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    September 2009

    Fail Quickly and Often

    September 25, 2009 1946 Views

    CloudsTom Peters gets it. He said...

    "I've spent a good part of my life studying economic successes and failures. Above all, I've learned that everything takes a back seat to innovation."

    Tomorrow comes at us with lightning speed, and your competitive advantage is a fleeting thing. As leaders, we must create an environment that puts innovation front and center. Your people must know it is the key to your company's survival. You must create a climate that rewards risk and creative effort. Your people must not fear mistakes, but understand that honest mistakes can be life's main source for learning. SO TEACH THEM TO FAIL QUICKLY, AND OFTEN, TO ENABLE THEM TO REACH THE NEXT PLATEAU.

    That was an excerpt from our book Paper Airplane: A Lesson for Flying Outside the Box. Back by popular demand, we have reprinted it for your enjoyment.

    Innovations drive this world... and one innovation I could not live without is Social Media! In a world that seems to be increasingly global and friends move thousands of miles away, it is nice to stay in touch as well as friends can. What innovation do you need in your life?

    Looks like rain...

    September 22, 2009 2201 Views

    "Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value in your life." -Christiane Northrup, M. D.

    I don't know where you are in the world, but as I look out my window, all I see are storm clouds that threaten to downpour on my bike ride today! While I am dealing with the literal rain, I am sure that you, or someone you know, is dealing with the metaphorical rain. Those times in life when things are just not going well... and the storm does not seem to be moving. That is exactly why I wanted to share this movie with you, because as Vivian Greene said, "Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... it's about learning how to dance in the rain!" Have a happy Tuesday today, rain or shine!


    September 19, 2009 1879 Views

    Bill ThomasCongratulations to Bill Thomas! Bill submitted a personal story of his, and we have selected it to publish on our blog. For his contribution, he received a free copy of Finish Strong as it fits the accomplishments about which he wrote. You can submit your story too!

    I asked Bill, author of the "fictional autobiography" Telly's Torch, to talk a bit about himself:

    I'm nearly 86, in fair health. We have three grown children and seven grandchildren; all wonderful achievers in their own lives. I'm a Veteran of WW II, having fought in North Africa, Italy, France, Germany and Austria. I was a forward observer in an artillery battalion. We made amphibious landings in Anzio, Italy, and in Southern France. I am Commander in two Veterans organizations, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I am a writer and published author. I've written five nonfiction workbooks. My passion is in writing. I'm currently endeavoring to start a blog featuring interviews with people who have had a great "15 minutes of fame." The blog will be interesting, inspirational and motivational. I have been a successful salesman for over 60 years. I'm planning to live to 104. My motivation was your offer to publish one of my stories and what better selection could I have made than to write about a great wife, mother, grandmother, and a winning champion. Thank you for the recognition and acceptance of Soula's triumph.

    Without any more delay, here is Bill's story:

    Soula Thomas, 85, Rossmoor, WV resident, won a bronze medal in race-walking on Tuesday July 28th at the World's Masters International Track and Field Competition held in the city of Lahti, Finland.

    The full event ran from July 28th to August 8th, 2009. Approximately 5,300 athletes participated in various competitions. This event is a bi-annual phenomenon which attracts athletes 35 years of age or older worldwide. Many of these elder athletes are current or former Olympians or world record holders. It may seem strange to see men and women ages 35 to 100 throw javelins, heave shot puts, fly over hurdles, run and do long jumps or run in 100 meter to 800 meter races.

    Race-walking is a somewhat tricky heel, toe, and knee movements race and, if not done correctly, athletes can easily be disqualified by any of the many judges situated around the course. Soula, a petite race-walker, competed against four women in her age class. She walked the 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) in 44.22 minutes to win her bronze medal. The first place winner's time was 41 minutes.

    Soula also won a bronze medal in Australia in 2001, and has competed in England and Spain. She was delighted to see so many of her local American friends in Finland and so many other athletes from previous competitions

    abroad. The next event will be in July of 2011.

    The most remarkable aspect of this event is that these senior athletes are all so amazing. Individually and collectively, they are most impressive. They are agile, strong, powerful, full of energy, ready to compete, and striving to win. Up close, in their street clothes, you may notice their gray hair, face wrinkles, and varicose veins... but once they are on the field, they transform into dynamic challengers and winners. From a distance, it is difficult to distinguish the more elderly from the younger competitors. The camaraderie with all athletes is strong, but even the most famous, current champions are in awe of these senior athletes. Many swept away tears of joy.

    The mixture of languages is like a jolly melody, and the laughter is constant but if anyone ever needs proof that age doesn't matter so much, these older athletes prove that it is never too late to accept challenges.

    Lifelong Lessons from The Heart of a Teacher

    September 18, 2009 2021 Views

    HOAT_125x125It is the time of year when the days become shorter, the leaves start turning shades of yellow, red, and orange, and the air smells of bonfires at night. It also happens to be the time that children start heading back to school. I can remember the excitement the first few days of a new school year... new school supplies, new friends, and that feeling of being one grade higher and (hopefully!) a little wiser.

    I also looked forward to meeting those people that I would spend every day with for the rest of the year: my teachers. I can remember a few key teachers that truly shaped the way I see the world, and so that is exactly what I owe them... the world! To celebrate those very special people in our lives, we present Heart of a Teacher by Paula Fox. Here are some quotes from the book:

    "If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn." -Ignacio Estrada "To the loved, a word of affection is a morsel, but to the love-starved, a word of affection can be a feast." -Max Lucado "If you must raise your voice, do it to cheer your students on." -Author unknown "If kids come to us (educators/teachers) from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important." -Barbara Color "More people fail for lack of encouragement, than for any other reason." -Ruth Bell Graham "A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child." -Forest E. Witcraft

    How have teachers influenced your life? Share this post with those teachers in your life, and encourage those who encouraged you!

    The Third Man Factor

    September 15, 2009 2283 Views

    In Dan Green's book Finish Strong, he tells a story about the famous explorer, Sir Earnest Shackelton. On August 1, 1914 the captain took 28 men to Antarctica to attempt to cross on foot. Due to the ice and losing his ship The Endeavor, he and his men were left to survive the -15° average temperature.

    They traveled over miles of barren rocks, and they traveled in their lifeboats over 800 miles across the most treacherous ocean sea in the world to a whaling outpost. On August 30, 1916 the crew was rescued. More amazingly, all twenty eight crew members survived the ordeal.

    The crew members credit their survival to the strong faith of Sir Shackelton, his trust that they would leave the Antarctic alive and together. Listening to National Public Radio (NPR) yesterday, I heard a very interesting addition to the story. John Geiger, author of The Third Man Factor describes an extra help that Shackelton encountered:

    "If we understand that the Third Man Factor is a part of us, the way adrenaline is ... then we can start to access it more easily," he explains. "It's not a hallucination in the sense that hallucinations are disordering. This is a very helpful and orderly guide." The full story is here. One of the most famous instances of the phenomenon took place during Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic expedition in 1916. The team's boat was trapped in ice and they were forced to make a grueling journey across mountain ranges and glaciers to a whaling station in Stromness Bay. Shackleton later wrote: "I know that during that long and racking march of thirty-six hours over the unnamed mountains and glaciers, it seemed to me often that we were four, not three."

    To know more about this phenomena, listen to the whole story (it's only about 7 minutes long):

    The Third Man Factor

    Well, that is quite an addition to the story! Share your thoughts with us. When have you been in a difficult, stressful time, and what helped you persevere?

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