstood. The wrong voice, the wrong music, and the wrong sound effects will kill any chance you have of delivering an effective marketing message.

Personality Makes the Connection

Even the best words won't work if they aren't delivered properly. Creating a distinct identity demands a superior performance, one that delivers personality. Personality is the means by which you connect with your audience. After all, if you don't connect, nothing you say will be heard. Combine the right sound with the right words and the right personality, and you're on your way to getting where you want to be.

Putting It All Together

There's a reason we recommend video as the best way to convey your marketing message to your Web audience. Video can deliver your words, it can control the conversation, it can establish your brand, and it can present your message in the most meaningful, memorable manner if you do it right. You may have a great message, but if it's not delivered effectively, you are turning over your primary asset to your competitors.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Leadership is hard

I had a good wake up call recently.

I didn't like it at first, but I am now very glad it happened.

You see, as I sit and "pontificate" here a bit on leadership, it usually keeps me on my game. What I realized recently that by turning my back on this intellectual sharpening stone, called my blog, I have lost some of my focus on the right way to lead...lost focus on my responsibilities as a leader.

As is sometimes the case, this was brought to my attention by a colleague who has responsibility for me in my current role. I hesitate to call him my boss, as he really isn't, but for you, dear reader, he probably best fits in that role. He called me an told me I was "not building a cohesive team and was being too confrontational in my approach."

Huh?!? Me?!? Leadership blogger and student/teacher of Leadership?!? No Way!

Ever had that kind of response to criticism of your performance? Yes, that was a rhetorical question...

Once I got past defensive and took a good long look in the mirror, I then reviewed some of my correspondence and re-thought through my past interactions and guess what? He was right. I had become too focused in Quadrant 1 (Urgent and Important) and lost focus on Quadrant 2 (Not Urgent and Important).

So....I sat down with my team and apologized for my behaviour and had a good dialogue around what I needed to do to get the team back on track. I got wise counsel from my team mates about what they needed from me and how we should revise how we were working together. It was enlightening, uplifting, and put us back on track. And we did it together.

Lesson learned and focus regained. It's not a crime to make mistakes. It is a crime to do nothing to correct them.

And here's a link that you might find inspiring...I did.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Something you don't see Every Day!

Hmm....something's been in the trash, eh? As we approach the door to the Stanford Resort in Beautiful Fernie, British columbia, this is what we see:

LOLOL! AND the door slid open as we approached!
I think we need a different person on security...LOLOL!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Flying Blind?

Ever find yourself flying blind?

Ever find yourself believing you can do something in your heart though you've never actually had the opportunity to do it?

Ever been given a "challenge" at work and diving headlong into it, figuring it out along the way?

We have all been there. Sometimes we have "crashed and burned" and sometimes we have soared with eagles. Ever sat back and thought about the difference?

Typically the difference is your "instruments." The fellow above had an altitude indicator, an attitude indicator, and airspeed indicator, and a compass.

The most important of those instrument is the compass. In our day to day lives, our compass is what truly sets us up for success. It's not so much the clock, or how fast or efficient we are. It's the compass, our sense of direction and knowing that we are on the right heading that allows us to achieve great things.

Stay true to your compass. Let it be your guide. Trust it.

And believe you can.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

For God so Loved Us...

...That he gave his only Son that we might live forever in Glory with him in Heaven.
Happy Easter! Be proud of your faith and Lead first yourself and your family in the ways of Christ. We can all do a better job...if we are aware and try. Prayers are helpful. Asking for guidance and help should be part of our daily talk with God.
To my family...I miss you today.
God bless you all.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sometimes People Just Don't Think...

...about anyone but themselves. They get so wrapped up in what they are doing that they forget to think about others.

This is especially disappointing when it is displayed by someone with responsibility for others. Someone who is "supposed" to be a leader.

