Author Archive for Richard – Page 4

An Attitude of Gratitude

Imported from my Facebook page
I’ve been reading a short collection of corporate devotions presented by Alan Lurie .Five Minutes on Mondays: Finding Unexpected Purpose, Peace, and Fulfillment at Work (paperback) Lurie is a Jewish rabbi who for several years gave five minute devotions every Monday morning to one of the corporations where he served.
One of his reminders strikes home with helping to deal with the emotional stress of every day life. It’s a simple habit that takes little time or effort, but makes a tremendous difference in the way your day starts and probably the way it progresses and ends.
Lurie notes that the first Jewish prayer of the day is, “I am thankful for having awakened to another day.” That’s not so hard, is it? And when you think of the alternative, it holds a very heartfelt bit of gratitude. God opens our eyes to another set of opportunities to provide value in the world.
From that simple habit, we have a chance to continue the day with an attitude of gratitude for every service provided us and everything we have. Think of the things we take for granted everyday just because we choose to ignore them instead of being grateful for them.
We might think the drive through line at that fast food breakfast place is slow, but what if you had to make that breakfast yourself? Why are you at a fast food place, anyway? Smile and say thanks! Or what about the traffic jam? Are you still moving faster and easier than a horse and buggy or your feet? The good old days weren’t so good after all, were they? Be grateful for the traffic, you could be walking.
Turn your thought patterns around and see how you can make this day positive rather than negative just by starting your day with the Jewish prayer Alan Lurie reminds us to pray, “I am thankful for having awakened to another day.”
How do you stay positive and push the negatives aside?
What difference do you see by maintaining an attitude of gratitude?


Build Good Habits for Success

We’re half way through the year. How many of your New Year’s Resolutions are still on track? The problem with most of us is we try to kick habits without replacing them with healthy ones. The void left by the unhealthy habit gets filled with something. If we don’t replace it with a healthy habit, the old one returns, sometimes with a vengeance.

Whenever you set goals to stop something, always replace it with something else. The something else doesn’t need to be complicated or difficult, but it needs to be something. That’s why former smokers often fiddle with pens or pencils, hold them in their mouth, and tap them aimlessly on the table. These physical idiosyncrasies replace the physical habits formed while smoking. Without them, the cigarette finds its way between the fingers far too easily.

Psychiatrists tell us it generally takes 21 days of consistently doing the same thing to build a habit. That’s really not very long…except the 21 days you’re doing it. Just because of the way we’re built, it seems so easy to slip back into old patterns. Make notes to yourself and put them in places you’re sure to see them. Put reminders of your new habits in your calendar, on your bathroom mirror, on your refrigerator, on the steering wheel of your car, on your computer screen. Put them everywhere. Remind yourself every day for at least 21 days of the actions you’re taking and the benefits of the new habit you’re trying to build.

The three-week investment is worth the effort. People may think you’re a little crazy during the process as they see your sticky-notes pop up everywhere, but the new you revealed will show the value of the 21 day journey.

Like the approach? Share it with your friends.



Tree of Life Provides Life Balance

I’ve been looking for the right way to visually display my thoughts about life balance and how what I’ve called five dimensions of life play such an important role in helping us keep that balance right. Over the last few weeks, I’ve coached a few folks with this approach and confirmed its value. The central thought came from some study I was doing on the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. As I put the my thoughts together about the Tree of Life and the five dimensions of life seen elsewhere in this site, it was easy to build the model below with the five dimensions represented by the five roots of the tree. Each of the roots has a corresponding branch that creates a well balance, enriching, fulfilled life as long as each of the five roots are nourished and nurtured properly.

tree of life

Tree of Life

Like a tree, branches sometimes need pruning to create the best fruit. Change in some areas of life may take some painful work to transform some old, bad habits and bring about the best you for the future you desire. Each branch has tips, techniques, and tools available to help with areas of life in which many others found the need to exercise constraint or focus for improvement. You’ll probably find nothing new or exciting in these areas, but often a coach can point out things in us we do not see in ourselves, or hold us accountable when we find it hard to hold ourselves accountable in some of our weakest moments.

In the next few weeks, you will see some changes on my home page as I change the approach from dimensions to roots and use this model to better explain how these five roots or pillars collectively determine who we are every day.

Write back and let me know what you think of it.

