Step Out of the Winter Doldrums
Spring is coming, everyone! It may not feel like it but it will be here before you know it. How do I know this? Baseball has started Spring Training!! And that is the perfect time to share an old story that still inspires many, me included, to this day. So step out of the Winter doldrums and read this month’s story. It’s all about dreaming big, doing the work, sticking to it and not losing faith in yourself. Good things for all of us to be reminded of from time to time. I hope you enjoy it!
Late one night, while struggling to sleep, the movie “The Rookie”(the baseball movie, starring Dennis Quaid) came on. By the time it got to the end, despite having seen it several times before, I was inspired to say the least. In its own way, it told the story SO many of us have experienced, dreams of where we want to get to in our lives and the obstacles, speed bumps and real-world stuff that sometimes gets in our path to those dreams and aspirations. Life, family, obligations and financial responsibilities are a few touched on in the movie and I am sure those same factors have impacted all of us to some degree.”The Rookie” was based on the real-life story of a gentleman named Jim Morris. Jim began playing baseball at the tender age of three. Unfortunately, he ended up through numerous family moves, in Brownwood, TX. Brownwood High School had no baseball team at that time so Jim resorted to what most Texas males do…football. But he never gave up on his dream of playing major league baseball. He was originally selected by the Yankees in 1982 but did not sign until the next year with the Milwaukee Brewers. After suffering several arm injuries and never making it past single-A minor leagues level, Jim gave up his dream in 1989.

Jim became a high school physical education teacher and baseball coach in Big Lake, TX while becoming a husband and a father of three little ones. While coaching his team, The Reagan County Owls, in the spring of 1999, he promised his team that if they accomplished the seemingly impossible goal of winning the district baseball championship and advancing to the state finals, he would keep his promise to them and try out for a major league team…one more time. Cut to the end and a) the team wins the district tournament b) Jim shows up with his kids “in tow” for a tryout with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and…..after TWELVE consecutive 98 mph fastballs (you read that right), Jim signed a contract with them at the age of….35!
Jim moved up through the minor league system quickly and when the Rays had expanded rosters in mid-September of 1999 he was called up to the big leagues. He was the oldest rookie in 30+ years in the majors and in his first game, in of all places, Arlington TX, Jim was called in to pitch to the Texas Rangers’ all-star shortstop Royce Clayton. He struck Clayton out, in front of his wife, kids and much of the town he came from. And he did so in just four pitches with the bases loaded. Wow!

Jim ended up playing only two years in the majors. He made four more appearances that year and sixteen more in 2000. Then, with recurring arm problems plaguing him, Jim was able to retire having lived his dream. He also has released an autobiography on Amazon entitled “The Oldest Rookie”. Jim now lives in Kerrville, TX and travels the country as a motivational speaker as well as taking an active part in his foundation, Jim The Rookie Morris Foundation. He works with underprivileged kids and conducts baseball clinics. To quote Jim today, “It’s a good life”. After much struggle, good for Jim.

So, why did this particular story line resonate with me? Like all kids, I had lots of dreams growing up and many possible career ideas. But by the time I decided to go back to school for an MBA at the University of Missouri, I just knew in my gut that someday I wanted to run my own business. I had no idea what the basis of that business might be or that it would end up being just me as the sole employee. But I knew I wanted to do something that made an impact on people, their lives, their success and also how to deal with and learn from failure. Through a series of great companies, businesses and a bunch of different bosses, restructures, “revisioning” and CHANGE……it was time for a change for me. And time to take a BIG risk at a late age, 48. That is when I started my business. And the model then, while expanded, tweaked and retooled since then, still deals with what was and is of greatest interest and passion for me to this day. That is the people, clearly. Finding the right ones for your business, putting them in the right “seats on the bus” to optimize their chances for success, as well as how to manage, mentor and develop them more effectively. What’s the biggest challenge in business, generally? The people you work with and/or are responsible for in your roles at your various organizations. What also can be the most uplifting, rewarding, heartwarming and inspiring part of that business world? Those same people!

I had many who supported and challenged me to go down this path and I am forever grateful they pushed me, advised me, challenged me and have been there for me through thick and thin. Many of those folks are probably reading this right now. When I started GCI 18 years ago I had a slightly different vision in mind but in 2006-2007 I met a professional business coach. This in turn led me to hire one of my own to work with and to find out more about the profession, what it really entailed and to also help me figure out the real business model best for me. Funny how things happen and how they all work out. Without those encounters and people in my life, I don’t know where I would be today. I was really questioning whether I had made the right decision and why I felt something was missing. I no longer have those feelings or concerns. To those unnamed “stars in my life”, I am forever grateful. And most I have or will thank personally next chance I get.

