These past two weeks have been excruciatingly challenging for my family and me. My mother has been in and out of the hospital and is now in a skilled nursing facility. I’m the President of the school board charged with making a decision on closing a school in our district.” Add to that the normal, everyday stresses of running a consulting practice, being a husband, father, and dog walker.
I spoke to a colleague who is now being challenged with moving homes; having a 2-year old daughter at home with him while he works; and expecting another child in the next month. This chaos will eventually go away, but will be replaced by a new chaos. That’s the way life is. How you deal and respond with all of it will impact your business, your health, and your life.
Here are a few helpful tips to consider when you go through similar stretches…
* Find time to laugh. Watch a funny movie or television show; read a funny book; dive into your favorite comic strip. You’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine, and you know this is true. Create time for it.
* Have perspective. Life events are part of our existence. Many crises are self-inflicted. Many crises we refuse to let go and allow to rent space in our brains. No matter how bad it may be for you, someone else is being shot at, starving, homeless, or terminally ill. Keeping perspective is crucial to good life balance.
* Avoid becoming a “victim.” Victim mentality can seep into people when they think the world is against them or owes them something. They then become insufferable to others and themselves. Short-lived pity parties are acceptable, as long as they remain that – short. Then toss them aside and don’t allow them to return. The goal is happy.
* Be ruthless with your time. Don’t overextend yourself, especially in time of chaos. You may have to divert, change directions, or simply discard appointments, meetings, and events. Triage your situation and do what’s best for you.People always understand and are willing to work with you.
* Don’t be a “lone ranger.” Find solace and comfort in friends and family. Vent to someone who is willing to help (key word is ‘willing’). Ask for advice, go to lunch with a friend, and simply stay active with people. There are no hero awards for trying to be a “tough guy or gal.”
* Find some quiet times. Do whatever moves you in these quiet times – prayer, meditation, or simply doing nothing. Our brains need a little quiet once in awhile to get back into balance.
* Remember that you don’t have a personal life and a professional life. You have a life. And you only get one, so make sure you are maximizing it!
© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I’m here in Portland for a few days to update my designations. Last night, I went out to meet a couple of my fine colleagues who live in the Rose City. The Sheraton I’m staying at is right by the airport and they suggested a nice restaurant on the other side of the city. No problem…I have a car and I like good food.
As I left the Sheraton parking lot on a dark, cold December evening, I realized I had no idea where I was going, or really where I was. I didn’t know if I was traveling north, south, east, or west. What I did know is that I had Sofia next to me. All I did was listen to her. She told me when to turn right, when to merge left, what sign to look for, and how far away I was. Luckily, she doesn’t tell me what I can or can’t eat!
Without Sofia I may have ended up in Eugene, which for a Husky is bad news. I put my faith and trust in her…the GPS in my iPhone.
I really had no idea how I was getting to where I was going. In the old days, it would have been a debacle. I had no problem taking a leap of faith with Sofia and I ended up successfully reaching my destination.
What about you? When was the last time you took a leap of faith in your business? When did you last make that investment in yourself, create a new product, step outside your comfort zone, or take a wild hair, yet calculated risk?
Standing still is death in business. Sometimes you even get lost or don’t know in which direction you’re heading. You need your own Sofia. You need someone to guide you, inspire you, tell you when you are wrong and when you are right, and get you to your destination successfully. Good coaches and mentors do that in business, just like Sofia does that on the road. Heading into 2013, is your direction in need of a little guidance?
Copyright 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
My two daughters travel very differently. Daughter A (I’m not giving names and if you have kids you know why) travels lightly. One bag with essentials. Daughter B usually ends up taking more than she brought and often the rest of us have to take some of her extra “stuff” because she’s over the weight limit. Some baggage is essential – medicine, underwear, and clothing appropriate for the destination. Others are not. Seven pairs of shoes for a three day trip is an example.
We all carry baggage. Contrary to what you often hear, all baggage isn’t bad. Some of it is essential. Your life experiences and lessons learned; the people who you have known and learned from; and even the adversity you’ve faced and risen from. This baggage you must keep. The other baggage – stress, anxiety, cynicism, victim mentality, negativism, and greed – these shouldn’t just be thrown off the train. They should be thrown off at the point where they drop off the steepest precipice! All this negative energy that often gets carried around by all of us at some time will build over time if it’s allowed to. It will suffocate you and keep you from maximizing your talents and succeeding in life. Make sure you recognize when your bags are getting full with all those “shoes” and throw them forcefully of your train.
Life is not about the destination, but the journey. Travel light!
This week’s quote - “Insanity does not run in my family. Rather, it strolls through, taking its time, getting to know everyone personally.”
- I saw this on my pal Kevin’s Facebook page. I thought it was very funny!
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I never met Don Meyer.
But as a high school basketball coach, I certainly knew who he was. Coach Meyer from Northern State University in South Dakota, was a legend among coaches. He ran impressive camps and clinics for kids and coaches during the summer. During over 40 winters, he eventually amassed more victories than even Bob Knight. He was well respected, admired, and loved by college basketball luminaries like Knight, Pat Summitt, Tom Izzo, and John Wooden.