Have you ever gotten stranded, forgotten, overlooked, neglected, etc, by someone who was responsible for you? Have you ever had to sit for hours because someone was too self-absorbed to remember to ask a simple question like: "What time do you get in? I know you need a ride and might not want to wait around for another 3 hours for the next do you want to ride with me?"....especially when this same person will expect the one he left behind to be up at 0500hrs....with a mere 3.5 hours of sleep...

Here I sit in just that situation, in a foreign country, and I guess I could get angry and upset. What I really am is disappointed in that person who is supposed to be a supposed to take care of his team. Unfortunately, this is not unusual behavior for this fella and it really is unacceptable that a person with responsibility for others doesn't really step up and look out for his team.

I will remember how this feels and make a personal promise to not be so self-absorbed that I forget about any member of my team.

If you've ever been in my shoes, remember how it feels and make sure you try your best to not make others feel like that. Leaders learn not only by personal experience and mistakes, but also by the mistakes of others. Examples, good and bad, are always worthy of note.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Breath of Fresh Air

Not Licensed to Drive
Originally uploaded by claygrl

How do you feel when someone asks you this question:

"What do you think about that?"

I would venture to guess that it feels pretty good when someone take the time to ask for your thoughts on something. Most of the time, it is because the other person values your opinion and your thoughts.

Does that make you feel validated? Does it make you feel important, at least to that person? Does it make you feel like the other person is taking the time to try and understand you?

Covey calls the emotional equivalent to the air we need to breathe is "being understood." Deeply and truly understood. We often take for granted the opinion of others because we know them and think we know how they feel about things, or we don't know them and don't care how they feel about things.

Please remember, dear Leader, how it feels to be validated with that simple question. And then remember to make others feel that way whenever you can.

Take the time to ask "what do you think about that?"

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Getting Past "Angry"

It is amazing to me how often people react violently to the thought of change. In my business, I am paid to help people realize that there might be a better way to do something. Often I encounter resistance to the mere thought of doing something differently. And that's okay. It is human nature to be a bit wary about some stranger coming in and telling you, essentially, you're doing it wrong.

"What do you mean I am doing it wrong? I've been doing it this way for 20 years and it hasn't been a problem!"

Working in this area of personal protectiveness is often challenging. I like to engage people in discussions of what they think can be done differently to increase their effectiveness or make their job easier to do. When you have your conversations from someone else's perspective, from their viewpoint, it is often easier to effect change.

There are often many good solutions to a problem. Remember you do not have to be the one to develop the best way. Collaborative discussions on how to improve a process or solve a pressing problem usually result in a better solution that is trusted and supported by the person you are working with.

Even when they look like the charming fella in the picture above the moment you mention "Change."

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What about the Kiddos?

When we think of our own journey of learning to become leaders, we invariably look back on the influences we had as children. Examples, good and bad, helped to influence our own development as adults and as leaders.

Today, and every day, we should be looking at what influences our kids to become leaders. I submit that too few of us actually look at what it takes to instill leadership in our kids at an early age. Service to others is a key ingredient to developing leaders, especially at a young and impressionable age.

One organization that does a great job at developing young leaders is Rotary International. Their Interact program for young children is an excellent way for kids to learn about leadership through service to others and partnership with their local Rotary Club.

Here's an excerpt from their website:

"Interact is Rotary International’s service club for young people ages 14 to 18.
Interact clubs are sponsored by individual Rotary clubs, which provide
support and guidance, but they are self-governing and self-supporting.

Club membership varies greatly. Clubs can be single gender or mixed,
large or small. They can draw from the student body of a single school or from
two or more schools in the same community.

