The Value of Hard Work

Recently I attended a high football game in Gatesville, TX (Go Hornets!). I bought a sweet tea and on the cup was a message sponsored by a local business. The marketing message on the cup was, “I Learned the Value of Hard Work by Working Hard!” I immediately thought, “How awesome is that?”

There is no substitute, no app to download, and no excuse that will teach you this important value. Hard work can only be learned by actually doing it. Now some people want life to be easy and sure you can live in such a way that doesn’t risk yourself or others but you will not be successful. Think about your greatest moments. I am willing to bet that most of them are the product of Hard Work.

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Preparation

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to go on vacation with my family to Gulf Shores, AL which may have some of the best beaches in the world.  One morning my wife invited me on a date walk and it was tremendous besides the blisters on my toes, chaffing and the wonderful shade of red my skin loves to turn when it sees the sun.  We of course laugh about it now and you may think that was the most memorable part of the date however it was not.  As we were walking under the pier we discovered an older couple crap catching.  I then noticed a wave tip over a bucket on shore and witnessed the distress on the woman’s face.  I ran over grabbed the bucket and the crab were gone however they must have been startled because they did not run away immediately.  I reach down to start helping catch the crabs and the woman said, “not with your hands!”  We then used her net to catch the crabs that had been in the bucket.  After we had rounded them all up I asked her it that was for supper, she said, “no, it is for West Indies Crab Salad in about a week.”  She thanked me and she was right about catching them with your hand as I did receive one little cut from one of those beauties.  

The rest of the walk Amy and I talked about life, children and time spent apart due to military obligations.  When we got back I couldn’t get out of my mind when the wonderful women said she was preparing for a meal in about a week.  Two things came to me: 1. How much crab do you need for this salad? 2. Preparing for a meal a week in advance requires much forethought for future events.

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The Three Legged Wolf

The Three Legged Wolf

The Three Legged Wolf

Recently my family and I visited the DeYoung Zoo in Wallace, MI (great time if you never have been).  During our visit we heard the story of Eve the three legged wolf.

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Inner Beauty

Yesterday my wonderful neighbor invited our family to attend a showing of Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast as part of thank you for his realty customers.  I must say it was fantastic and I think I like it better than the original animated version.  I am not ashamed to say it moved me to a few happy tears.  The best part was the discussion we had as a family over dinner about what was learned watching the movie.

 

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Resiliency

Recently I had the privilege to attend master resilience training for the Army.  This was a fantastic course which taught skills/tools for people to become more resilient.  Their simple definition of resilience is the ability to bounce back after adversity.  I have had week now to reflect on this training and this definition.  I think there is another component which is the resistance we face on our way back from adversity.  I believe it is the ability to overcome this resistance that makes one resilient.  

The resistance may be easy or extremely challenging.  I heard Les Brown speak once and he had a wonderful line that I will never forget, “If I fall down I hope I land on my back because if I can look up, I can get up!”  He is a tremendous speaker and it is a great saying.  The real deal is that sometimes our resistance isn’t as simple as getting back up after falling down.  I certainly have had my fair share of resistance that has challenged my ability to be resilient.

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25 cents a week

Recently I was attending a Thanksgiving family gathering and I was my grandmother in law was there which is always a treat to have her spread some knowledge of the past.  We began a discussion on the cycles of life and she told me her allowance used to be a quarter a week.  She said can you even imagine that?  My answer was, No.  

She told us about saving money so they could stop by the soda shop to get a treat.  It was a delight to hear the way life was in the past and even a better lesson on how communities and families can look out for one another.  My grandmother in law was never making the point on how much stuff costs now compared to the past but all the things people did together to get things done.  She grew up on a farm and even on her own wedding day see had chores to do before the ceremony but guess what she did not complain because everyone did that and everyone pitched in.

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Celebrate You

Celebrate all you are and how much you are loved.

Honor the person you are and all you're becoming.

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Reap or Sow

Most for us have heard, "You reap what you sow."  Which basically translated means if you do good then good things will happen and if you do bad then bad things will happen.  I think we all want to believe this proverb and rightfully so since this is the premise we try to instill in people. 

I would like to think of it a little differently not better but just in another way.  When you enter into a new endeavor do you think about yourself or the people you serve or will be serving one day.  Simple put if you think about sowing instead of reaping then I believe you will create a sense of fulfillment.  

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Excellence v. Perfection

I don't know if any of you are like me but I am my worst critic.  I generally am harder on myself than anyone else can be.  Recently I have been asking myself, "What is it you are striving for?" and "Why do you place so much stress on yourself?"  If this sounds at all like you I want so share this excerpt from the book, Moving Past Perfect by Thomas Greenspon.

Excellence is risk.  Perfection is fear.

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Conviction

Conviction is very powerful.  One person with conviction is the majority.  This can be good or bad however when one person stands up and truly believes with passion then usually people will follow.  The passing of one of the greatest athletes in boxing this weekend has allowed a whole new generation to appreciate the man behind the athlete.  I saw a tweet by President Obama saying "Muhammad Ali was the greatest. Period. Just ask him and he would tell you."  The amazing aspect of this great boxer is that boxing was not his greatest asset.  