How about all of you? Who are your “stars”? Do they know how much they have inspired, encouraged or supported you along your path? Let them know! And be grateful. None of us goes along our paths alone, even if at times it might feel like it. And if you have dreams still to explore or fulfill, it’s never too late. Jim’s story is a walking testimonial to that. And if you’re not “there” yet….talk to that support network. And reset and review your dream goal(s). Most of all, don’t give up!! Persistence, hard work and commitment to a clear vision will work.

Thanks for reading.


Happy New Year!
I hope you all had a great holiday break. By now, everyone is hard at work and well into month 1 of the year 2020!! And this is the time of year when people are either setting goals, fine tuning and tweaking them or… none of the above.

I have already spent some time this year working with teams and individuals on doing this very thing, setting goals. Goals to help us focus on the right stuff, plan, develop and increase our likelihood of success. Without good goal setting, you are kind of traveling without a map or finite destination. That may be great, pending your style, for vacations and off-work play time. But for personal development, career achievement and personal success the old adage “Failure to plan means you plan to fail” rings true. Or at the very best, we have some success and fulfillment but nowhere near what we are capable of doing.

Goal setting can be a powerful process for thinking and planning your future as you would like to see it. And speaking as a convert to this a little later in life, it really does work! Try it, play with it, tweak it but most of all – start doing it as soon as possible.


What’s the Point?

It’s been proven time and again by successful athletes, business-people and top achievers in all walks of life that setting goals is key. If you don’t have a specific set of goals to zero in on how will you ever “hit your target”? or more importantly, how will you even know if you have done so!

By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and you’ll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind. You will also raise your self-confidence, as you recognize your own ability and competence in achieving the goals that you’ve set.

Setting Higher-Level Goals
First create a larger, overall objective to get to. This may only be 3 years, 5 years, 10 years out but that all depends on the clarity and importance of that goal for you.
Next, you must break these down into the smaller and smaller targets or steps in the ladder as I like to say. What are the things you need to do to ultimately reach your finish line? What’s your road map of success?
Finally, once you have your plan laid out, get to work! Daily, weekly, monthly tracking of the work you have done and steps accomplished will make you feel better about success towards your goal(s).
A brief word of caution. Don’t overdo! TOO many goals will stop you from truly achieving what you want. Once your initial list of goals is complete, take a second look and cut the herd as they say out West. Narrow it down to a smaller number of goals that seem most significant for you. This will help you focus much more effectively.

Smaller Goals are Better Goals

Once you have set those higher-level goals it’s time to then set smaller goals. These are the building blocks and path you need to reach those higher-level goals.

As touched on previously a one-year plan, six-month plan, and a one-month plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your overall goals is king!. You might also want to create a daily “To Do” list of things that you should do today to work towards your bigger goals.

At first, this might seem like overkill, too much “stuff”, etc. It does! And can we always stick to this every day? NO. Stuff happens. Life Happens. But, with a visual, detailed, personal plan we know where to go to get back on the right road.

Staying on Track

Periodically review the longer-term plans and modify them to reflect your changing priorities and experiences. There are many ways to do this either manually or via some computer tools out there but do NOT just keep it in your head!


A useful way of making goals more powerful is clearly to use the SMART goals approach. To me, in addition to making this “visual”, SMART is the key. But it takes work, practice and review to make sure you are truly doing them right.
S – Specific (or Significant).
M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
T – Time-bound (or Trackable).
Here’s a perfect example. I want to drop my golf handicap from a 7 to a 3, by December 31, 2020. Obviously, this will only be attainable if a lot of preparation and planning has been done beforehand!

There is SO much more in this critical area of goal setting but this is enough for now! One final thought for you is to CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESSES

When you’ve reached a goal, take the time to enjoy the accomplishment.

If the goal was a significant one, reward yourself appropriately. All of this helps you build the self-confidence and momentum to continue your quest to achieve what you deserve.

Dave G


Hello everyone! It’s back to school time, nearing the end of Summer and we are about to hit a holiday weekend. I don’t know about you, but typically this is where I (and many of you I am sure) start to “hit the wall” mentally and physically. This seems like the perfect time for a reminder on what really matters and how to live a less stressful, more fulfilling life day to day. This month’s newsletter is a reprint from an article last week in USA Today on a now-famous nun who exemplifies this perfectly. Sister Jean rocks! And through the words shared in this article straight from her own, maybe we all can drop our stress level, smile more and have more fun and joy.
Happy reading!!