Each year, Interact clubs complete at least two community service projects, one of which furthers international understanding and goodwill. Through these efforts, Interactors develop a network of friendships with local and overseas clubs and learn the importance of :

-Developing leadership skills and personal integrity
-Demonstrating helpfulness and respect for others
-Understanding the value of individual responsibility and hard work
-Advancing international understanding and goodwill

As one of the most significant and fastest-growing programs of
Rotary service, with more than 10,700 clubs in 109 countries and geographical
areas, Interact has become a worldwide phenomenon. Almost 200,000 young people are involved in Interact."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Personal Leadership Philosophies

I went on a search for leadership philosophies to share and found a very interesting example that spoke to me, especially since it was about the "Black Knights" of the 70th Intelligence Wing of the United States Air Force. Here is the link to the site I found it on:

As you will read below, the concepts of Teamwork, Leadership, and Communication are central to this young man's Personal Leadership Philosophy.

What is central to yours?

"Good morning Black Knights. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a
little bit about myself, my vision and my expectations as I take command of THE
BEST intelligence squadron in the United States Air Force.

First of all,
my name is____________. I was born in the great state of Texas. I come from a
long line of military professionals. My father was a retired chief master
sergeant in the Air Force. He instilled in my brothers and me, a dedication to
service and upholding the freedoms that make this a great country. It was these
beliefs that drove me to attend and graduate from the United States Air Force
Academy in 1993. Upon completion of the Academy, I became an operations
intelligence analyst and later a graduate of the Air Force Weapons School. In my
13 years of service, I have lived in 2 foreign countries; deployed over 20 times
and I’ve completed 9 assignments. I have had many experiences; however, I am
most proud to be a member of the Black Knights. The knight symbolizes the noble
profession of arms. Like the knight, we are also members of a noble profession.
Thus, it is our duty to uphold and defend the constitution of the United States
and ensure that our actions embody integrity first, service before self and
excellence in all we do.

Now that you know a little bit about me, I would like to share with you my vision and philosophy for this squadron and outline for you the price of admission for being a member of the Black Knights. My vision for the Black Knights is to be the 70th Intelligence Wing’s Squadron of the Year for 2007. Last year, the Black Knights were the last squadron in the wing. Thus, the Black Knights are known as a squadron without pride, heads hanging low--a squadron plagued with low morale. However, the first sergeant and I believe the Knights are better than this last place finish. You have the skills, the talent and the motivation to make this goal a reality. In fact, I believe in approaching challenges with TLC. This stands for teamwork, leadership/loyalty, and communication.

TEAMWORK. Always remember that no man is an island. Teamwork is essential to making our squadron the best in the wing. The Air Force supports the Wingman Philosophy; however, we are going to live this philosophy….you are your brother’s keeper. Each member of this squadron is your wingman. I challenge you to get involved. Supervisors know your people, take care of their needs, recognize their accomplishments and create opportunities for their success. If you are not a supervisor, it’s your responsibility to take care of those around you. We can make our goal a reality if we work together.

LEADERSHIP—some say that you can only be a leader if you have a college degree or command a squadron. I contend that leadership is about motivating people to achieve a common goal. Therefore, leadership is a responsibility shared by all. We must lead each other down the path of success to our goal of being squadron of the year. Additionally, LOYALTY is essential to our goal. Loyalty comes in many forms. The most important is loyalty to each other, our squadron, our mission and the U.S. Air Force. The Air Force has set the standard with the core values: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. Our loyalty to these values is the price of admission to this unit and the U.S. Air Force.

COMMUNICATION is the most important factor for our success. Miscommunication or a lack of communication will destroy a squadron. Good and open communication is the key. Therefore, feedback is important. Don’t be afraid to tell your supervisors potential problems. Let the leadership work these issues early. My door is always open; however, please try to work issues at the lowest level. Finally, give your supervisors the opportunity to fix problem before they become major issues. Supervisor attack all problems with care and professionalism. Most of all, treat them as if they were your own.

In closing, I would like to say I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead the Best Intelligence Squadron in the Air Force. We have a long road ahead of us and it won’t be easy. I am committed to my TLC philosophy and challenge you to embody these principles as well as the Air Force core values. I am confident that as long as we keep focused on our goal, take care of each other and anticipate and fix problems early, we will be successful.

