The Best Christmas Move EVER

It's a Wonderful Life
It’s a Wonderful Life

You know that one of the hottest topics around the Christmas season is what is the best Christmas movie. I’ve heard radio stations debate it over the airwaves and it’s really a fun argument and discussion. We are ardent Christmas movie watchers in our family. In fact, I’m so weird about it, I’ve established guidelines on when and how to watch certain movies (example – the George C. Scott Christmas Carol must be viewed Christmas Eve night and The Christmas Story is never viewed before Christmas Day, yet can be binged on that day). Not that I’m obsessive or anything…I’ve actually made slight alterations when cajoled by my daughters exclaiming, “Please Daddy!” because they won’t be back home in time. I’m not a Grinch for goodness sakes!

I know people have opinions and cogent arguments about their favorites. However, no right-thinking person can argue over what is seemingly inarguable. The BEST Christmas movie EVER, and perhaps one of the greatest movies of all time is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Period. Punto. No mas.

Look…the movie has it all. We’ve all been George Bailey at some point in our life. Is there a more compelling character for Christmas? It transcends generations with its story of family, adversity, loyalty, compassion, evil (Mr. Potter is the original Darth Vader), and love. The depth of despair to the adulation. Heck, when you watched Elf and saw Buddy standing over the East River (might have been the Hudson, but who cares) about ready to end it all, didn’t your mind flash back to George Bailey leaning over the edge of the bridge with the snow falling and the agonized and tormented look on his face? of course you did. Me, too.

The Godfather is known for it’s profound, life explaining quotes. It’s a Wonderful Life has them all, too. I am literally able to fall out of bed at 2:00 in the morning quoting someone from the movie. Consider these classics and I bet you get goosebumps just like I am writing them…

Clarence: Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?

Harry Bailey: A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town.

Man on Porch: Why don’t you kiss her instead of talking her to death? George Bailey: You want me to kiss her, huh? Man on Porch: Ah, youth is wasted on the wrong people.

Zuzu Bailey: Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings. George Bailey: That’s right, that’s right. [Looks heavenward] Attaboy, Clarence.

Pa Bailey: All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.

Clarence: [In book inscription] Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.

You’re with me, right? Of course you are. Like the players on Remember the Titans, “leave no doubt;” Frank Capra, Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, et al, left no doubt. I don’t even think it’s debatable, is it? It’s a Wonderful Life is THE Christmas movie. It is best watched between December 21st and 24th. Just saying…

That is unless your daughter (who doesn’t arrive until the 26th and is as much a geek about this as I am) asks to wait by pleading, “Please Daddy! Please!”

That’s how you know it’s the best!

George Bailey: Ha, ha, ha, ha! My mouth’s bleeding, Bert! My mouth’s bleeding! Zuzu’s petals… Zuzu…[checking his pocket] There they are! Bert, what do you know about that! Merry Christmas!

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Back in the NY Groove #2

Oops. I have to do a mea culpa.

The NY Athletic Club is NOT where the Heisman Trophy was born. I got it mixed up with the Downtown Athletic Club, which apparently has been torn down. I got all excited when I saw the promotional event in the lobby. Good thing I’m not a researcher by trade!

Terrific time last night hanging around Grand Central Station. We ate dinner on the mezzanine overlooking the hustling and bustling of thousands of travelers heading home. Back there today for my meeting. Hoping I remember to drop by the market to pick up a spice we love to cook with!

More later…

Copyright 2013 Dan Weedin. All rights reserved

Back in the New York Groove 1

I’m staying at the historic New York Athletic Club on my trip into the Big Apple. Part if its history involves college football.

The New York Athletic Club is where the annual event honoring the best college football player that year is held. The Heisman Trophy is awarded and all of college football royalty is in attendance. I saw a sign promoting an event later this month at the club with past Heisman recipients to raise money for the Ronald McDonald charities. That would be fun to go to!

The club is directly across the street from Central Park. It’s a little drizzly today to take a jaunt and tomorrow is supposed to be better, so I will wait until then. Just came back from a delicious lunch with a friend near Times Square and now time to relax a little.

One of the joys of business traveling is experiencing the soul of a city. That means taking in the sights, eating the food, and mixing with people. This morning, I shared stories over coffee with other travelers on their way to South Africa from Calgary to judge an international dance contest and then go on safari. Ironically, we were in a Starbucks in the rain! Ironic for me because that is normal in Seattle!

Bottom line – enjoy where you are and be bold in discovering and trying. You never know if and when you will cross that path again.