(The following is a reprint of an article from columnist Nancy Armour – USA Today, Aug. 21, 2019)
It’s all in the attitude.
Good genes help, too. But when Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt was asked – several times, in several ways – for the secret to her longevity as she celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday, Loyola-Chicago’s most famous fan kept coming back to one word.
“I try and look upon the joy I find in everyone,” Sister Jean said, a sparkle in her eyes and a smile stretching across her face. “Joy is so important. Sometimes you’re going to have sad days, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost our joy. You can still have that.”
A 100th birthday is a momentous occasion for anyone. But when you are Sister Jean, Loyola’s team chaplain and its most beloved fan, the celebration isn’t just for you. It’s for everyone who’s come in contact with Sister Jean, in person or through Loyola basketball, a chance to once again feel the simple joy – there’s that word again – that endeared her to them in the first place.
It’s why Loyola pulled out all the stops Wednesday afternoon, from a massive cake to T-shirts and buttons commemorating the day. It’s why several hundred students and staffers crowded into the lobby of the Student Center, the crowd so big extra chairs were brought in and some staked out places along the edge of a staircase overlooking the stage so they could get a better view.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker came, praising the impact she’s had and declaring Wednesday to be “Sister Jean Day” all across the state. Loyola’s president announced that an alum had donated $250,000 for an endowed scholarship fund in Sister Jean’s name, a sum the university has already agreed to match.
In a birthday tribute video by some of college basketball’s biggest names, Charles Barkley might have said it best:
“To be able to wish you a happy 100th birthday is really cool,” Barkley said. “You’re an amazing lady, special and significant.”
It didn’t matter if you’d had a long attachment to Loyola or had never heard of the Jesuit school on Chicago’s north side before the men’s NCAA basketball tournament two years ago, people all over the world were captivated by Sister Jean. When she held a news conference at the Final Four, done because Loyola had been inundated with interview requests for her, the room was filled to capacity.
“I thought it was going to be five or six people in the room,” Sister Jean said Wednesday. “Before we started, the moderator said, ‘This is more than Tom Brady had.’ Wow. Comparing me to Tom Brady.”
Part of the fascination with Sister Jean is her age and spunk, sure; she’s more sharp now than some people half her age, and she continues to send Loyola coach Porter Moser and his players her scouting reports. Sister Jean also thinks she’s something of a curiosity, as far from the dour image of a nun as you can get in her ever-present maroon-and-gold striped scarf and custom-made Nikes.
There’s something more, though, a simplicity and pureness of heart too rarely seen anymore. When she talks of praying for everyone she’s encountered in life – “I can’t pray for you all by name otherwise my knees would get too sore” – you know she means it, and it makes you feel a little better.
“You continue to bring light upon others,” said Donte Ingram, a starter on the Final Four team. “Me and everybody else are very appreciative of that.”
There’s a calm to Sister Jean, too, a gentle reminder to slow down and appreciate what’s around you. She might not have a lot of money or flashy possessions, but she’s happy with her life and, with the wisdom of 100 years, she can assure you that that’s more valuable than anything.
“In order to have an impact on people, we have to be happy ourselves,” she said. “Just be happy, be yourself. As I told the freshmen today, you have to be yourself. You can’t be anybody else.”
Sister Jean turned 100 on Wednesday, and her continued presence is a gift to us all.