In 2008, Coach Meyer was involved in a horrific car accident. During surgery to save his life, the surgeon discovered he had inoperable cancer. He eventually lost his leg below the knee. And, he was coaching at Northern State a few short months later. Coach Meyer’s story is told brilliantly by ESPN baseball journalist, Buster Olney. Olney covered Meyer when he was coaching at Lipscomb in Nashville where Olney was a young beat writer.
The name of the book is “How Lucky You Can Be: The Story of Coach Don Meyer.” You don’t have to be a basketball fan like me to appreciate the depth of faith, family, and friends that Coach Meyer reflects. It’s well worth the read.
I once spoke to Coach Meyer somewhere in 2004 or 2005. I was signing up to attend his coaching clinic. Unfortunately, something derailed that and I never made it later. I regret that because I would have loved to meet and know Don Meyer.
In 2009, Coach Meyer was awarded the Jimmy V award at the ESPYs. Below is the footage from that night, including his speech. I recommend highly both the book and this video. You won’t be disappointed.
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
This is a MUST READ for all of you – whether you’re a consultant, a business owner, an executive, or simply a human being. This was my 1% for the day!
My professional mentor and author of Million Dollar Consulting ®, Alan Weiss discusses the difference being worry and concern. This is a HUGE difference and one each one of us needs to recognize in order to stay positive and focused forward.
To read Alan’s blog, click here.
© 2012. Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I went into my iTunes Store on Sunday to purchase a couple of songs by Whitney Houston. I’ve always loved her voice, and with her tragic death on Saturday, I figured it was about time to add her to my library.
Back when I was a kid, I remember buying records in music stores. This was when vinyl was still in style and cassettes were cutting edge. I loved taking my time strolling along the aisles and flipping through LPs and reading the jackets. (I’m certain my daughters think of something completely different when they read jacket). The purchasing of my music was more expensive, took more time, and quite frankly was more enjoyable. Today, it took me a total of about 3 minutes to locate two Whitney Houston songs, pay less than $2 for them, and download them into my phone. (just as foreign language to someone living in 1975, right?)
The journey is almost always more fun than finally hitting that destination. My journey in the music store about 40 years ago was an event, normally done with friends, that I still hold as a fond memory. I can’t remember all the records I bought, but I do remember the journey.
That’s a lot like your life. Don’t blast through each day like you’re downloading music into your iPhone. Enjoy the journey. It’s what you’ll remember anyway…
This week’s quote – “Things that hurt, instruct.” Benjamin Franklin
The tragic death yesterday of the legendary singer, Whitney Houston, at the young age of 48, adds another famed celebrity to a different and undesirable walk of fame.
Yes, we still have yet to discover what happened to Houston, but suffice it to say that her history of drug and alcohol abuse leads one to consider the possibility that this may have contributed. Nobody deserves to die alone in a hotel bathtub.
Whitney Houston joins a star-studded line-up of people who succumbed to the pressures and expectations of the world – Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, John Belushi, Chris Farley, and Jimi Hendrix to name a few.
Whitney Houston and I are about the same age. We grew up at the same time in history, but on different coasts and certainly with a different skill set. Her silky smooth voice (perhaps the best female voice I’ve ever heard at her peak) gained her world fame and adulation. I never saw her sing in person, nor met her, but she impacted my life with her amazing talent, as did many of the people mentioned above. Unfortunately, as history has shown, fame often leads to intense pressure, expectations, too much money, and too many “friends.” Drug and alcohol abuse, dysfunctional relationships, depression, and other maladies can befall those stuck in the limelight.
You can’t blame people. We are all human. Had our lives been the opposite, whose to say I wouldn’t have been induced to the vices Houston admittedly fell victim to, and her maybe a happily married music teacher in Newark. That’s the ultimate tragedy. What most of us only know her as is a singer. For us, she will live on in her music. For her mother, her daughter, her close friends, and those who loved her because she was just Whitney (not because she could sing better than just about anyone else on the planet), they are left grieving and mourning because she was gone too soon for no good reason at all.
In the “old” days, celebrity was tougher to reach. Now, because of social media and reality television, it doesn’t take as much talent (if any at all) to reach a level of celebrity that blows Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes to hell. And the bad news is, the perils and vices come to those 21st century “celebs” as well. You may need to be careful of what you ask for!
Rest in peace, Whitney Houston. It’s a tragedy for the world and those who loved you. Thanks for giving us music that will last forever. I hope your story will inspire someone else to avoid the same fate.
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Perspective on Life.
Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno passed away over the weekend at the age of 85. Paterno was the head man at Penn State for over 40 years and built a legacy of greatness on and off the football field at Happy Valley over the years.
For many, especially without a lot of football history, they know Paterno as the coach fired abruptly in disgrace last November when it was revealed that a former assistant coach had allegedly abused children. There are still questions on what Paterno knew, when he knew, and what actions he took. On one of his final interviews, he acknowledges he felt he did the right thing, but in retrospect, he should have done more.