I think I will see if I can find the ghost of Jay Berwanger skulking about the premises…

Copyright 2013 Dan Weedin. All rights reserved

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Extra Points – Preparation

Preparation.

Last week, Barb and I spent 4 days and 3 nights in New York City. On Tuesday, it was the Occupy Movement Day to protest whatever it is they are protesting. The participants of Occupy New York gathered in Bryant Park next to the Bank of America. It was a beautiful day, so we decided to take in the park and watch the “festivities.” Although, sirens were constantly going, the march and protesting was all peaceful. Nobody got out of line.

When we got back to our hotel, we were shocked and dismayed to see Seattle was in disarray. Protesters were breaking glass on cars, throwing bricks through storefronts, and basically creating havoc and mayhem. It dawned on me that I was safer in New York than in Seattle!

New York is the safest big city in the world. Even before 9/11, they have been prepared for insurgency and terrorism; riots and unrest; and everything in between. This May Day event was small potatoes for a group that is prepared, focused, and committed to keeping people safe. Seattle and other cities can learn a few things.

So can all of us in business. Being unprepared is negligent. Not knowing how to respond to an objection in a sales call; not having your technology prepared and tested prior to a speech; and not being ready to deliver orders when you marketed for just that eventuality is bad business. Run your business more like New York runs their police team – be prepared, be be focused, and be committed.

This week’s quote – “My interest is in the future because I’m going to spend the rest of my life there.”  Charles Kettering

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

New York Journal # 3

Great day on Tuesday. Barb and I spent the morningworking with my professional mentor, Alan Weiss. I highly recommend thistype of involvement with a coach or mentor to re-define, reinvent, and focus energy.

We were done about noon, which gave us more time to hang around the city. We walked around Madison Avenue and Bryant Park. The city was full of Occupy protesters and police. Although we were constantly hearing sirens, all that we saw was peaceful marching and no issues. We never felt unsafe. Unfortunately, in my home city of Seattle, a bunch of lunatics thought it made sense to break store and car windows and cause general mayhem and havoc. Go figure, I was safer in New York than in Seattle while wandering the streets.

New York does it right as far as protection. The police everywhere, and I mean everywhere. They are also much better prepared and forward thinking. Certainly, they have every reason to be, but Seattle and Portland can learn a lesson.

We went out do dinner last night with Alan and his wife and then to Evita on Broadway. Elena Roger is the first Argentinian to play Eva Peron on Broadway and she was brilliant. I also thought Ricky Martin performed admirably. All in all, a terrific production.

Today is travel day. Raining like Seattle, so we feel at home…

2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

New York Journal # 2

Monday was play day in “The City” for Barb and me. Her first time in New York and we wore out our shoes! Here is a quick snapshot of what we did…

  • Met with the sister of a good friend who works at Viacom in Times Square. We atebreakfast with her and got a nice tour of the Paramount Pictures preview theatre and other cool things, including Forrest Gump’s bench.
  • We went to the Top of the Rock…Rockefeller Center. Some 70+ stories in the air, we had the best 360 degree view of the area. It was a beautiful day, so ideal to view Central Park, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and New Jersey.
  • We attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
  • I bought a very cool fedora after gaining text affirmation from my daughters.
  • Lunch at the Pershing Cafe next to Grand Central Station. We also “toured” Grand Central, including the market.
  • A hike to Central Park, where we found a comfy bench and relaxed in the sun.
  • A fun night with friends who live here – Times Square and then a subway trip to Soho to eat at the oldest pizzeria in the country, Lombardi’s. We ate….pizza!

That was a full day. Stay tuned for our further adventures…

2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

New York Journal # 1

One and a quarter days into our Big Apple experience and we are having a simply terrific time. Just like to famed “New York” minute, our time her has flown by. Let me give you a recap…

  • We arrived on Sunday late afternoon. We were picked up by the town car and I started a conversation with the driver, Eduardo. Turns out he’s from Colombia (my heritage) and we had a great conversation. He gave me a chance to practice my conversational Spanish, and I did pretty well if I say so myself!
  • Sunday night we walked over to Rockefeller Center. The line was too long to go to the top and watch the sunset, so we found a great little burger joint and grabbed dinner. The place is inside Rock Center and is called Bob’s Burger & Brews. I had a juicy burger, but substituted the brew for a smooth Malbec. Nice way to start.
  • We are staying at the Princeton Club in Manhattan. The reciprocal arrangement with the Washington Athletic Club gave us the opportunity. It’s a nice place in a superb location right near Times Square. One of the cool things about it is outside they fly several school flags.  A University of Washington is proudly flying the purple and gold among them. I feel right at home!

