Sunday, January 29, 2012

This week's Pep Talk: "A Good Gospel"

Like many of you, this simple dude from Missouri is an early riser. I can still remember wonderful parents and others in my youth declaring, “The early bird gets the worm.” It has always resonated with me. Wouldn’t you know it, opposites attract.

My darling girlfriend is a night owl. We don’t live together but on nights where daddy duty does not beckon, and she’s not traveling, I’m usually snuggled up against my soul mate. She struggles to comprehend why, even on the weekends, yours truly rarely allows the light of day to win the call to action. In a loving way she tells me, “It would be nice to wake up with you next to me, at least on weekends.” I’ll try, K?

In keeping with that declaration, recently, while she slept soundly on a Saturday morning, I’m lying in bed deleting unwanted photos from my cell phone. I was having storage-space problems on the darn thing and an employee at a T-Mobile store had told me, “Delete some of those photos.” I thought this was a winner: staying in bed making my love happy and getting some work done - that’s a dynamic duo!

I’m staring at a photo, taken about a year ago, of my teenage daughter’s back. We were standing in line at a Smashburger restaurant after one of her volleyball practices. For whatever reason, spirit moved me to take a picture of the statement on the back of her shirt: “We write our script daily.” That was Juggernaut volleyball’s 2011 season motto.

Lying in bed staring at that picture - saved - took cranium to another moment, many years ago, centered around darling daughter, who by the way, has made an impressive debut as a driver. Now 15 years old, she has a learner’s permit. I have a chauffeur. We make a good team.

Many years ago when this excellent volleyball player was quite younger she came home from parochial school one day and tossed backpack onto counter. I was looking through the darn thing - why do backpacks weigh so much? - seeking to discover what needed to be read, signed and sent back; discarded as trash or left untouched. In this process, I noticed a small piece of paper. Apparently from the children’s Mass earlier that Wednesday at school, it read: “We are writing our gospel a chapter a day, by the deeds we do, the words we say. Others will read what we write, determine whether it’s faithful and true. What’s the gospel according to you.”

I dunno about you, but that statement warms the marrow and I’ve used it often when presenting Pep Talks to audiences. To me, it’s asking us this: What’s our story? We’re writing it a chapter a day, by the deeds we do and the words we say, right? Trust me, I’ve been called lots of things in life, smart rarely one of them, but you can bet others will read, or watch, what we write and determine whether it’s faithful and true. What’s the gospel, what’s the story, according to us?

Is our story faithful and true? Does it honor us, nurture those dependent upon us and add value to communities served wherever we roam - home, work and elsewhere? If not, why not start today?

The task of writing a good gospel ain’t easy, right? Many things will entice us to stray, don’t. Stay strong and don’t be afraid to ask for help when thoughts of surrender invade mind, body and soul tempting us to stray from this honorable quest.

Lying in bed next to my sweetie, deleting lousy photos led to a beautiful reminder of one of life’s great truths. We write our gospel a chapter a day. This week, let’s make it a good one!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This week's Pep Talk: "Bucket List Bye Byes"

Anybody out there own a bucket list? Ya know, those dreams you want to make reality? For me a few things come immediately to mind: sing the national anthem at a sporting event; rent a motor home, tour the nation, attend important college football games and then write a book about the experience. Those are a few things at the top my list. There’s no list on a wall, or other reminder, but I think about each a lot and dream.

That dynamic duo had a third member until recently when hosting a comedy show was booted from the team. Thanks to a college buddy, turned outstanding comic, the team at Denver’s Improv Comedy and friends from many places, this simple dude from Missouri fulfilled that dream on, no kidding, Friday the 13th. Appropriate.

So many wonderful memories of a great night but one really sticks out: the thrill of introducing someone admired. Mark Cordes. Your humble correspondent, a few years back, went to Mizzou with this amazing guy. What we remember of it, brings smiles to our faces. Rival fraternities but kindred spirits. The Kansas City native is a great guy and one funny dude. He put fear aside and 23 years ago, said adios to the corporate world and allowed wonderment to win in chasing a comedic career. Good for him and us. He’s talented. Hall of fame comic Robin Williams came backstage recently and told the avid golfer, “You’re good.” For me that would be like, I dunno, Norman Vincent Peale sitting in the front row and nodding approvingly to a Pep Talk? A validation of effort from a master of your craft? Strong. Powerful.