Unfortunately, I was not alive to see him conquer the gold medal, win a belt or witness the Thrilla in Manilla however I do know a lot of his quotes.  Muhammad Ali's greatest asset to me was his internal conviction to stand up for what he believed was right.  You may not know this but he was an extremely generous person willing to give where he felt the need was the greatest (pun intended).  If you time search some of the quotes by him and you will find grit, humor, swagger and conviction.  If you think about it he may have been the first original rapper.  

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Memorial Day

"There are no victories at bargain prices." General Dwight D. Eisenhower

I think we all have heard the phrase, freedom is not free.  We all either no someone or know of someone who has paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  I find it fascinating that this is not labeled as a "major holiday" in most workplaces or social circles.  I guess the label is not as important as the intent behind the holiday which is to honor the fallen.  

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RECONSTRUCTOR

The other day while I was picking my kids up from school a young man stopped me and asked what do you do?  Before I could answer he asked if I was a fireman.  I said my goodness that is a great profession but I am not a fireman.  I began to explain my civilian career and he look puzzled.  He kept asking great questions and I hoped I answered them well but I still could tell he was processing the information.  He them came to one of the best conclusions I have ever heard, he said “You’re a Reconstructor!”

I do wear multiple hats whether civilian, personal business or military but one thing I know is as adults we overcomplicate things.  If we can just see the world through the eyes of child sometimes I believe we can reduce some of the “noise” around us.  I think we could use less complication and peace in our lives.

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CLIMB

I have had several people ask me what I am working on next for motivation innovation.  First of all I find it extremely flattering that people enjoyed my first book and have responded to many of the blog posts.  Second for those of you who know me well you know that I am always working on many projects at the same time.  I am well deserving of my nickname Hammy (the squirrel from the animated moving "Over the Hedge") that my wife affectionately calls me. 

I tell you what that has been driving me thoughts lately.  How do I work on me?  Think about how much of your time you spend on you.  I think about my professional career and all I was doing is working on my profession not necessarily on me.  Of course I learned from continuing education but what did I learn about me?  If you are just starting out or getting ready retire I really want you to think about the balance between professional development and personal growth.

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Earth Day

It is earth day today which was founded by a Senator in Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson in 1970.  He wanted to capitalize on the momentum and energy created by a large oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA and have that audience focus on the preservation of our earth.  The first year was quite successful leading to legislation you probably heard of such as the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Endangered Species Acts. 

So you may be asking yourself what inspiration, motivation or growth am I to take out of a brief history lesson?  Great question!  The lesson to be learned is stewardship of our resources whether it is natural, labor or geographic.  The ability to use resources wisely is and will always determine your level of success.  If you look at your team, do have the right people in the right place and doing the right job for them?  If you were a football coach you probably wouldn't play an offensive lineman at quarterback.  At home are you using the resources you buy or are you wasting?  It is frustrating when I hear things such as, they have enough money they can afford it.  That is STINKIN THINKIN!!  It should not matter what your percieved social or professional status is because we all share the world. Think about this bible verse.

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WIN

I am pretty sure we all like the feeling of winning.  I know that I am a competitive person and I enjoy doing well at whatever I set my mind on.  The problem I have found in my life recently is that I don't seem to have the time to set myself up for success.  I don't like to compare generations because each have had their own challenges and neither one is better or worse than another however I think today we are overloaded with information.  I can tell you I really struggle with amount of emails, texts, posts, tweets, etc.  I find that I really enjoy the occasional phone call with a live person. 

I am still trying to figure out my best organizational method for all this information, which will change will the insertion of whatever new technology comes next.  As I was doing my self reflection I remember a class I took on performance improvement.  I want to share this simple yet effective tool for your toolbox now.

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Decision Points

I apologize for the delay since my last blog post but Uncle Sam had me quite busy for awhile.

I often ponder, "What is it that makes me go left or right?"  If you have read any of my material you know that more often than not in my youth and young adulthood I made the incorrect decision.  So, I ask myself "Why am I making the correct decisions now?" 

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REGRET

I was asked this question last night. “If you had to do it all over again would you do something different?”  My goodness what a question and I am sure in the past I would have gone on about how I would do this, that and the other different however I responded with a simple NO.  This response was surprising to the other person so I knew I needed to clarify.

 

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Disability Ability

This week I was honored to participate on a mock interview session at a local university with young men and women preparing for internships or new careers.  I must say I get probably more out of it then the students.  I will tell you our future is bright and these folks are much better prepared than I was especially at that age.  All the participants had their strengths and weaknesses and I was happy to have candid discussions about behaviors and mannerisms.  

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Angels

There have never been words more poweful than "I Love You."

There have never been words more meaningful than "Thank You."

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MOTIVES

The truly successful people in life do what they do for other people rather than themselves. This is very easy to say but difficult to accomplish.  I don’t think I truly understood this concept until three years ago.  I had spent my entire professional career taking care of people which I believe I did very well.  This may sound like servant living but as I reflect upon my career I was always seeking to advance in my career.  Of course there is nothing wrong with wanting to lead and expand your influence to serve a greater population.  The problem is I don’t think I was doing this for others but I was thinking about me and how advancing would make provide me more money, power and possessions.  

 

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