Black Knights----Checkmate!!!!! "

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mission Accomplished!

As some of you may remember, I embarked some time ago on the development of a Personal Mission Statement ( The blog post above was written on January 13th, 2009...over a year ago.

Three days ago, I finished my Personal Mission Statement.

"What took you so long, Joe?" Well, I took the advice of Stephen Covey and took my time to discover my personal mission statement. It really was a journey of self-discovery. I tried to create something that was the essence of how I strive to live my life. My guidelines were simple: A statement of what I wanted my life to be about as I seek "to Live, to Love, to Learn, and to leave a Legacy."

True introspection, or in this case, self "inspection" can be very difficult. It is why so many of us find it so hard to tackle something like a personal mission statement. We don't always like what we see in the mirror. We alone, in our own "deep inner lives," know our deepest successes and failures. We alone know the raw truth about who we are, what we have accomlished and the important work we have left to do. We alone know how satisfied or unsatisfied we are with that reflection.

I struggled to put into words my deepest inner desires of what my life should be about...of what I want to be remembered for long after I am gone. I wanted to put into words the design of the compass that will guide me through the rest of my life.

I love the analogy of the "natural process." A ripe red tomato cannot be picked the day after we plant the seed. We must nurture that seed to become a seedling. We must then nurture that seedling to become a tomato plant. Then we must nurture that plant to bear fruit. Only after that natural process is complete can we have that wonderful ripe red tomato....the "fruit of our labor."

Too often we look for the quick-fixes in life. We are all guilty of trying to short-circuit the natural process. In reality, we must pay the price in thought, reflection, and deep inspection of ourselves to produce a mission statement that is truly meaningful and can provide direction for our lives.

Now that the mission statement is written, the really hard work begins.

Now, I must live up to it.

THAT will be the life-long process of building a life and a legacy that is all that I believe it can be.

If you would like a copy of my personal mission statement (I don't know the world-at-large well enough to put it in writing here, but will share with those of you who care enough to drop a line), please send me an e-mail at and I will send it off to you. Maybe it will help you build your own. I would also be more than willing to help you in the process....just send me a note.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kudos, Dr. Grimm! there I was....I had been having sharp and painful knee pain in my right knee for months. I think I tweaked it by twisting wrong when I was getting out of a vehicle. I tried to work through it and see if it got better. After four months of "hoping" it would get better, I decided it was time to call in the doc.

The fella pictured above is David C. Grimm, MD. He took a look at my knee, sent me for an MRI and diagnosed a meniscus tear. He said he could clean it up in about an hour with arthroscopic surgery.

So...he did exactly that. I had the surgery Friday morning and by Sunday afternoon I was walking without crutches or pain. Minor swelling went away within a week and I was walking a mile and a half on the treadmill 6 days after surgery (The doc didn't like that when i told him, but I have had surgery on this knee before and know what to watch out for...still...not recommended...)!

Kudos, Doc! I really appreciate your work and the work of the fellow docs in your office at Canandaigua Orthopaedic Associates, PC.

Check these guys out at: . Their care and expertise warrant their presence on a blog about leadership. They are most assuredly leaders in the field of Orthopaedics.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Wife Got to this one First, but....

In our neck of the woods, it is not uncommon to pass by a horse and buggy with a family headed to market or to church or to a neighbor's home. We are used to the presence of Mennonites in our daily lives. We see them at the store, we shop in their shops, we drop by the roadside stands for fresh vegetables in the summertime. They are a part of our community.

When our friends, the Catlins, recently experienced a loss by fire to their bulk and natural food store, (Hillcrest Bulk and Natural Foods) the response was so wonderful, I must share this with you:

In one day, just three days after the fire, the damaged section had been taken down and re-built. There is a comment in the article that no payment was discussed or expected. Let me tell you why...

