What are you talking about?

Communication affects everything. In his best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey says, “Communication is the most important skill in life. We spend most of our waking hours communicating.” We cannot get away from communication; it is an inherent and instinctive part of who we are. Too often communication is poorly categorized with speaking, talking, and listening, while communication has more to do with who you are (Character) than what you say.

An ancient proverb says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” What we say and do communicates who we are, but too often communication is used as a tool to mask who we really are. Famous psychologist Abraham Maslow observed, “Behavior in the human being is sometimes a defense, a way of concealing motives and thoughts, as language can be a way of hiding your thoughts and preventing communication.”

Do you communicate who you are? Does what you say and do follow the same pattern?

If you’re anything like me this can be challenging. We should always keep in mind that communication is an art. To improve in communication, we need to practice, practice, practice. Who knows, maybe you’re the next Michelangelo.

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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Positively positive

Who are people you admire? It could be anyone, from a sports figure to a humanitarian, an artist or person from history. Now, answer this question: Why do you admire them?

As a boy I had a few heroes, two in particular were Zorro and Michael Jordan. I had a Zorro costume and a Michael Jordan jersey which I wore so frequently I almost lost my identity. When I wore my Zorro costume I climbed trees, stopped injustice, tracked down stolen goods, and left Z marks on everything I came in contact with. When I wore my Michael Jordan jersey I was dunking the basketball (tongue always out), leading comebacks, and hitting the game winning shots all with the ease of Mr. Jordan himself. These two men made a significant impact on my young life, but it wasn’t until later that I realized why.

Zorro and Michael Jordan had tremendous talent in their field of expertise (I know Zorro is fictional, just humor me). Zorro could wield his whip and sword in ways that left the bad guys trembling in their boots at the site of his black hat and cape. Jordan was a winner. I remember watching games where he would shoot 2 for 15 in the first three quarters and the Bulls would be down by 10 points, then he would make his next 10 shots and would win by 10 points. It was like he had a superhero switch he could turn on whenever he felt like it. However, it wasn’t talent that caused my undying devotion to these two figures. It was their attitude.

Zorro and Jordan had a way with people I wanted to emulate. Their charisma and relational charm separated them from all other figures in their profession. They gave back with every opportunity and bad press did not stick. Skill may get us in the door of a great vision, but attitude determines whether or not it is successful. We admire people for acts of courage, excellent communication skills, lightheartedness, charisma, competence, commitment, honesty, etc. Our character is forged through the tempering of our attitude because attitude is a choice. For a vision to see fruition, we must choose a positive attitude to overcome the many obstacles we will face along the journey.


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Enough of that already mateys…

I used to read the news every day and was constantly bombarded with the latest scandal in business or school shooting. DUI and divorce rates continued to climb. I read about politicians and preachers with prostitutes, conducting embezzlements, corruption, lies, etc. AAAAHHH!!! Now, I understand the news is bias towards negativity, but many of the things that are in the papers today weren’t in the papers 40 years ago. More Mom and Dad’s were staying together.

According to the Census Bureau the divorce rate has more than quadrupled since 1970 and 30% fewer people are getting married. Politicians valued their word and character. According to the worldwide statistics the U.S. Corruption index has dropped again in 2010. Kids weren’t shooting each other in school, we didn’t have to beg kids to get outside and play, neighbors knew each other, families cared about their reputations.

Something is wrong in our society. Things that were once sacred are not treated with the same weight as they once were. I was recently talking to a business partner of mine that is significantly older than me; I asked her what it was like when people got a divorce when she was younger. “People were in shock” she said. “The people getting the divorce were ashamed and would isolate themselves and in many cases move away.” Shock is good thing when it comes to things like divorce, corruption, lies, cheating, scandals, murder and every other negative character behavior you can think of.

A few years ago I decided not to watch television anymore. It took too much of my time and I wanted to read more. What I didn’t know when I made that decision was how much television affected my thinking. One day after I had stopped watching TV I was at a friend’s house and his television was tuned to a show I used to watch. As I sat there I realized the show promoted many negative things and played it off through humor. Some things literally shocked me and I kindly asked my friend to turn off the show.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Garbage in, Garbage out.” Unfortunately, garbage can look good and we often intake it without knowing it. Other times we know it and don’t care. I have an affinity for junk food. I like candy and cake, wings and chips, and energy drinks. The problem with junk food is it tastes great but makes you feel horrible afterwards. The pleasures are ephemeral and leave you wanting more. The body begins to crave it because of the instantaneous pleasure associated with it. When this happens a cycle begins and it takes conscious effort to overcome the cravings. If we can overcome things improve, if not the scale starts to tip—literally.