That wa just Sunday. I’m getting prepared to visit Alan Weiss for the business part of my trip. After that, I will catch you up on a whirlwind Monday.

P.S. for some reason, my photo stream from my iPhone to iPad doesn’t seem to be streaming. Photos will follow…

Chao for now!

Off to the Big Apple

I am heading out for New York to meet with my professional mentor, Alan Weiss. It’s my turn to jump in the “total immersion” pool. I have a ton of new “irons” percolating in the fire and I need help to get them moving in the right direction. You can’t be brilliant by yourself.

The timing is right. I’ve had a terrific first quarter, but the game is just starting for the year. Forward momentum is crucial for business. When I coached basketball, my biggest in-game concern was always momentum. I always substituted and made changes based on who had the momentum, which can change in an instant. In fact, we had specific practice drills to emphasize momentum. It was that important. It’s that important for your business, too.

What are you doing in the 2nd quarter of your game to build momentum, not just try to maintain? The end of halves are vital in basketball games, and in business games.

Alan Weiss and me

If you’re not careful and become complacent, you’re in danger of having the pendulum swing. It becomes really hard to turn it back, and requires effort, time, and often money.

I hope you will be keeping track of me as I bounce around the Big Apple. I am happy to be taking Barb for her very first trip. Pictures, posts, and surprises to follow on this blog right here! Stay tuned!

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Making Lemonade

My alma mater, the University of Washington Huskies, got left out of the Big Dance. Even though they won the Pac-12 regular season title, a couple of bad end-of-the-season losses, kept them out of the March Madness NCAA tournament. They ended up being a #1 seed in the national Invitational Tournament (NIT).

These are 20 year olds. They were discouraged and upset about not being selected to the NCAA tournament after winning their conference. The NIT, though prestigious in history, was of little consolation. It would have been very easy to walk out on the court in the first game with a bad attitude and leftover baggage. That would almost certainly lead to an even more embarrassing loss and a terrible off-season.

On Tuesday, the Huskies defeated their arch nemesis Oregon to advance to the NIT Final Four in Madison Square Garden in New York. They won three games to earn that distinction. Now they will play on national television in the Big Apple. No matter what happens, this has been a success. They turned lemons into lemonade.

Give credit to the coaches for excellent leadership. Give credit to the players for staying tough. And give credit to the fans for sticking behind them. It was a team effort.

How often in business do we turn lemons into lemonade? In my experience, not often enough. Bad things happen every day in the business world…

  • Accounts are lost
  • Sales don’t get made
  • People are fired
  • Companies are sued
  • Fires, floods, power outages, and tornado damage occur

You can come up with a bigger list. The bottom line is that bad things happen and how we respond will determine the success or failure of the company and maybe even you. Here are some ways to avoid the failure…

  • Have a short memory. Dwelling on the past never helps the present or the future. Gain a “closer” mentality. When Mariano Rivera blows a save (which rarely happens), it’s forgotten by the time he hits the locker room. The next time out is about getting the save. You need to be the same way.
  • Be positive. I see too many people with a “victim mentality.” It’s always someone else’s fault; it’s never going to get better; we can’t do this; the sky is falling. You know the people.If you can’t be positive about who you are, your team, and your business, it’s time to get out.
  • Take action. Determine your course and take it. Be bold. Be fearless. Others follow bold, decisive leaders.
  • Have fun. Some days you win and some days you lose. Have fun anyway. Life’s too short to dwell on the past failures.

Final note – my professional mentor Alan Weiss has always espoused, “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying.” Life is full of failures; generally many more failures than successes. It’s how we respond to failure to find the next success that matters.

Go make some lemonade…

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

My Famous Daughter

My daughter Kelli is in New York following her college men’s basketball team, Robert Morris University, as they play tonight in their championship game in Long Island. Somehow she managed to find herself in Manhattan near the Apple store when FOX Business News wanted to do a piece on the new iPad launch. She and her friend were asked if they could be interviewed. She hurriedly sent me a text and I was able to capture the interview on my iPhone.

Not sure if Steve Jobs was channeling me somehow to capture my daughter (who owns two Apple products) being interviewed in “The Big Apple” about Apple’s new iPad; and I was capturing it on my Apple iPhone.

Sounds like a lot of Apple-sauce…