An Independence Day Reminder

Getting things done correctly and on time is a daily challenge in today’s fast paced working world. Lack of time and resources, more responsibility, higher performance demands, restructuring, and job changes have fundamentally changed the way work is completed. Based on real world experience, along with a variety of research, it is obvious the majority of workers today are depending more and more on others to help them complete their work. Or they should be! Often these are individuals with whom you do not share the same goals and might not have any authority over.
Can you think of someone who didn’t have to help you with your workload but did so anyway? Ever wonder why the heck they decided to help you? Is it because they already knew you? Or is it perhaps because you had helped them in some way in the past? Maybe they did so just because you had developed a personal connection with this person based on some things as simple as mutual respect, common interests, and shared values?
The bottom line is, better working relationships help us do our jobs more effectively, with less effort and less stress. Always a good thing! I have said it many times and it holds true today more than ever, people generally like to help other people. Especially those they have gotten to know better, genuinely like, trust and also know they can count on you. Those that don’t just make it all about them. People are willing to help others who they know, like, and connect with, especially if the relationship is one of give-and-take. Knowing how and with whom to build these “strategic” relationships is an important part of any job and requires special skills.
Strategic working relationships can help you in a variety of ways. It can help you get assistance when you need it, often without even asking. Important information is often needed to complete a task or project and these same relationships can help ensure you get what you need, in a timely fashion. That in turn can help avoid problems that might occur otherwise. These same relationships can help provide you with an invaluable support network, as well as a sounding board and second opinion, when needed. And last but not least, building these more effective, strategic relationships can help us all have more FUN while achieving our goals and advancing and enhancing our careers.
Building strategic working relationships is often mistakenly labeled as not being genuine. Or it can be seen as using others for your own gain. It is NOT! Perhaps it is the use of the term “strategic”. It doesn’t mean just being nice to others. And it’s not purely about using others to benefit you and your goals. The KEY objectives of building better, strategic relationships at work are to:
  • Focus on and develop solid, long-term working relationships with people you count on to help you get your job done.
  • Taking the time to proactively build these relationships
  • Collaborating so that BOTH parties achieve their work goals. A win-win outcome!
  • *Send thank you notes (hand-written preferred!!) to those who have helped you.
  • *Make sure that the appropriate managers(unless that is you)know when one of their staff has helped you. Catch ’em doing something right today as I always say.
  • *Offer to help someone as least 1X per week.
  • *Be extremely aware and in tune with the need to pass along any and all needed information. Better too much than too little.
  •  *Here’s an important and often uncomfortable tip. Try it, it works over time when genuine and real. Identify the person you LEAST like working with and compliment them on something they have done. One Minute Manager praisings work well here!
  • *Be conscious of using casual work settings such as the elevator, break room, lunch area, etc. to introduce yourself to someone who could help you achieve your goals. Not always easy and comfortable, but it can pay big dividends for both of you, in many ways. If you struggle with small talk, chatting it up a bit, being proactive in this way I might suggest finding a book called “The Fine Art of Small Talk”, by Debra Fine. It has a lot of lists, tips and choices on how to break the ice and get to know people a bit better no matter your introversion or extroversion.
Leaders and successful people, consciously or unconsciously, have learned you “can’t go it alone”. The power of working with others, building better relationships at work, making it not just about you but also about them makes life much easier. And it can certainly help your career and the level of success you achieve! Soooo…on this upcoming Independence Day, stop being TOO independent! It will make life at work and away much more enjoyable!
Have a happy and safe 4th of July Everyone!!!

Memorial Day Lessons

Every Memorial Day weekend, since the movie Saving Private Ryan first came out, I have made it a habit to watch it again. Since the first time I viewed it, I became more aware of the price men and women past and present, have paid to help ensure our freedom we enjoy today. From the opening scenes on Omaha Beach to the closing scene with Private Ryan visiting the cemetery with his family to pay his respects to his leader, the late Captain John Miller, I was more aware and moved than anything I had scene before. But I also could not help but notice some recurring themes of what makes great leaders from some of the most ordinary, normal and humble men.
Seven Things to Remember and Emulate from Saving Private Ryan
  1. Lead By Example – The absolute best leaders are those that never ask someone on their team to do something they themselves would not be willing to do. Capt. Miller exemplified that by charging ahead into the artillery fire and bombardment of the beach, just like he needed and expected his men to do. And follow his lead they did indeed, no matter the fear they were feeling.
  2. Honesty is THE Best Policy – The classic example of that would be when Capt. Miller diffused a highly combustible situation among his own men over whether or not to release the German soldier just captured. How? He revealed his true self. He was genuine, authentic and open. A real person just like them. It worked.
  3. Sometimes We Just Have to Follow The Mission – There were several instances where, despite a potential lack of confidence or belief in their mission, the Captain never showed that to his team. The wrong words and actions as a leader can destroy a mission in no time. Remember, when the leader, all eyes are on you. Always.
  4. Establish Authority and Create Purpose – One key lesson shown over and over again is that every member on the team has a role and a purpose, no matter how many stripes they have on their shoulder. All are equal partners and cogs in the wheel. Without this, they have no chance of successfully completing their mission.
  5. Learn From Your Mistakes- An old saying goes that if you are not making mistakes, you’re not really trying hard enough. The whole key, as exemplified in the movie, is to analyze and learn from your mistakes so as not to repeat them and to have more success in the same scenario down the road.
  6. Leaders Exist at ALL Levels – Every member of that team exhibited leadership through their own actions and/or words. Each with their own style, but all with a common goal of completing the task at hand, as a team.
  7. Leaders are GREAT Listeners – Many people that fancy themselves as leaders think THEY have to have all the answers. Great leaders, especially Capt. John Miller, were not afraid to seek counsel, ask for feedback, suggestions, or ideas. Great leaders not only ask, they then listen, process and take action from that.
Personally, despite the violence, blood and guts shown in the movie I wish every school kid in the USA, at a certain age, was made to watch this movie as a part of their curriculum. It certainly drives home many lessons I think get forgotten all too often today. And it COULD help to also spark some great leaders of tomorrow. I know every time I watch it I am moved to tears at the end. It makes me contemplate and appreciate even more all the things that I have today and all too often take for granted. Thanks to some great leaders in our past.