Bad character is a lot like junk food. It can provide instantaneous pleasure at times but the long term results are deleterious to our physical, emotional, and spiritual well being. We have to make a decision that we will live with the highest standards of character and improve the makeup of our society.


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Encouraging quotes for your day!

(Some quotes used from the Personal Excellence Blog)

Write below which is your favorite; have a great day everyone!

1. “Don’t let the past steal your present” – Cherralea Morgen

2. “One has to live in the present. Whatever is past is gone beyond recall; whatever is future remains beyond one’s reach, until it becomes present. Remembering the past and giving thought to the future are important, but only to the extent that they help one deal with the present.” – S.N. Goenka

3. “It doesn’t matter where you are, you are nowhere compared to where you can go.” ~ Bob Proctor

4. “We are all here for some special reason. Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future.” – Robin Sharma

5. The more you take responsibility for your past and present, the more you are able to create the future you seek.

6. “No matter where you are in life right now, no matter who you are, no matter how old you are – it is never too late to be who you are meant to be.” – Esther & Jerry Hicks

7. “There’s nothing capricious in nature, and the implanting of a desire indicates that its gratification is in the constitution of the creature that feels it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

8. “Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.” – Belva Davis

9. “I challenge you to make your life a masterpiece. I challenge you to join the ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk.” ~ Tony Robbins

10. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” – Jesus


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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Motivational


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Great teams are built on these

As a basketball coach I know a team cannot win without talent. More importantly I know you can’t win consistently without principles. At a practice a few years ago one of my players was giving me attitude. This kid (let’s call him Tommy) was the most talented player on my team at the time; he could do it all. I had just given him an ear full about his effort in a drill and he didn’t like it. He gave me a “look” in front of the other players so I asked him to follow me into the training room.

When we got there I told him to get his stuff and call his Dad. I informed him that we didn’t need him on the team anymore. Tears filled his eyes; he looked shocked that I would kick him off the team. “Tommy,” I said, “You’re the most talented player on this team, but teams are built on principles, not players. If you don’t want to work hard and show respect to me and the other players we don’t need you.” Tommy vowed to change and begged for a second chance. I sent Tommy home that day and he came back the next day with a greater drive and more respect. He finished the year well and so did the team.

Talent is never enough. To have success in basketball you have to practice dribbling, shooting, passing. You have to lift weights, improve footwork, be in proper position, and have good communication with your teammates. To have success in society you must “ask not what can be done for you, but ask what you can do” (paraphrasing J.F.K.). We must build and not tear down, be positive instead of negative, hope instead of despair, love instead of hate. All of this takes the principles our country was founded on—the principles of character. Thomas Jefferson said it well, “When it comes to style flow with the current, when it comes to principle stand like a rock.”

National statistics show that we have faltered in the matters of principle. Common sense tells us that things can’t continue on like this. We have to return to the foundations of character and we have to do it as a society. If each of us does our part the whole will succeed and we’ll find our way out of the rut we’re in. If we don’t you can believe what the newscasters say and what the “negative Ned’s” say at the water cooler—we will dig the rut deeper and deeper.

Let’s all contribute to turning things around by turning our attention to being the best us we can be. You become the best you for me and I’ll become the best me for you.

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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Character Development, Motivational


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You gotta watch this video!

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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Would you swim through a shark tank?

What do you do in the face of adversity? Keep going? Quit? Do you move on to something else? I’ve heard so often that most people quit right before they were about to make it through. I’ve seen it a few times. I’ve also seen people who have held on and never found the success they desired.

The ultimate question is: Is the struggle worth the result?

If someone offered me a new truck and all I had to do was swim through a shark tank, I would turn them down cold. However, if someone said I have to swim through an shark tank in order to save my wife and kids from harm, I’d dive right in.

Most people live their lives unintentionally. I don’t say that judgmentally; I say that compassionately. My desire is to see people living fulfilled and impactful lives. The reason many people give up when adversity comes is they aren’t living for a purpose they would swim through a shark tank for.

I would swim through a shark tank for God, my family, my country, my friends, and our mission.

What would you swim through a shark tank for?

Who would you willingly give your life for?

