Character Creates Opportunity® – Focus on the Moment: Thursday, November 26, 2015

As our world continues to grow in complexity and intensity, there is a great deal of time and effort spent on the journey through a number of additional steps along the path to reach our goals.

Raising a strong family in today’s world has become more complicated.

Maintaining a safe and stable community has become more complicated.

Securing meaningful employment has become more complicated.

Building a successful business has become more complicated.

As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, ensuring we can sustain our effort over the long term to reach our goals is critically important.  As we navigate the complexity of life in reaching our goals, one often forgot aspect of ensuring we have the strength to continue is our ability to focus on the moment.

Exercising the discipline to focus on the moment at hand, while our mind wants to think about next steps or treasure thoughts of the past, will build our strength and help us stay on the journey to reach our goals.

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States of America.  Enjoy the moment of time we have today. Thankfulness

Life will continue.

Tomorrow’s journey will soon enough be upon us.

Yesterday’s journey is already a memory.

Do not miss today.

As we build and strengthen our character, make the choice to focus on the moment we have today.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, our time is probably filled with a bit of traveling, cooking, crowds, and maybe a good football game.

Sometime during today, look around, and in the gap between yesterday and tomorrow, quietly enjoy the moment we have today…and be thankful.

When we exercise the discipline to postpone the concerns of tomorrow, minimize the thoughts of yesterday, and focus on the moment we have today, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to be thankful.

Character Creates Opportunity® – Initiative: Thursday, November 19, 2015

The world and our communities move forward because someone steps up and takes the initiative.

Social change and charitable causes move forward because someone steps up and takes the initiative.

Innovation and value creation in the marketplace move forward because someone steps up and takes the initiative.

Family relationships in the home move forward because someone steps up and takes the initiative.

As we continue to build and strengthen our character, the ability to see the need for change and then take action is an important opportunity for all of us to set an example for others to follow.take the initiative

There are a few common traits around those who take the initiative:

  • They have a high level of awareness and empathy to see and feel a problem to be solved or a need to be met.
  • They genuinely care and emotionally ache for the struggle of others or the difficulty of a situation.
  • They have the courage to step forward and take action.

For those who have ever felt like you were just out there on your own, seeing something that no one else could see, and you wanted to take action…take the action.  Thank you for taking the initiative.  Our world, our communities, and especially our homes need you.

Just remember,

For each one of us who cares enough to take the initiative, there will be a handful of people around who will say, “You should have done it this way” (a.k.a. “I could have done it better”).

There will be others who will think and maybe say, “Who do you think you are doing something like this?”

And then there will certainly be the countless masses who may just not see it, may not care, or just don’t want to turn off the TV and get off the couch.

Our world, our communities, and especially our homes need someone to take the initiative and act.  Thank you for taking action.

When we take the initiative to drive productive change in our home, our workplace, or our community, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to have a positive impact in our world and especially those closest to us in our homes.

Character Creates Opportunity® – A Commitment to Serve: Thursday, November 12, 2015

There seems to be a growing level of support and gratefulness around the world for those men and women who have and are continuing to serve their country in the armed forces.  It is a fitting tribute for the service of so many.  As a veteran myself, I can say it is really great to see the intentional effort of so many to acknowledge the sacrifice.

Today’s message is not about the traditional view of service in the form of armed forces in defense of a nation.  The message is about the often underappreciated role that most of us play…The role of serving others based on a firm foundation of commitment.  Mostly out of the spotlight, behind the scenes, and without the public acknowledgement of “thank you.”

As we continue to build and strengthen our character, there is the important need to acknowledge the service to others we make each and every day that has lasting impact.

Although many times underappreciated, there is something extremely honorable about the commitment of those who serve tirelessly to get the job done in our homes, our workplace, and our communities.

A tremendous example is quietly set by those getting up on a cold, dark morning and getting the job done on a consistent basis that is worthy of appreciation, but so often goes without it.  It does not matter what role we play; whether we get up and load boxes into a truck, pack a lunch for children, wash a seemingly endless load of laundry, sit and hold grandchildren, or plan the strategy of an organization.  The day in day out choice we make to get up and get going despite being underappreciated for not just days, but perhaps years, is a worthy example of service and commitment.