Liz and Steve make weekly deliveries to many Mennonite families. This is a true "Win/Win" for the Catlins and the Mennonites. You see, to go to market is no easy chore for a Mennonite family. Remember: they typically travel by foot, bicycle, or horse and buggy! So the service that Hillcrest Bulk and Natural Foods does saves a lot of time that can be spent on other, more pressing needs, at the Mennonite homesteads they service.

To me, the concept of "pay it forward" is at work here. Too often people only do things for others when they have some "quid pro quo" thought in mind...i.e. "I'll do this for you if you do this for me." Now, the Catlins don't deliver their goods for free, but the value of the service, in the eyes of their Mennonite friends, far outweighs the price. "Paying it Forward" means doing things today that are good and right and that bespeak your values and right principles, just because they are the right things to do. The goodwill and generosity of the Mennonites are, I believe, a manifestation of the Catlins "paying it forward."

God bless this community.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Politics, Religion, and Pizza (Part 2)

Yesterday, I left off with the beginnings of an interesting discussion of Politics I was a part of (see yesterday's post)

My bottom line was this: regardless of your political viewpoints, the only way I know how to look after the health and well-being of my family is to do everything I can to help secure their present and their future. It is my own actions or inaction that most directly impact their well-being.
As we all hear on the "human interest" bits in the media, many people are struggling with the state of our economy and the impact on their lives. I believe that many people got a shrewd and blatant "wake up" call when the economy went in the tank. I believe that many people are realizing that if they want help, they need to get off their butts and do something. Help is more readily available when you try to make things happen for yourself...when you take responsibility and are accountable for your self and your actions.

I pray that those who struggle find hope in the fact that as flawed as it is, this still is the greatest country in the world. We have our differences and our separate beliefs, and the timeless principles still apply:

-Self Reliance
-Personal Honor
-Hard Work
-and so many more right and true beliefs...think about it....What principles do you hold dear?

The moment you realize you are in control of your life and accountable for your actions, you realize that you can be the leader for yourself and your family. May God bless you and keep you safe on your journey.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Politics, Religion, and Pizza (Part 1)

After a long day, most of the way through an even longer week, I find myself seated with a Venezuelan, a Mid-Westerner, and a deep-southerner. I am the oldest person in the group by 8 years at the close end, and 18 years at the far end. We have a few drinks, talk about the projects we are working on, watch a little Curling on the bar TV (yes, I said "Curling"...cute girls playing shuffleboard on ice...we're in Canada, eh!). And the young Venezuelan begins a passionate rant about Chavez...someone (was that me?) mentions Obama, someone else takes offense at the comparison and.....we're off!

It was interesting for me to hear the Venezuelan's view of America and his views on what governments should do for the people of a free nation. Less interesting to me was a traditional emotional, "bash Bush" for not listening to the all-knowing liberal sage, Teddy Kennedy, some-odd years ago rant by the mid-westerner. Most interesting was the deep southerner trying to stay in the middle while occasionally letting slip a dig on the liberal...oh wait!..wrong moniker...I believe he said he was an "economic conservative with left-leaning political beliefs" or something similarly confusing.

When all the smoke cleared, two scotches later, I realized how much my views were unique to me and the fact that my having children had dramatically impacted my world view. I verbalized that even though my children were, by way of my income level and, according to the mid-westerner, skin color, viewed as coming from "the privileged class," and thereby afforded more opportunity than someone of a "disadvantaged minority" (their labels, not mine), they were still just kids making choices, good and bad, that would wind up being the sum total of their young characters when they left home. My compadres seemed to think "high income=privileged children" without taking them at face value or taking into consideration the cost of raising a family of 7 (yup...none of the young fellas had kids and the most vocal one was not married...)

As this post is getting a bit long...part 2 tomorrow!

Monday, February 8, 2010

"Undercover Boss"...Loved it!

Wow! Finally, in the wake of such trash as "The Apprentice," a show that delves into what leaders really need to understand to be successful and to make their organizations better: What do my workers go through to ensure my company's success?!?