What greater purpose would you sacrifice for?

Remember friends, it is only through adversity that we find what we’re made of. The struggle is what strengthens us. Each of you has a specific call that can impact the world around you. The question is: What do you do when adversity comes?

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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Our freedom, our choice

On September 11th, 2001 our lives changed. The date itself speaks an echo that’s difficult to put into words. If asked, we could all describe in detail what we were doing when we heard the news. We remember the thoughts that filtered through our minds. Most of us recall watching the horror over and over again on every media outlet in the western hemisphere.

When I heard the news I was in Yokosuka, Japan on board the U.S.S. Kitty-Hawk. It was 10 p.m. (Japan is 13 hours ahead of the U.S.) and I was winding down after a long day and getting ready to hit the rack. A few guys in the berthing (Navy version of barracks)were playing cards and shooting the breeze; I was talking to a friend about visiting some more historic sites in Japan when “WHAM!” The door burst open and Fireman Bill Leroux said, “Some planes flew into the World Trade Center!” Bill was a bit of joker so everyone didn’t jump to their feet, but another gentleman followed in and corroborated his story.

In less than a minute the berthing was empty and people huddled around every television and computer screen around the ship. All of us waiting, watching and praying.

At the moment everyone believed it to be an accident, a plane malfunctioning or something of the like. Soon, however, a second plane collided into the other tower. News soon came about the attack on the Pentagon and a flight near Pittsburgh crashing. Uncertainty turned to fear and fear turned to anger. Just a few hours after the news hit our Captain made an announcement over the loudspeaker, “Get your things in order, we deploy in 36 hours.” The rest is now in history books.

Serving our country was one of the greatest honors I have ever had. Freedom is worth protecting; it is also our choice. Freedom is more a state of mind than a state of being. We have the freedom to think how we want to think, be who we want to be and express ourselves in any way possible. Unfortunately, many of us never take advantage of our freedom or we abuse the freedoms we have. When we don’t take advantage of our freedom we rob others of the best us. When we abuse our freedoms we rob others because more laws are put in place to protect our freedoms from abuse. This is why character is crucial in our lives.

Character principles keep us on track to becoming the best us and shine light on areas where we could potentially abuse our freedom. Living by character is a choice; a choice each of us make on a daily basis. Without intentionally practicing these principles we will be subjects to those who instill principles. Never forget that your freedom is your choice. I implore all of us to take full advantage of it by becoming the best us possible.

Your freedom, your choice.

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Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Motivational, Relationships


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Vacate to recreate

My wife Brittany and I were joking about the month of June. It seemed like we were gone the entire month on vacation. We truly had a wonderful time with both sides of our families. We went to Holden Beach, North Carolina with Brittany’s family and Huron, Ohio (right on Lake Erie) with my side of the family. We were beach bums, professional buffet eaters, fishermen, novel readers, storytellers (some were true), ice cream carnivores and late risers. The daily activities we became accustomed to were much different than the day-to-day at home.

Now that I’ve had some time to reflect I realize how great the time off was for us. Sometimes in the daily grind I forget that I’m not irreplaceable. The call for my life was given to me and I’m going to live it to the fullest. However, if some tragedy would befall me there would be someone to take my place. It’s actually quite invigorating.

I don’t look at time off as vacation (although I use the word), I look at it as recreation. To recreate means to restore, reconstruct, remake or re-establish. To vacate means to leave, give up, check out of or quit. Time away isn’t for giving up; rather, it’s for freshening up our bodies and minds so we’ll be most effective in living our call. While away I took time to read new things and write; the fresh sounds of the water sparked new ideas and relaxed my mind to think things I’ve never thought.

Recreation takes intentionality. It’s a difference in attitude, sometimes very slight. We have the choice to say, “I can’t wait to leave this stupid place or stupid job.” “I wish I could leave and never come back.” “Too bad my vacation isn’t permanent.” Or, “I’m looking forward to time off to reflect and freshen up.” “I look forward to spending focused time with family and friends to learn more about them.” “It will be nice to recharge and come back better than ever.”

One attitude is focused on the bad and the other on how much better things can be due to a break.

I would like to challenge us all as we head into this long weekend to celebrate the birth of this blessed nation to recharge, recreate and restore our minds. Time off is great and I hope we all enjoy it properly. Don’t vacate—recreate!

God bless America!

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Posted by on July 1, 2011 in Uncategorized


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