Keeping THE Most Important Customers Happy

The role of recognition and recognizing employees has been significantly under-appreciated as an important driver of business success, profitability, and performance in most organizations.
According to most of the research, 99.4 percent of today’s employees expect to be recognized when they do good work, while other research has found that only 12 percent of employees strongly agree that they are consistently recognized in ways that are important to them and nearly three times as many (34 percent) disagree or strongly disagree that they are recognized in ways that are meaningful to them.

Additional findings on employees that DO receive employee recognition in their workplace:
–          5 times more likely to feel valued
–          6 times more likely to invest in the company
–          7 times more likely to stay with the company
–          11 times more likely to feel completely committed
Towers Perrin conducted some research that showed committed employees deliver 57 percent more effort than uncommitted ones.  It has also become clear in recent years that there is a definite link between employee recognition and employee engagement, satisfaction and loyalty. Employee Recognition is a hugely significant driver in the employee engagement, customer satisfaction, profitability equation. The end result is enhanced bottom-line success for the organization.
In a study conducted by the Corporate Executive Board , it was clear that recognition was one of the top methods for increasing employee retention. And in a study by Towers Perrin, in 2008, “…companies with high employee engagement had a 19% increase in operating income and a 28% increase in earnings per share. In contrast, companies with poor employee engagement scores had declining operating incomes and an 11% drop in earnings per share.”
Based on all these research findings, it is obvious that internal employee engagement directly impacts the external customer experience and their relationships.  Without true employee engagement, satisfaction and loyalty, much of what is invested in the customer experience is wasted.
The numbers cited in these studies have only become bigger and more important today!
The most common recognition areas are:
  • Years of service – 58 percent
  • Going above and beyond with an unexpected work project – 48 percent
  • Successful performance relating to the organizational financial bottom-line -43 percent
  • Exemplary behavior that represents organizational values – 37 percent
  • Completion of regular work projects with high-quality results – 9 percent
  • Completion of regular work projects at a pace faster than usual – 2 percent
HOW to recognize these events, accomplishments and positive results???? Go to the internet! Check it out! There are tons of ways to do this. Or call, write, text me with questions and interest in this area. I can guarantee you that some keys to success are 1) make the recognition time sensitive whenever possible 2) words and handshake come first, followed by e-mails as a backup plan not the lead action 3) old-fashioned, hand written thank you’s, “attaboys/girls”…in other words one minute praisings in writing that are real, genuine, specific and earned. There’s waaay more. Go find all the ideas available to you!
Here is Exhibit A of what I am talking about, just received by me, the new external customer for a dentist office here in CO. Who does this anymore?? Not many! And, why can’t you do this for your employees and co-workers? Just think what would happen if there was a little of this injected into the workplace!
I hope you enjoyed this issue and found something you can put to use to boost your employee engagement and organizational success. The best employee recognition programs cost your company nothing to practically nothing in real dollars. But if done consistently, you’ll be reaping MUCH in increased productivity, employee retention, customer satisfaction and better bottom line results!