I watched this show with some skepticism at first, but I figured "it's a great premise, let's see how it turns out." I was extremely impressed with the show, the content, the end results...everything! Take that, Mr. Trump!

Here's a link to what the show is about so you can judge for yourself:

If more corporate executives would actually come down out of the ivory towers and get in touch with their front line people, true change could happen in companies across the nation. It's not about BS like "You're Fired." Real life is about how do the decisions made in a vacuum, light years away from those they will impact, actually affect the most important people in a company?
Loved it!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

And this is why I am a Rotarian,32068,64921944001_1960407,00.html )

This is one of the reasons I belong to Rotary International. Long before the tragedy in Haiti, Rotarians around the world were sending these shelter boxes to victims of disasters, natural and man-made, to make their lives a little more bearable. Here's a link to more information on how to send a ShelterBox:

Rotarians believe passionately in their motto: Service Above Self. Service in the local club, service in their vocation, service to the community, and service to the world. The impact of what Rotarians do can be seen around the world in local communities of 33,000 world-wide clubs in 200 countries with 1,200,000 + members. Rotarians "...provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world."

Leaders belong in Rotary. Leaders abound in Rotary.

Is it time for you to give back in a meaningful way? Then go to to learn more.

Friday, February 5, 2010

King Tut at AGO

Last Sunday, since I had to fly out of Toronto for business, my wife decided she would like to drive me to the airport and then go see the King Tut exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto's Chinatown district.
It's a four hour, one way drive from where we live in western New York to Toronto, with a border crossing to boot. I was not thirlled with the idea at first and then Terri said, "I know you're aprehensive, but I have promised myself to treat myself to things like this when I have a chance and this is a chance I am not going to pass up."
How can you argue with logic like that? We went and it really was fascinating. To think that many of the pieces of sculpture, and art and gold artifiacts were created 3000 to 5000 years ago was a bit awe-inspiring.
If it were not for my wife's insistence, I would have missed this opportunity. I think I shall listen a bit closer to my wise companion.
I hope you seek counsel and advice from someone like her in your life....someone who is willing to show you how to capture the moment....someone who cares about you and wants to share with you wonderful things. They are leaders in your life too and sometime we are too busy leading to follow a little.
Thanks, H.B.!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stop and Look Around

So I am sitting here with the shades drawn, just getting up mid-afternoon after adjusting my sleep schedule to go in and do some consulting on the night shift and I decide to open the shades and this is what I saw...
Now, I am in a very remote location, up in the Canadian Rockies and we have been pretty much working from before sun up to just about sun down. We have encountered numerous Elk on the roads to and from the job site. And today, this is my view in Elkford, British Columbia.
From time to time we need to stop and look around. We get so wrapped up in "the thick of thin things" that we often miss the grandeur in God's work. Granted, we can always find what's wrong with a situation or a job or a place. It's a little harder to find the beauty and good in things. A little harder, but much more rewarding.
The work isn't going anywhere....take a minute and look around.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Absolute Truth: You Must Take Action!

How many of us know incredibly bright and talented people who, despite their luminescence and skills, seem to languish and stagnate? They continue to squander their essence on things that do not help them. They sit idly by and when pushed, push back with excuses and external blame:

"I'm doing the best I can, but I don't feel good, I'm always tired, ______________(fill in the "wahhh!" here)"

"I would have done ________, but they didn't call me back!"

"You don't understand how hard it is!"

Now...stop...and reflect....has this been you? I know it has been me in the past....

So...what do we do about that? We do the only thing we can do that will move us past this stagnant and fetid place...take action! If you continue to wallow, you will continue to wallow!

Get up and do a book, make a plan and execute it, set goals that inspire you, play games with your children to become closer to their energy and their life force, surround yourself with beauty in small ways, have a conversation with God and ask for guidance, do something totally out of character just to see what it feels like (safely, now!).


I promise you that as you begin to act, you will find more energy and purpose and you will begin to become prone to action. it will take time, but you will see the results if you continue to act.