The Importance of Relationships

planeLosing a friend this week reminded me again of the importance of relationships and nurturing the roots of our life. My friend, August was 84 and died of cancer he didn’t know he had. His suffering at the end was quick, going into the hospital on Tuesday, losing consciousness on Wednesday, and passing into eternity on Saturday morning. I knew he and his wife for fourteen years. They were married ten years ago, she lost her first husband in 1988 and he lost his wife not many years after that.

August was a sailor, a Navy Warrant Officer, proud of the uniform, proud of his country, proud to have served his nation. We shared war stories often. He honored those in uniform whenever given the chance. Every Memorial Day, every Flag Day, every 4th of July, every Veterans’ Day, whenever an opportunity came for special recognition of veterans in church or public events, he humbly stood with the crowd of veterans, but looked around and applauded the young men and women who stood with him, the volunteers who are protecting our nation today.

August was a father. He made mistakes along the way as we all do. In getting to know August over the last few years, especially as his prayer partner the last three years, he reflected on “redo” he’d like to have with his children. But growing up in an abusive home, never seeing how love and discipline should be expressed, he did what he thought was right, even knowing there was a gnawing feeling that it wasn’t. Regrets and long past memories are difficult to overcome without nurturing the spiritual root. Over the last three years in focused discipling, August did that. He found peace with himself, his God, and longed to share the same peace and joy with his children.

August was a husband. He loved his wife. At our weekly breakfasts together he spoke most often about her. He shared about their trips together and the joy they found in those. He share about her painting and the drive she has. He share about her faith and the way she manages to weather every storm that come into life. He shared so many stories and events that showed how much he cared for her. Sometimes he talked about the work he did for her in the flower beds, in the house, in the art gallery, in other places. He found it hard to keep up with her sometimes, but he worked hard to do it because he wanted to be where she was and aid her in whatever way he could.

August was a friend. He took time for people. He didn’t get in a hurry. He talked to anyone who wanted to talk. He would share time with the waitresses at the restaurant where we ate each Wednesday. He stopped to talk at the register. He talked in the grocery store or in the lobby at the church. Wherever he went, he was ready to spend time with people. He understood that people need relationships and was just ready to be there to lend whatever hand he could, even at 84.

We will miss August, but because he nurture the five roots of his life – physical, family, spiritual, emotional, social – in the end, I think he felt fulfilled. I think his last years were filled with joy and a peace that comes from knowing who you are and living life to the best you can each and every day. He did that. He couldn’t do much about the past except ask forgiveness and forgive himself. He had taken those steps and found peace. Now, in his faith belief and mine, he is at rest with his Lord.

Enjoy your celebration, my friend!

be the best w. arrow

Priorities and promotions

I reveled in the promotion of two friends to general officer today. I worked with both of them in my past and knew they were destined for greatness. Partly because of skill and talent, partly because of the fate of assignments being at the right place at the right time, partly because of the mentoring of the people they worked with and worked for in the past. If that were the only reason for their promotions, though, they would be poor leaders. Both will be great leaders, not because of those things, but because they genuinely care about people and know how to balance their priorities.

They learned a long time ago not to let the urgent take the place of the important. They learned to think strategically. What does that mean in practical terms? It means they don’t let the calendar run them, they run the calendar. Important things like time for planning, time for family, time for themselves, time for vacation, time for staff, time for education, time for spiritual renewal, all get put on the calendar before they can get crowded out by the mundane activities of life. Generals’ calendars are unbelievably packed. They have little or no white space which is why these two women learned early to schedule the big things first. Put the important stuff on the calendar so it doesn’t get lost.

Another thing these two women understand is the importance of their network. They know hundreds of people, but more important, they know the circle of professionals they can count on in areas where they have weaknesses. All of us have a unique set of skills and all of us have weaknesses. When we know what they are, we can bring the right talent around us to partner with us to create an unstoppable team. That’s exactly what these two do so well. They know their strengths and weaknesses. They know how to build the right teams to take advantage of their strengths and partner with the right people to take advantage of others’ strengths. The important part of the partnership, though, is giving them credit. And they ALWAYS give credit to the team.

So as you see, their promotion to general officer is not an accident. Barb and Jimmie nurtured the five dimensions of their life throughout their careers. Congratulations are in order for what they have done in the past, for their bright futures, and for what the Army will gain because of their leadership in the future. They will coach a lot more young officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers, and civilians over the next several years. Hopefully, many will learn the lessons of balance, setting the right priorities, and thinking strategically from them.

Congrats again to the AMEDD’s newest generals.