Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pep Talk: "Big Mac Attack"

“Where I come from we call those things “Big Mac” conversations.” The statement from a visitor to our weekly Friday morning gathering of knuckleheads stimulated a unanimous nodding of the head from dudes assembled around the conference table.

The words flowed from the lips of a dear friend, Chester, visiting from our shared hometown of Kansas City. He’s a smart guy, devoted husband, attentive father and one of those “brothers from another mother” of mine. I love this man dearly. We’ve known each other from our college days at Mizzou.

The successful medical sales pro had spent the night before visiting with the men, women and children who had assembled for our weekly Thursday night A Stronger Cord wellness outreach movement. There the 57-year-old shared thoughts about the importance of relationships and, always, trying like heck, “To take the high road.” Simple, not easy, right?

It has certainly worked for him in a long and successful business career, long and successful tenure as a husband, father and friend. The HUGE Kansas City Royals’ fan credits his father, now 88, for showing him the way with a very simple but highly effective strategy about life: “Hang out with the Positrons, avoid the Negatoids and recruit the Tweeners.”

It’s not as if Chester’s life has been without its struggles. Each hip has been replaced, back and neck issues have led to several surgeries and hamper his mobility. Familial, professional and friend relationships have ebbed and flowed over time, but this man’s spirit about life has never wavered from the teaching of his father. A man I know and respect like heck too. We all would benefit if, especially when aggravated, somehow figuring out a way to, “Take the high road and be a positive influence to those we touch.”

Now back to his comment about “Big Mac” conversations. The devout Missouri Tiger fan was talking about the critical importance of participating in “meaningful adult conversations,” or MAC. To put it another way, addressing the big ol’ elephant sitting in the middle of the room. 

For instance, in running for Colorado House District 6, I’m encouraging everybody to understand we need to have a meaningful adult conversation about having a Constitutional convention to clean up the mess that is the Centennial State’s most important document. I’ll get off my soapbox now. 

When is it time this week to devour a Big Mac? According to Wikipedia, the tasty burger was first introduced by McDonald’s in the Pittsburgh-area almost 50 years ago. It contains more than 500 calories and is high in fat and sodium. Bad for us.

However, when talking about “Big Mac” conversations, it would be very healthy for us to consume all the saturated fats and salt we can handle. Meaningful adult conversations make our lives better at home, work and wherever else we roam. They cost much less than the burger and add great social value.

Feast on Big Macs this week through inquisitive, respectful and constructive adult conversations. An overindulgence there broadens the mind and does no harm to the waistline.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Pep Talk: "Worthy of Attention and Effort"

“I scored my first hat trick right here,” were proud words flowing off my tongue. No, the topic was not hockey. Your scribe never learned to ice skate well enough to brag about such an accomplishment.

No, I was chatting up a friend as we stood in Denver’s Cherry Creek North (CCN) shopping district. I live nearby and frequently cruise through the pedestrian-friendly area looking for Democrats.

I’ve written a bit about running for Colorado’s State House District 6. It’s quite a chore to get on the ballot. This aging jock is trying through petition and needs to gather 1,000 registered Democrat signatures. All from District 6 and before April 4th. The clock is ticking. The persuasive shoes are on.

I was sharing that on a CCN street corner, a rookie politician had won the lottery after running into long-time friends and their daughter. Democrats, registered in the district and willing to sign! A cord of three strands not easily broken. Hat Trick!

It’s been an interesting few weeks. The window to gather signatures opened February 1st. Since then I’ve been walking neighborhoods. The district stretches, north to south, from Colfax to Florida and, west to east from Downing to Havana.

The journey has been an absolute blast. Mother Nature has helped tremendously. Denver’s weather has been fantastic. Canvassing neighborhoods in brilliant sunshine, warm temperatures and the positive hangover of the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 title? Folks, not exactly torture. 

People are fascinating. My mind wanders to one of the first to open their door and hear the “I’m am empty nester, passionate about serving others and believe I have the skill set to be an effective lawmaker, “ spiel. The message was to Gerry, 92 years young, feisty and eager to tell a story of being a woman who loves to work on cars and root for the Rockies. 

Many folks don’t answer the knock, are too busy, or, upon hearing of the political slant to my appearance, slam the door. There are many (maybe you’re one) quite disappointed with our nation’s political process. At all levels, local, state and national. Count me in that group. We can do better. That’s why I’m running. I have a history of encouraging others to rise up and come up with creative solutions to the challenges before us. I’d like to bring that spirit to public service.

A most heart-warming moment came on one of the final door knocks of a fruitful canvass effort. The evening sun was setting and providing the “Purple Mountain’s Majesty” that makes living in Colorado so special. A friendly middle-aged man had answered his door, signed the petition and said, “Come back in about 30 minutes. My husband will be home and I’m sure he’ll sign too.” 