job performance coaching
In my travels, especially this new year of 2018, I continue to have the pleasure of meeting people who exhibit what I consider a critical quality to life and work/career. There are tons of attributes, key characteristics, behaviors that help people succeed and overcome challenges. But the one that seems common in both the “regular folks” and those who seem to overachieve is PERSISTENCE. They may or may not see the challenge facing them, but between attitude, focus and an ability to not give up and drive towards their goal….they get there.
This month, I am revisiting one of my all time favorite stories exemplifying all of that and more, much more. And this time we will bring you up to speed on where that inspirational person is today. First written about a little over two years ago, this story is even more amazing today!
So, without further delay, let’s learn all about the “NO EXCUSES” approach to life from one of the best, Isaiah Bird.
No Excuses
Isaiah’s life is far from the norm for most if not all of us for a variety of reasons. He was born with a birth defect that resulted in his being born with no legs. In addition to that, he was being raised in far from ideal circumstances. His father has been in prison a large amount of the time and his parents have actually been involved in domestic violence against each other. He lives the majority of the time now in a church homeless shelter in Glen Cove, NY with his mother and younger brother. Based on that, his age and his physical challenges one might think Isaiah is doomed to a very difficult life. Keep reading!
Luckily for Isaiah a guardian angel came into his life at school. Miguel Rodgriguez, a classroom aid who also functions as a wrestling coach, took Isaiah under his wing. During the wrestling season, Isaiah stays 5-6 days a week with Rodriguez, his girlfriend, Miguel’s own son (Elijah) and his mother. Miguel himself came from Venezuela to the US back in 1997, with practically nothing and very few prospects for success. According to Miguel, wrestling saved his life. He now is doing his part to provide a platform for Isaiah and his mother to achieve their own level of success.
Rodriguez has been the coach of the Long Beach NY Gladiators for a number of years. They are a competitive youth wrestling club with a long history of success in New York State wrestling. Just as a trial to see how he would do, Miguel took Isaiah to practice with him one day. Flash forward just two short years later. Isaiah Bird, the boy with no legs, a rocky home life, no real father and limited prospects has become one of the best wrestlers in his age group for the entire state of New York. According to his coach and others, when he first started wrestling “He was cute. Now he IS the competition. He is the guy to beat.” Wow. Does he always win? No. But most of the time he does. And his attitude is exemplified in this quote from Isaiah. “I always try my best. It’s okay if you don’t win, because we go out there, shake hands, say ‘good job’ and that’s it.” But the biggest thing that jumped out from both Isaiah and his coach/mentor/father figure Miguel was the constant phrase “No excuses”.
Bird is now 9 years old and still is a competitive wrestler two+ years later. In fact, his record last year(2017) was 27-12. That alone amazes me. And Rodriguez is still Isaiah’s coach and teacher’s assistant, as he has been since the young competitor born with no legs was 5 years old.
When asked about his success, Bird says that he just keeps pushing on to be the best he can.
“[I say:] ‘I can do this. There’s no excuses. I can do this.’ And I just do it,” Bird told ABC News “And I keep practicing and practicing. If I, one day I get pinned … I go back to practicing and practicing and I get better and better and better.”
And Isaiah doesn’t limit himself to wrestling, either. He has many other activities he enjoys despite his seeming disadvantage of having no legs. Here’s a snippet from one of his many interviews, this one from the BBC. Check it out!
For such a very young man from a very troubling environment, Isaiah seems to have somehow figured some things out that many adults struggle with. In the telling of his story to numerous media outlets over the past 4+ years, Isaiah has clearly and consistently stated he wants to go to college, teach, have children of his own and spend his life teaching & coaching kids less fortunate.
Obviously, people do and have looked at him and felt bad, but clearly Isaiah feels much the opposite. I don’t know about you but I found it very inspirational. In closing, here is my favorite quote from our star and role model this month.  I just love this little guy and his message.
“My name is Isaiah Bird.   I have no legs, but that’s okay, because God made me that way. I’m a Gladiator, and there are no excuses.”