Truth be told, our most underappreciated examples of honorable service most often occur with those closest to us in our homes and extended family.

We may not realize it, but those around us, whether they are our children, our coworkers, or our neighbors are all impacted by our example to get up and get going.  The spotlight is most often on those in public service or in high-level positions in organizations.  However, the day to day example of those in quiet service to a cause beyond themselves and honorably fulfilling their commitments are deserving of high praise for their impact is positive and lasting on those around them.

All of us, at certain points in our journey and across the various roles we play, will feel underappreciated for our efforts.  Whether it is an insensitive spouse, a teenager going through that “know it all” phase, a preoccupied boss, or selfish coworkers, we all will go through times of service where we just feel underappreciated.

In most cases, especially in the home, the tide does eventually turn.  The insensitive spouse or the “know it all” young adult eventually has that “light-bulb” moment when they realize the quiet service that has been delivered faithfully over the years.  However, if they do not, it is important that we do not lose our drive to deliver on our commitments to do our job and fulfill our obligations.  Continuing to move forward in quiet service is the most effective choice we can make.

If you have felt underappreciated for a while, take this writing as a little “pat on the back” of encouragement for a job and an example set that is well done.  In addition, we all should do some self-reflection and see if we are that insensitive spouse, “know it all” young adult, preoccupied boss, or selfish co-worker and start today to put forth some encouragement and recognition to those who are in honorable, quiet service around us.

Here are just a few key points on maintaining a commitment to serve others: (1) Continue to move forward in quiet service no matter how seemingly underappreciated or unrecognized our efforts become.  Our day in and day out example to maintain our commitments will have a positive impact on those around us, even if we do not see it today.  (2) It is well worth the effort to avoid allowing the negative energy of bitterness to set in when our service goes unnoticed or the praise and recognition for the task goes to someone else.  Continue to transfer energy into serving and minimize the negative energy that can creep in when recognition or appreciation is non-existent.

When we maintain our commitment to serve those around us, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to have a positive impact in our world and especially those closest to us in our homes.

Character Creates Opportunity® – The Upside in Uncertainty: Thursday, November 5, 2015

100% Certainty.  We all like a sense of stability and comfort in the very binary “yes or no” that comes with certainty.

If I work hard and build trust, I will succeed in building this business.

If I listen well and work hard on my marriage, my marriage will last.

If I study hard and listen well in class, I will get good grades in school.

If I save and invest wisely, I will have some money when I get too old to work productively.

If I eat well and exercise, I will avoid heart disease and diabetes.

The truth is that there are few things in life that happen with 100% certainty.  “Death and taxes” were the only ones that Ben Franklin could come up and I don’t think much has changed since wise old Ben wrote that truth.

With all this uncertainty, it turns out that we have a significant opportunity to build and strengthen our character as we effectively deal with the upside in uncertainty.character-creates-opportunity-2014-250-by-250px

Psychologists would tell us that the idea of uncertainty brings about a mix of fear, anxiety, and worry.  They would also tell us that 100% certainty in our expectations brings about a degree of comfort, but also opens a wide door towards complacency and taken things for granted.

Customers will always come back just like they did for the last two generations that ran this business

My spouse will always remain committed to our marriage

The company will always take care of its people

The greatest risk we have around things that we see as 100% certain is that we take them for granted and then wake up one day and customers are not coming back, our spouse’s bags are pack, and we are let go with a few week’s pay after giving years of service to a company.

The upside in uncertainty is that with a little anxiousness and concern about the future, we stand guard, we are honest about our weaknesses, we stay aware of our surroundings and we work on continual improvement…we take nothing for granted.

Life is full of change and uncertainty.  At each stage of life, whether school age years, early adulthood, young families, empty nesters, there is a fair amount of change and uncertainty.

When we begin to embrace the upside in uncertainty by trying to continually improve and taking few things for granted, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to reach our hopes and dreams.