I had the thrill of exalting this brother from another mother to a large and appreciative crowd. The pride of Truman High School is three years my senior. The times we shared in school where usually centered around two things: sports and parties. He’s real big on people, in healthy and productive ways, getting out and having some fun. As smart as he is funny, the buddy with a beloved wife, likes to joke, when talking about having a little fun in life and its importance, of this truth: “None of us is getting out of here alive.” Amen to that brother.

We had a blast doing the show. I learned a lot too. Cordes and his fellow Improv cohort Gary Menke taught me a few things about their world and had the crowd chuckling all night long. A bucket list-clearing moment for which, I’m grateful and blessed. However, at this time, cranium remains focused on the importance of fun. I think it should be a priority. We all know life has those unwanted and unexpected twists and turns that leave us wondering, “What the heck is going on around here?” But, despite that truth, try, when possible, to have a little fun. Make it a priority. However, here’s where it gets tricky. A priority of having fun must coexist with honoring, nurturing and adding value to communities we serve, right?

Priorities. Defined in Oxford American Dictionary as “something more important than other considerations.” Having the chance to boot the bucket, exalt a buddy and be reminded of the joy it brings takes us to this: Priorities. Where are ours right now? Is there any venue - home, work or elsewhere - where there’s room for priority improvement?

I’ve been called a lot of things in life, smart rarely is one of them but it seems to me that the better we handle life’s important priorities, wherever we roam, the greater the chance for stuff like love, joy and fun to flourish.

We’ve heard that phrase, “Good things come in threes” right? Well, give me that terrific trio of love, joy and fun anytime and anyplace. Hey, let’s be honest, life doesn’t work that way, we know that, right? But when love, joy and fun come together it’s memorable and warms the marrow. Sow the seeds for such moments this week by handling priorities. Who knows, something on your bucket list might say bye-bye too. Good luck!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This week's Pep Talk: "The Effort Alone"

There are moments when life gives us wonderful examples of possibility. Often these reminders go largely unnoticed. But then again, sometimes amazing feats occur before a massive audience. The Denver Broncos recent upset overtime win over the heavily-favored Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC playoffs is a good example.

Ironically, Denver’s first playoff win since 2005 was, for this simple dude from Missouri, a second powerful reminder of, my opinion, a great truth: hard work, smart decisions and teamwork can spark tremendous accomplishment - home, work and elsewhere, including a football field.

And, a volleyball court. On this second Sunday of January 2012, the initial reminder of this terrific trio’s power forced me to listen to the first half of the Broncos/Steelers thriller on radio. I was driving back from Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was opening day for a team of young ladies, including precious daughter, who play volleyball for Juggernaut, a club team based in Denver. This group of high-school freshmen girls showed similar resolve - hard work, smart decisions and teamwork - in playing winning volleyball in five matches played over seven hours.

Hard work. Smart decisions. Teamwork. It seems, just my opinion, to greatly enhance chances of victory wherever we roam. Sorry, concentration on this Pep Talk was interrupted briefly by a buddy - who also had a daughter playing in the volleyball tournament - texting me about the Broncos improbable victory, the Iowa native wrote: “I prefer my crow fried so it tastes like chicken. How do you like yours? Unbelievable!”

Long-time mentor and buddy Bill McCartney and I share mud - what he calls coffee - and water often these days. Frequently, for whatever reason, the leadership-centered conversation steers toward a quotation near and dear to our hearts. It’s a statement attributed to Vince Lombardi. The New York native studied for the priesthood and attended law school before shifting his focus to football. Ultimately, Lombardi would, in the 1960’s, lead the Green Bay Packers to five world championships. The Super Bowl champion each year hoists a trophy named after the legendary coach who tragically died far too young of cancer at 57 and once muttered: “I firmly believe any man’s - substitute woman, child or other moniker here - finest hours is that moment when he has worked his heart out in good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.”