One Thing – What Successful People Have in Common

Welcome to the end of March and the approaching Easter weekend! And thank you to all who took the time to respond and reply with some great feedback on last month’s newsletter. Glad you enjoyed it! This month, let’s build on the fundamentals outlined in February’s newsletter on lessons from Olympians.
I have always found it motivational, inspirational and educational to hear the stories of others, some famous and some not so famous. So many times we think there is some “magic” to their success, but most times what we discover is what we actually have in common with them.
The number one thing that repeatedly comes up is the ability to overcome obstacles. Through whatever factors come into play for each of us, determination, resilience, toughness, focus on the end goal, the ability to adapt and the drive to never give up are attributes MANY people famous AND not so famous exhibit. I’m sure we all have examples of people who fit into this. So can you!
Here are a few names of the more well known you may be aware of that exemplify this.
Bill Gates – Yes, Bill Gates, perhaps the richest person in the whole world, experienced failure right out of the gate. His very first company, Traf-O-Data (a device which could read traffic tapes and process the data), was a complete failure. So the story goes, when Gates and his partner, Paul Allen, went out to try and sell it, the product wouldn’t even work. Did they let that stop them?? NO. Gates and Allen did not let that deter them from continuing to try, again and again. Gates partner, Paul Allen, has often said: “Even though Traf-O-Data wasn’t a roaring success, it was seminal in preparing us to make Microsoft’s first product a couple of years later.” In other words, through determination and overcoming obstacles, this failure helped them to become hugely successful!
Jim Carrey – While certainly not everyone’s “cup of tea”, there is no denying that Jim Carrey has become one of the more recognizable names in comedy and comedic acting. And he is hugely successful as a result of overcoming his own obstacles. When Carrey was 15 his family was so poor, he had to drop out of high school to help support them. To quote Carrey, “We went from middle class to poor”, eventually living, as a family, in a van. He did not let this stop him from achieving his dream of becoming a comedian.
Bethany Hamilton – WHO is Bethany Hamilton you might be asking yourself?? Once I begin to describe her you’ll most likely remember immediately. Bethany Hamilton had her arm bitten off by a shark, at age 13, on the North shore of Kauai. Not just a little shark, it was a 14-15 foot tiger shark and it could have taken her life. I was just in those very waters, at that very spot, in September 2015. 20 feet of water, big waves and let me tell you I definitely was on the lookout as the local guide told the story of that day! So how did she respond?? After losing her left arm at age 13, doing something she had been doing since she was a small child, she was back on her surfboard one month later. Two years after that she took first place at the Explorer NSSA National Championships. Wow! Talk about showing the ultimate in determination and overcoming obstacles!
Steven Spielberg – Yes, we have all heard of him. He has become one of the most well known and prolific film makers of our time. The maker of “Jaws”, “Jurassic Park”, “E.T.” and “Schindler’s List”, along with many other films and TV projects, could not get into USC film school. This was his big dream and yet it was denied. Hmmmm, seems to have all worked out rather well for Mr. Spielberg. And ironically, he received an honorary degree from USC in 1994. Two years after that, in 1996, he became a trustee of the university. Quite a turnaround wouldn’t you say! He kept plugging, did not give up and overcame what at the time seemed like a crushing obstacle to his dream of making films.
Look, the bottom line is we all have it in us to persevere, overcome obstacles and keep moving forward towards whatever goals we might have personally and professionally. We sometimes just have to be reminded of how much we are truly capable of handling and achieving. If this newsletter helped in some small way to in that quest, great!
Thanks so much for reading. I hope everyone has a wonderful, peaceful and fun Easter Weekend. Take care and talk to you next month.

Olympic Lessons for Life and Work

Welcome to the end of February and the end of another Winter Olympics. As always, I start saying I won’t watch that much and by the end I have been doing so for hours. And one of the things that consistently comes up for me during this time is some of the amazing stories and lessons gleaned from so many of the competitors.
A former professional athlete, psychological performance coach and author of 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of The World Class, Steve Siebold is someone I occasionally check out. Steve outlined 10 very important lessons we all could pay attention to, think about and apply in our own worlds. They are as follows:
  1. They never stop learning. Olympic athletes are at the top of their games because they spend so much time practicing, watching replays of their performance and strategizing with their coaches. If you want to be the best at something, you must commit yourself to being a student for life.
  2. They overcome obstacles. When most people run into an obstacle, they seek escape. Olympic athletes have a plan to push forward when this happens and learn all they can from the challenge. They know facing adversity is part of being successful.
  3. They think big.  Ask most people what they’re thinking at any given time, and you might be surprised to learn how many think about just getting by. That’s called selling yourself short. If you ask every athlete in the Olympics if they think they are going to win the gold, they would all tell you ‘yes.’ They fully believe in themselves and their abilities, and nothing you could say will talk them out of it. They think big and therefore get big results.
  4. They know consciousness is contagious. Olympic athletes live together and spend so much time together because consciousness is contagious. Your level of success in any area of your life is most likely the same as the people you spend the most time with. If you want to be better at something, get around people who push you to greatness.
  5. They are consistently great.  The reason Olympians are so consistent is because their actions are congruent with their thought processes. They have a very clear mental picture of what they want, why they want it and how to move closer to their target objective.
  6. They compartmentalize their emotions.  In other words, Olympic athletes have the ability to put aside anything else going on at that very moment, and focus only on the task in front of them: winning the gold.
  7. They know very good is bad.  For the average person, to be classified as very good is something to be proud of. For the great ones like Olympians, it’s an insult. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Why just be happy with the bronze or silver when you can go for the gold?
  8. They are held accountable:  Olympic athletes are held accountable on so many levels. One of the biggest problems is that most people have no means of accountability or a support system in place when it comes to what they’re trying to accomplish. Whether it’s losing weight, making more money or anything else you are trying to achieve, being held accountable changes everything.
  9. They know it’s their desire that counts.  Olympic athletes know winning isn’t everything. It’s wanting to win that counts. Olympians have a “whatever it takes” attitude. They’ve made the decision to pay any price and bear any burden in the name of victory.
  10. They are comeback artists. While most people are demoralized by setbacks and defeat, Olympians know that large scale success is based on a series of comebacks. Emotionally speaking, they don’t understand the concept of giving up. On the physical plane, they have perseverance. On the mental plane, toughness. On the spiritual plane, we call it “artistry”.
There is SO much we can learn, absorb and put into practice in our own worlds, both personally and professionally, from these items outlined by Steve. And the stories themselves of some famous and not so famous athletes can fire you up to learn and achieve more than you thought possible. Go on line and check some out. It got me so interested I am creating a new workshop based on these very principles!