There are many ways people will view the life and legend of Paterno. I think I will choose to remember him as a man who had great impact on the lives of countless young men. Yes, I believe he made mistakes in the Jerry Sandusky situation. Yes, he should have done more. But in the end, when you take a look at the entire body of work, the final few pages of the last chapter should be viewed in perspective of the whole book.
How often do we judge people or issues based on a small sample set, rather than the entire body of work? The next time you have to, I hope you consider perspective in your decision.
This week’s quote – “Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy.” Joe Paterno
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
The New York Giants came in hot to frigid Green Bay and bounced the defending champion Packers with a smothering defense and methodical offense. As with the year the Giants won it all, momentum played a huge part in their win.
The Giants started their roll with a strong outing against the Jets in Week 16; and followed it up with a thumping of Dallas to win the NFC East and get to the playoffs. Last week in Wild Card weekend, they stymied the Atlanta Falcons by giving up only a safety. Today, they took their great momentum into Lambeau Field.
Green Bay started petering out in a loss to the lowly Kansas City Chiefs to break their unbeaten streak. They just kind of staggered to the end by sitting Rodgers in the final game. Then they got a week off. Any momentum they had was trending the wrong way.
Momentum is powerful in sports. It’s also powerful in business and life. Be careful. You need to be aware of when you are losing momentum and get it back. As a basketball coach, I drilled for momentum. You have to, too. Understand what it looks and feels like to have momentum and be vigilant in keeping the trend upwards.
There are always lulls in life. Make sure you keep them short. Learn a lesson from this weekend’s NFL playoff games. Momentum determines wins and losses…
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I don’t know…maybe it’s just me. At this time of year, I delightedly look back on the year and take stock of the experiences that impacted my life. We get running so hard and fast at times that it’s easy to overlook significant things that occur to you. I try very hard as it approaches my birthday and a new year, to become just a little retrospective. I’d like to share that with you…
1. Certainly, the most impactful thing for me in 2011 was losing my dad in March. Coming into the year, we knew it was going to happen. Just not when. The ability to say goodbye over time and be with him when he passed is something I will never forget. An experience like that changes you in many ways, specifically in contemplating your own mortality and moving on without someone who has always been there. I also gained so much from the love and support of family and friends. It’s one thing to think you know you have it; it’s another to see it in action.
2. I had the opportunity to return to my roots. After 40 years, I returned to Bogotá, Colombia in both a professional and personal way. I had the pleasure of speaking to 300 business executives in a conference held in Bogotá. After that, I spent a glorious week with my mother’s family re-acquainting and meeting family for the first time as an adult. I made many friends in Bogotá, both family and non-family. I This experience is hard for me to put in words, I will be returning soon and look forward to enhancing those relationships and sharing them with my wife and kids.
3. In addition to Bogotá, I found myself in New York City, Boston, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Las Vegas.
4. I saw my daughter graduate college in May. This was an amazing moment for Barb and me. It seems like only yesterday that I was holding her in my arms moments after her birth. To watch her reach the dream of becoming a college graduate was simply awesome.
5. I passed my final exam and earned my Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designation. This was a 5-year process and I’m looking forward to next year where I can attend a class and NOT have to take the test!
6. I gained many new clients, colleagues, and friends in 2011. Too numerous to list, but you know who you are. This is the fabric of our lives. Each year, we need to add important people in our lives to enrich it. We also need to cultivate the “old” ones and I hope I did that.
7. I learned to cook. If you ask Barb and the girls, they may say this in and of itself is a minor (or even major) miracle.
8. We added a new “member” to our family this year. Tati was our Rotary exchange student for 3 and half months and she became a lifetime fixture in our family. We call her our “Colombian” daughter. She and her family have become great additions to our extended family.
9. Family “stuff” – I continue to be amazed with what great daughters I have. Mindy and Kelli are doing great in college, getting jobs (woot woot); and becoming incredible young adults. I’m living with my mother again. Only this time, I guess she is living with us. The transition from losing her husband of 52 years to moving in with her son is challenging. But things continue to go well and you even more so realize the value of family.
10 . The best for last. I celebrated my 25th anniversary of being married to the best human on the planet (to all you other humans, I hope you understand where I’m coming from!). Barb and I have been together now over 30 years in total. How she continues to put up with me, I will never know, but I can assure you I am eternally thankful that she does. Going through life with the one you love is a true blessing, and I am very much blessed.
2011 may have been one of the most incredible years I’ve ever had. Filled with joy, sadness, and a multitude of other emotions; filled with significant events and passings; and filled with experiences that will never be forgotten.
What about you? How was your year? I encourage you to take a look back on your year and reflect on the good, the bad, and everything in between. Consider how you have grown personally and professionally, and how that will catapult you into 2012.
On behalf of my family, I want to wish each one of you a joyous, prosperous, and exciting 2012. Happy New Year!