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Archive for October, 2011

DRiVE: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us

I am a bit ahead with my book club (having already read the books we’re discussing in Nov., Dec., Jan., and Feb.) so I’ve asked for suggestions on books.  A co-worker (The Star’s Sales Coach) suggested the book DRiVE which is about motivation.  Since I’m on vacation for the next week and won’t see him to discuss it, I thought I’d write down my reaction for him and my other readers, too, but mostly for myself.

One of the key areas it focused on was how you and others deal with Tasks, Time, Team and Technique.  He also suggested asking yourself to define your life in a sentence.  If you can do so, your life has a purpose.  If it takes a rambling paragraph, it doesn’t.  I’m not sure that I agree with that but it makes for an interesting conversation starter.

The author also suggests that at the end of each day you ask yourself whether you were better today than yesterday.  This reminded me of Ronald Reagan’s Presidential campaign where he asked Americans if they were better off than they were four years earlier.

So, think about how you managed your tasks, your time, your team and your technique.  Then ask yourself whether you were a little better than you were yesterday?

Well …

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Categories: Leadership

The siren sings for you, Mishka

It’s been a couple weeks since we had to put Mishka to sleep.  If you’ve never had a dog, you can’t understand how close you can get.  Some might think “it’s just a dog” but he was a part of the family.  And we’ve had quite a few pets through the years and Mishka stood out.  He had personality and he will be missed.

Mishka would run and play to get you moving and having fun.

Mishka would snuggle with you when he knew you needed comfort (or he did) even know he normally liked to be left alone.

Mishka tolerated little kids crawling on him and made sure they were safe.

Mishka’s name means “little bear” and he was a fur ball as a puppy; after my son named his dog, I asked my friend Igor if the Russian word my son had picked was appropriate and he said it was a diminuative for bear and was very appropriate for a Siberian Husky (we latered learned that he was actually a Wooly Husky but it still fit) – more than anything, Mishka was a big teddy bear.

Whenever we’d take Mishka for a walk, it would take awhile because kids would come out to look at him.  Mishka was excited to greet his admirers although it did make for some time-consuming walks that didn’t necessarily go very far.

One of my favorite memories was when my oldest would put on his roller blades and grab Mishka’s leash.  Mishka would run at full-speed with Kevin flying along behind him. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the safest move and it is probably a surprise that he didn’t end up in the E.R.  Still it made for a great memory.

Mishka would howl whenever there was a siren nearby; it was his theme song; I’ve heard it suggested that whenever you hear a siren, you should say a quick prayer for those involved whether it’s police, fire or ambulance.  So, perhaps he was saying a quick prayer.  More likely, he was joining in the song of the neighborhood.  So, when I hear a siren and don’t hear Mishka singing along, it makes me miss him once again. 

Somewhere, Mishka is running and playing with Belle and Sadie.  Plus, he’s howling / singing with the sirens.  The next time I hear those sirens, I’ll think of you and smile.

Categories: Family Tags:

Grandma’s Life Lessons

Last weekend, I traveled (along with my brother and his family) to Southeast Iowa to visit my grandmother.

Grandma is 96 (she turns 97 on December 10th) and her memory isn’t what it used to be.  To be more accurate, her recent memory isn’t as strong although she still shares great stories from her childhood.   My visit with Grandma reminded me …

  1. Recognize your Weaknesses:  Grandma acknowledged she was having memory issues and was willing to ask us to remind her who we were.  After a few minutes, memories came back of earlier years .   When I spoke about her visiting us in Kansas City and joining us in hiding Easter Eggs, she smiled at the memory.
  2. Be Grateful:  Even when Grandma wasn’t quite sure who we were at first, she showed appreciation that we’d come to visit.   She thanks the staff at “The Gardens” for helping her and for the food they bring at meals.
  3. Find Joy: Grandma loves to look out her window at the birdfeeder (even when there aren’t any birds) or to watch the trucks go by on the highway.  She was especially pleased to see my nephews.  My younger nephew is 6 and had brought his new stuffed bear with him.  Grandma enjoyed seeing the bear and also sharing her own stuffed bear.  Perhaps the biggest smile of the weekend came when the bear was sitting in a chair on his own and Grandma found this quite amusing.
  4. Be Friendly:   Grandma is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  Everyone that interacts with her seems to describe her as “Sweet” as she is nice to others at all times.  The staff at “The Gardens” work with residents that have a variety of memory issues but seem to genuinely enjoy hearing Grandma’s stories from throughout her life.
  5. Share your Wisdom: Each of us has strengths and we have a duty to pass along that knowledge to others.  And after nearly 97 years, Grandma has lived through many eras and has many life experiences.  When one of the ladies asked the secret to living a long life, she said “Eat right and don’t get drunk.”  I’ll try to remember that.
  6. Remember the Importance of Family:  While she is now the family matriarch, she spent much of her time sharing memories of her parents and grandparents.  Yet, she also talked about her brother who lives nearby.
  7. Smile! Above all, Grandma maintains a positive attitude and it’s contagious.  When she smiles, it cheers up everyone around her.

I have a return visit (this time with my parents) next month; what life lessons I will learn this time?

We love you Grandma!  I’ll be back in a few weeks.

~ Mark

Categories: Family