Bill Belichick Reveals His 5 Rules of Exceptional Leadership

1. Leadership means building a team that’s exhaustively prepared, but able to adjust in an instant

“The only sign we have in the locker room is from ‘The Art of War.’ ‘Every battle is won before it is fought,'” says Belichick, who started breaking down films of opposing teams when he was 7 years old and hanging out with his dad, Steve, an assistant coach at Annapolis.
“You [have to] know what the opponents can do, what their strengths and weaknesses are … [and] what to do in every situation,” he says.
That ability – to adapt on a dime – is why Belichick says he spends so much time building teamwork, from having the team train with Navy SEALs, to organizing trivia nights, where, incidentally, all social media is banned.
“Nobody is against [social media] more than I am. I can’t stand it,” Belichick says. “I think it’s important for us, as a team, to know each other. Know our teammates and our coaches. To interact with them is more important than to be ‘liked’ by whoever on Chatrun.” (In the same conversation, he also derided “InstaFace” in all seriousness.)
2. Leadership means having the discipline to deploy your “dependables”
You know your star performers? The ones who can dazzle and amaze, except when they don’t? They’re definitely appealing, Belichick admits.
But over the years, he’s learned they’re not his type. He’d rather stick with his tried-and-true people – call them his “dependables.”
“There have been times when I’ve put too much responsibility on people. … They might have been the most talented, or the people you hoped would do the right or best thing, and they didn’t come through,” Belichick says.
Big mistake.
When it comes to getting things done, especially critical things, forget the high flyers: “You have to go with the person who you have the most confidence in, the most consistent,” Belichick says. “And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but I’m going down with that person.”

3. Leadership means being the boss

Belichick says this principle came to him when he was just 23, addressing the Colts as a special teams coach. Two players, one of them a talented starter, spent the beginning of the meeting giggling and chatting. Inside, Belichick recalls, he was seething: “I’m not afraid of these guys. It’s either [them] or me. We can’t run a team like this.”  Finally, he let loose. “Look, either you shut up or you get out of here. That’s it.”
It worked.  And it was an aha moment that has guided him since. “I don’t care if they’re a star player,” he says. “I don’t care who they are. You have to set the tone.”

4. Leadership means caring about everything going on in the lives of your people

Maybe the previous rule would make you think otherwise, but Belichick strongly believes you must see your team not just as players, per se, but as people who have full, three-dimensional, and often messy lives.
“There are a lot of things that affect what happens on the field that occur off the field,” he says. Players “have wives and girlfriends. And they have babies. And they have personal situations. They have parents that are sick. All of it runs in together.”
Work and life, in other words, are inseparable and it’s incumbent on leaders to help their people sort through it. “The more you and the organization can help take care of personal situations,” he says, “the smoother the ship runs on the football end.”

5. Leadership means never resting on your laurels

Ask Belichick if he’s still celebrating the stunning come-from-behind Super Bowl victory in February and you get another “You’re killing me here” look.
“We’re onto 2017. No one cares about 2016 anymore,” he says. “You can’t look back. We don’t talk about last year. We don’t talk about next week. We talk about today, and we talk about the next game. That’s all we can really control.”
In other words, it’s OK to celebrate a big win – but get it over with fast.
Oh, come on, not even a little parading the championship rings around the house? Belichick pauses – and smiles. (Yes, he smiles.)
“I’m not a jewelry guy,” he says.
Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator, and public speaker.

For a look at the video, see below