Progress. A good thing. Whether gathering signatures, who we wed or another slice of life tender to your soul. The pursuit of becoming superior to our former selves. 

Noble and worthy of attention and effort this week!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Pep Talk: "Timeless Advice"

Anybody remember the name Lloyd Shearer? Perhaps a better question is, “Do you remember the name Walter Scott?”

Don’t scramble your brain too much. Here’s some info straight from Wikipedia: Lloyd "Skip" Shearer (December 20, 1916 – May 27, 2001) was a celebrity gossip columnist. From 1958 to 1991 he wrote “Walter Scott’s Personality Parade" in Parade magazine. In this column he used the name Walter Scott and discussed rumors about celebrities using a question and answer style. Today, it sounds like he would have been perfect to write for Star, Us or People. Hey, darling wife makes me read them each weekend.

Anyway, Shearer began writing in high school, continued through collegiate studies at the University of North Carolina and then, in 1941, was drafted into the U.S. Army. The New York City native continued to write for the military magazine YANK. After the Second World War, Shearer became a correspondent for the NY Times before landing at Parade and starting the gossip column under the Walter Scott name. He wrote the column for more than 30 years before the progression of Parkinson’s disease forced him to retire.

I had never heard of the man until a recent speaking engagement. I was delivering remarks about Victory’s A Stronger Cord wellness outreach movement to members of the University Hills’ Rotary Club. One of the club members, responsible for delivering weekly inspirational thoughts, offered up this gem, attributed to Shearer from late 1984. It was directed toward motivating folks for the upcoming year of 1985. 

The truth of Shearer’s words still ring true today. He starts with: “No one will ever get out of this world alive. Resolve, therefore, to maintain a reasonable sense of values.”

  • Take care of yourself. Good health is everyone’s major source of wealth. Without it, happiness in almost impossible.
  • Resolve to be cheerful and helpful. People will repay you in kind.
  • Avoid angry, abrasive persons. They are generally vengeful.
  • Avoid zealots. They are generally humorless.
  • Resolve to listen more and talk less. No one ever learns anything by talking.
  • Be wary of giving advice. Wise men don’t need it and fools won’t heed it.
  • Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and wrong. Sometime in life, we have been all of these.
  • Do not equate money with success. There are many successful moneymakers who are miserable failures as human being. What counts most about success is how a person achieves it.

Eight wise thoughts about productive values and winning this roller coaster journey we call life. Let’s live them this week. Thanks Lloyd, aka Walter. Regardless of your name, the advice is timeless!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pep Talk: "Wise To Emulate"

It’s the usual Sunday afternoon time when this weekly musing about life makes it way around the globe. But this is no ordinary Sunday. It’s Super Bowl 50, with the Broncos trying to upset the favored Carolina Panthers.

The competition for your attention is formidable, but I sure hope many find time to read a story about perseverance. It recently unfolded in front of my eyes while in Chicago to host a corporate event. As a motivational speaker, author and consultant, it’s my job at these types of gatherings to get the crowd, as College Hall of Fame football coach Bill McCartney would say, “Wired, fired and inspired.”

I did get paid afterward, nobody was throwing rotten tomatoes at your knucklehead scribe and the crowd seemed energized. But it had little to do with my effort. No, the kudos must go to a pretty cool lady, Kim Gottschalk. A senior executive in the staffing world, a friend and an inspiration to many. During the broadcast of the big game from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, announcers will boast of the toughness exemplified by the players, but trust me folks, ain’t none of them any tougher than this dynamo.

The Chicago native set the tone for her company’s 2016 kickoff event by sharing a wonderful testimony to the power of having a purpose in life. It’s just my opinion, but it seems to sure help us persevere, defined as,  “to continue steadfastly especially in something difficult.”

The devoted wife and mom about five years ago began experiencing headaches, numbness in extremities and a feeling that things “Were just not right.” Doctors found a large mass, thankfully benign, inside her skull. Surgery removed the mass and began the long process of rehabilitation. A rising star in the staffing world, despite the health difficulties, continued steadfastly in her purpose. Sensitive to light in the early stages of recovery, the energetic leader would even work in the darkness of her office. 

Life throws us curveballs all the time. Physical, emotional and financial challenges arise when we least expect it. We wonder, “Why in the heck is this happening to me? The question always becomes, “We will learn from, or become a victim of, the experience?”

This week, let’s take a cue from Kim. Or, a cue from Peyton Manning. In what is probably his final game of a certain Hall of Fame career, the 39-year-old has endured injuries, a demotion and criticism for declining performance. But the Broncos’ quarterback has, despite the difficulties, continued steadfastly in purpose.

Purpose and perseverance. Which comes first? Which is more important? Questions far beyond my pay grade. This much I know, two highly successful people, Gottschalk and Manning exude them in abundance. We’d be wise to emulate!

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