Monday, June 25, 2012

I visited the Flight 93 Memorial this weekend...

It's heart-wrenching.  And, I have to be honest.  I'm angry with where our country is.

It was very emotional to be there, just over an hour from where I grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania.  To stand so close to where every-day heroes made an unimaginably brave decision when faced with a situation that causes panic in my heart as I think about it as I'm writing this today. They made the kind of decision that few are faced with and even fewer can follow through on.  I stood in awe of their bravery.

It didn't end that day.  The bravery continues every day with men and women from across the globe fighting for the world to be a safer place.  Maybe you don't agree with war.  Maybe you do.  Either way, no one likes it.  We can all agree on that.

And this is where my anger begins....

When I stood on that walkway looking down the marble wall marking the flight path of Flight 93 and staring headlong into the boulder that marks the impact site, I was immediately sickened by thoughts of the games that our politicians and even our president are currently playing.  They are cowards.  They don't have the guts to stand up for what's right, even when it's difficult and unpopular.

I'll say this. If our politicians were on Flight 93 on September 11th, 2001, I can't in good conscience, believe that they would have had the courage to stand up to the terrorists the way those common men and women did.  I'm tired of cowards telling us what's right and wrong.  I'm tired of cowards telling us what we should and shouldn't be doing.  I'm tired of the arrogant telling the humble that we're not smart enough to make this thing work.

Mr. President, Congressmen and women, Senators and all other politicians, listen up:  We're tired of you.  We're tired of every day heroes being over-shadows by your political games.  We're tired of you pretending that you have our best interests in mind so that we'll vote for you again.  We're tired of being lied to.  I have some advice for you.  Take a day off from your childish games and visit the Flight 93 Memorial.  Reflect on that day.  And then explain to me why you spent $2 million in federal grant money to help pay for a multi-million dollar wine exhibition and culinary center in Washington State (source), while the memorial to a few of our nation's heroes remains unfinished.  Please... explain that to me.  Please explain that to the families of the heroes that died that day.  I would love to hear your reasoning.

I won't apologize for being angry.  We need to be angry.  We need to expect more from our elected officials.  We need to demand more from our elected leaders.  I know many of you don't care about politics.  I get it.  I didn't used to either.  But it's not about politics.  It's about right and wrong.  We are being led whether we like it or not and when we no longer care where it is that we're being led, we are in a very dangerous place.

I humbly ask that, if you do nothing else, please take a minute and visit the Flight 93 Memorial website:  Take a look around and think about how you can make the world a little better today.  We can all do it.  Real change happens when many people make small changes.  Make a change for the better today and I'll do the same.

Have a great day!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Your hard work doesn't matter

No one says about the guy that finishes 4th at the Olympics, "Wow, he must have worked really hard!"

No one cares about the people that almost make it.

But, if you're the one that's putting in the work, you should care.  The world will judge you based on your accomplishments, but the scale you use can be slightly different.  Of course, successes are great.  But hard work and lessons learned are most often more valuable than single stories of success.

Keep working toward your goal.  If your performance has been judged poor in the past, evaluate the work you've put in and see where you can get better.

Most importantly, don't listen to them when they tell you to quit.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

When do you replace these?

Replacing light bulbs isn't the most fun thing to do, but it's easy to know when to do it.  You turn on the switch, the flash scares you to the point where you nearly pee yourself and you go get a new bulb.

With other things in our lives, it's not so easy to tell when they need fixed.  And often, after they burn out, it's too late.

Don't wait until your friends abandon you, your family despises you or your boss fires you before you make changes.  Evaluate your relationships on a regular basis and make sure you're making small repairs along the way.  Once those bulbs burn out, it's sometimes too late to fix them.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It's like hitting an ant with an arrow

Hitting a moving target isn't easy.  That's why it's so important to determine your value system.  What is important to you and why?

Write it down.  Put it on your wall.  Read it daily.

If you lose site of your value system, what drives your decision-making process?  And why?

Monday, June 18, 2012

What if you started over?

Yesterday was a tough day... a very tough day.

I like to think that I'm a normally optimistic kind of guy, but Father's Day brings out a rush of emotion that I'm never quite ready to handle.  I know I'm not the only one in the situation that I'm in.  There are thousands of step-dad's out there with no biological kids of their own.  I feel your pain.  And yesterday once again opened my eyes to the power of perspective.

I've heard the "you're a great dad" thing and I truly appreciate the kind words.  They get me through some tough days.  But I have a perspective on Father's Day that only I can have.  I'm not unique.  We all have situations that people think they understand but they are just unable because it is impossible to fully see someone else's perspective.

I'm sure I could find numerous examples of me losing my patience with other people because I think I understand their perspective when I really don't.  I'm sure we've all been guilty at one time or another.

So what's the point?  The point is this.  Sometimes we (ahem... I) need to put my pride aside and admit that I just don't understand someone else's perspective.  I haven't walked in their shoes.  I haven't felt their pain.  I haven't seen the things that they've seen.  When we're willing to do that, we are able to learn about others in a way that is otherwise impossible.

What if today, you pretended that you've never spoken to your wife, your brother, your mom or your step-dad before?  What if you listened to them with fresh ears?  What could you learn about them today that you should have been listening to for years?  What could you learn about yourself?  What would happen if you started over?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Scheduling is difficult, but...

I've been trying to get to the gym more often.  It's tough.  The workout is hard, but scheduling the time to get there is even harder.

Most all of us are busy.  It makes scheduling difficult, but defining your priorities should not be.  For me, right now I have three main priorities.

(1) My faith: I need to continually work on improving in this area.
(2) My family: I need to continually work on improving in this area.
(3) My health: For now, I'm focused on getting to the gym more often and eating healthier.

You see, we can over-complicate and over-schedule all day long, but all of those schedules should be the result of your priorities, not the driving factor.

Set priorities first.  Schedule second.  If not, you'll find yourself being very busy but getting nowwhere.

Don't wait.  Take a few minutes right now to define your list of priorities.

[Feel free to post your priorities in the comments section of this post so that others can see (and learn from) your ideas.]

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The down side of taking a break

So, as some of you may have noticed, I took a little break from my blog writing.  The break mostly stemmed from a busy schedule (excuse) and poor planning (the actual reason).

The down side of taking a break is that it's easy to forget why you started doing something in the first place.  You can forget the importance of what you're doing and lose the desire to keep going.

I have two take-away's from my break:

  1. It's important to make a note of why you were doing what you were in the first place.  That "why" will keep your interest level up even during your break, and 
  2. It's nice to hear when people have missed what you were doing (and important to tell people when you miss what they were doing...)
I'm looking forward to getting back into this blog thing and thanks for all of the support.  Have a great day!