Amen to that! Life often takes us on unexpected and unwanted journeys leaving us perplexed and wondering, “What the heck is going on around here?” Few gave the Broncos a snowball’s chance in Hades of beating the Steelers. Few parents expected teenage girls who love to sleep, as much as they love to shop, rise early and play inspired volleyball. Where might it be time for us to take a cue from these examples and display great resolve in working hard, playing smart and rallying with like-minded folks in conquering whatever ails us - home, work and community? This is just my opinion, but while venues change - football field, volleyball court, workplace, home or neighborhood - strategies for success remain the same. I know, simple, not easy, right?

Perhaps it comes down to this. Wherever we roam, let’s promise one another our best effort. Let’s promise one another, even in bleak moments, to work hard, play smart and unite in ways honoring us, nurturing those dependent upon us and adding value to communities we serve.

The community served might be a football team, volleyball squad, family, business, church, service club - whatever. Let’s work our hearts out in good cause. While there is no guarantee of lying exhausted on the battlefield victorious, the effort alone will make us winners.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

This week's Pep Talk: "High Alert for Good"

Billy Joel and his band are entertaining with The Ballad of Billy the Kid in the background and your humble correspondent has just returned from harassing the neighbors for a bit. In truth, I went up the street to say thanks for them watching the house while I was away and, in case I didn’t see them later in the evening, wish “Happy New Year” as Twenty Twelve rolls ashore in our lives.

“How was Chicago?” wonders a devoted wife, mother and friend with a grin. “Did you have fun?” Let me tell ya folks. It was awesome. There are many to thank but one stands above: my darling girlfriend, Kathy. We’re in the Windy City - for its politics - visiting her family and the love of my life surprises this simple dude from Missouri with an extra special present once we landed at O’Hare: 22-year-old son Kyle secretly flown in from Los Angeles for the week.

I didn’t have a clue but apparently many close friends in Denver and Chicago also helped mightily to pull this off. I was shocked. Kathy and I are sitting in the car waiting for brother-in-law Victor - married to the one-and-only Mary, Kathy’s sister - supposedly fetching one of his state managers from another flight. Kathy tells me, “Hey, you have one more gift to open here in Chicago.” It was Christmas Day afternoon. “Oh, yea, what’s that?” I wondered. “Turn around” she directs. I had no response, just a big holler. My son, two days past his 22nd birthday, was sneaked into town thanks to an incredible woman. No wonder so many people in the staffing business love to work for her. She has a very big heart and enjoys doing good things for others. I’m the lucky recipient in many ways. Yeah me.

Trust me when I say this, because it’s the truth, while writing the first draft of this Pep Talk, Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon was playing from the Ipad. That is Kathy’s favorite song. Is that luck, or something else? I say the latter but also understand others think I’m crazy too. That’s okay. I would say, and it’s just my opinion, our desire to promote unity of spirt would benefit greatly if we focused on doing good things for each other. It’s always been a favorite Bible verse for me, Galatians 6:9: “Never grow weary of doing good things for each other because at the proper time you will reap the harvest if you just don’t give up.”

Kathy Gans walks that talk daily. Lucky me, my kids and many others whether family, friend or business associate. We can too. We can decide the best strategy is doing good. While there is no guarantees of success, it sure makes life fun. Sure, we get burned, perhaps too often, but the rewards are worth the effort. My darling girlfriend knew what it would mean to me to have my ambitious, fun and focused 22-year-old son close for a bit. We had a blast with others we love dearly.

We’re challenged to “never grow weary of doing good for at the proper time we’ll reap the harvest if we just don’t give up.” That word “proper” has always fascinated me. Who decides when the time is proper? Anyway, the point is this: Kathy Gans’ bone-marrow belief of never growing weary of doing good makes her the apple of my eye. Who out there in Twenty Twelve could use, in healthy and productive ways, a loving booster-like mentality from us? Home, work or elsewhere?

Where could perhaps a loving gesture from one of us bring great joy to another? Let’s make sure we look around for opportunities. I share water and mud with buddy Bill McCartney often and when talking about being receptive to something his eyes grow wider while declaring, “Have your reticular activating system on high alert!” Amen buddy.

This week have that “reticular activating system on high alert” in doing good for others. It works!
facebook metwitter
linkd in

Hey Comeback Coach Copyright© 2009

About The Comeback Coach | Contact Us | Links | Privacy Statement