In this down economy so many people have lost heart at the hands of others without realizing maybe it is time for them to act on their own behalf, instead of expecting to be taken care of. The one person who has your best interest at heart is you!

I didn't say it would be easy, but most things that are worth having do not come easy. In fact, it is the desire for the quick and easy solution that drives so many to complacency. Too few realize that when the acceptable minimum becomes your chosen maximum, the product of your life is mediocrity.

Don't be mediocre! Choose to be more and take action to get there.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

So...What about a Podcast?

As I was kicking around the web this morning, I was on iTunes and had a thought (yes...I the funny comments....): What if I could script and record podcasts as a way to reach a broader audience? iTunes reaches such a broad audience, why not try to reach that audience with a more focused approach to what I am passionate about...?

As I researched a bit more, I found that it really is pretty easy to get your podcast up on iTunes, or so it appears. Here's a link to the particulars:

When I search for information about a topic I want to know more about, I find that the podcasts are a great way to get pertinent content and some good learnings and advice from others passionate about similar subjects.

I believe I will try to record and post a podcast in the near future and chronicle what it takes to do so right here. If you have any thoughts or ideas on the topic, please let me know by commenting here.

Wish me luck!

(oh...and "eez not my dog!"...Got it from Flickr from a fella named "Zoomar.")

Friday, January 29, 2010

How Often do you Miss the Whimsy?

Groggy from sleep, shuffling to my ritual morning shower, I look up and this is what I see....two smiley faces, dangling from the odds-and-ends rack in the shower. With my own "smiley face," I remember these as gifts in my 11 year old daughter's Christmas stocking. Gifts I gave her knowing they fit her wonderful personality perfectly.
It also made me pause to think how often I miss little things like this. As a person with a lot of responsibility for my family and for others (not unlike many of you who are reading this), the days are usually so hectic and loaded-up that unless we are "tuned-in" to the little things, they might pass right on by, un-noticed and, at least in this case, un-shared.
In my line of work, I am often away and do not have the chance to see these little touching moments. For me, it makes the ones I do get to witness that much more special.
You see, leadership is not always "out there" at work or in our civic clubs and organizations. Recently, Stephen Covey made a comment about treating our children as leaders. Each of them will be leaders of their own lives, and, eventually, like us, the examples they set for their own children and families to follow.
For those of us with children, never forget that they will mark our legacy long after we are gone. They are the important parts of us that are the result of our love for our spouse, and our dedication to our family. How we build them up or don't will ring in their lives and in their relationships many years down the road.
So in this moment, I choose to say "Thank You, Gillian!" Thank you for making me smile and thank you for helping me remember what is most important in my children and my family.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Leadership Begins at Home

Amidst the collection of teen things hanging on my son James' bulletin board in his room is a personal mission statement. It reads:

The Mission Statement of James T. Pollhein:
-Work it Harder
-Make it Better
-Do it Faster
-Makes us Stronger
by Daft Punk

This is his. He owns it. He drew it up and has it where he can see it every day. It states the way he would like to live his life....a "personal credo" of sorts... In this pursuit, he is one step ahead of me as I struggle to find the words to capture what I want my life to be about. He is 16.

Over the Christmas break, three of my teenage sons and I sat down for an hour or so about 11 times and together we read through the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. It was written as a way to bring the power of Stephen Covey's book of similar title to teenagers. It brings them the Seven Habits in a teen-centered way. Its language speaks to them and challenges them to learn to live the Seven Habits every day.

As I have written before, the Seven Habits absolutely changed my life and they are a touch-stone for me every day. They are for me a life-long pursuit. Sharing this with James, Ben, and Matt was a great way to begin the discussion in our home of holding each other accountable to higher ideals....holding each other accountable to a better way of behaving, a better way of interacting, a better way of living together.

In all that you do as a leader, have you taken the time to really connect what you believe in with those you believe in the most?