Monday, June 30, 2008

Being Malleable

The beauty of the expectant is desirable, but there is also a certain pleasure in the unexpected. Look forward to it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Being in Love

"Love begins at home and is spread abroad."

Love matters!

God bless the Obamas. God bless each of us. God bless our great country, the United States of America.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Being Successful

The quote below, attributed to Woody Allen, got me to thinking about success, luck, purpose, and the diligence required to fulfill one's purpose:

"Eighty percent of success is showing up when you are as talented as me. Without the talent, no one would have realized that I had showed up"

Is talent then given? Improved upon? Mastered? One shows up and that which is given, improved upon, and mastered bring about that eighty percent success rate?

What is the twenty percent? That which is given, the talent? What is the eighty? That which is improved upon and mastered?

Success then is not possible without you. Luck and happen stance are minimum forces that we ourselves create through diligence. Diligence here is working through the talent which allows you to show up, to be noticed, and to fulfill purpose.

This is being successful.

Being Excellent Until the Finish

Recently Tom Peters posted a quote by Ernest Hemingway's Garden of Eden on his Blog that relates to execution: "Finishing is what you have to do. If you don't finish, nothing is worth a damn." Below is my comment to the post largely quoted. You can read this post and brilliant others by clicking on the title above. And speaking of Tom Peters' brilliant posts, he understands well that writing a "clever rant" is no substitute for doing. His latest post, "The Stuff is the Fluff, the Flower is the Power," makes this point. Back to Hemmingway:

I loved the Hemmingway quote "finishing is what you have to do. If you don't finish, nothing is worth a damn." I recently gave a young man of 25 a chance to be an independent contractor for me. He is a fine craftsman and excellent worker, but he had begun to slack off over the last week, as he managed two sites. But the sites are set to be completed sequentially. I was conscious when he began not to overwhelm him, placing older men who had more managerial experience to look after him. But they have their own crews on their sites to look after.

In thinking of this post about the importance of execution, I was reminded of a conversation I had yesterday with the young contractor. "It's not how you begin but how you finish," I admonished. "Yes, ma'am. I think I know what you mean," he said, "but can you tell me why?" (He's from Tennessee and everything is "yes, ma'am" and "no, ma'am." He is a most likeable young man because of his simple way of honoring others in his speech, even his small ragtag crew.) "Because the memory of the end will be my last memory of you," I replied. "Yes, ma'am."

Last night he stayed with his crew until 2:00am and finished the job. When I went in this morning the work was done with excellence as I knew it could be. (He has serious skill, having learned to build homes from the ground up since he was 14.) As walked through the house, he was so proud of himself and I was so happy to have the work finished with such excellence. I gave him a serious bonus to encourage him and to express my gratitude. Though I had intended the bonus all along, I had not mentioned it. He was thrilled by the outcome and so was I.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Being Simply the Best

Barack 2008! Yes, We Can!

Barack is simply the best candidate, the best leader for our country.

Being James Dobson

1 Corinthians 13

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

James Dobson, the ultra conservative religious leader of Focus on the Family, accuses Barack Obama of "distorting" the Bible and "dragging biblical understanding through the gutter."

Can someone please inform Mr. Dobson that his often loveless understanding of the Bible and all the past sway that it had on large numbers of Americans is now over in this 2008 election? His power to influence is greatly diminished.

Please tell Mr. Dobson that we flatly reject loveless messages of any kind by any persons whether they embrace bits of truth or not. (Rarely anything is all false.) The movement for change has begun. We will no longer ostracize people because of shortcomings, failures or personal choices. Let God be God and not us.

We will no longer accept self-righteousness over love. Love will supersede hate and fear mongering. Love will not be impeded by religious fanatics of any kind. The Focus on the Family should be love. No dogma or fanaticism shall we accept; we are now a much more loving and wiser people.

God bless each of us. God Bless the United States of America

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Being a Wildflower

Standing amid rough terrains and high winds-resilient, yet so delicate, bright colorful hues.

Be a wildflower.

Being Excellent

Excellence is beauty. It is grace from which feats are accomplished. Excellence is love. It is action. (Have you ever known anyone who loves and does not act?) Excellence is the joys and trials of that which can't be eternally held. Once one level of excellence is reached, another level arrives.

I absolutely love Thomas Watson's sense of excellence taking "one minute." Excellence is doing now, in the moment. I also adore these words spoken by Tom Peters: "Excellence is not some measured aspiration; it is about how we live and exist in the world." This is simply beautiful. Tom Peters has lived a continuous life In Search of Excellence.

What about you?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Being Submissive

Understanding well the historical rant of women towards submission, I, nevertheless, fell hard for a pastor's words in Detroit.

"Submission," he said, "is the ultimate expression of strength."

Hearing these words, I thought of other such words spoken by the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5:5. "Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed in humility."

Submission is not a dirty word. It is only when there is no submission "one to another" that imbalance occurs.

The lack of submission and humility also causes unnecessary tension and unproductivity.

As husbands should submit to wives and vice verse, employers should submit to employees and vice verse.

"Submission is the ultimate expression of strength" because it fortifies relations of every kind, moving things forever forward.

How submissive are you?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Being Determined

"Try...just a little bit harder"

You can do it!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Being Tim Russert

From humble beginnings to grand positioning, Tim Russert seems to have never lost the lessons of humility and work ethic taught to him by his parents. He seemed to have never compromised in what he deemed truth or fair, teaching us through his interviews these attributes.

I followed Russert's career because of his great example. I followed it because he made me feel good to be an American. I loved his love for our country and his daring to believe. Examples like his causes us to dream and believe that all things are possible.

Dream that impossible dream.

May God forever bless Tim Russert's wife, Maureen, and son, Luke. May God continue to bless his dad, Big Russ. And may God forever bless the United States of America, our great country, that has given to so many seemingly impossible dreams. Tim Russert taught us through example that we can dream that impossible dream and walk humbly in it.

Thank you, Tim Russert.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Being "Me"

"At certain times I have no race, I am me. When I set my hat at a certain angle and saunter down Seventh Avenue, Harlem City, feeling as snooty as the lions in front of the Forty-Second Street Library, for instance...The cosmic Zora emerges. I belong to no race nor time. I am the eternal feminine with its string of beads."

--Zora Neale Hurston

Set your "hat at a certain angle" and find your stride. The lionness will arise, the jungle will subside, and the universe will receive you eternally as her own.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Being Powerful

In a recent post at Tom Peters writes about "The Train that Keeps on Rolling," referring to the history of US economic resilience and its steady and continuous "share of global output" in spite of setbacks. The comments that followed got me to thinking about the intersection of power and the emergence of economic advancement in developing countries. In fact, Tom Peters references this in his post. Below is my comment, largely copied from the site.

Who has more of power and for how long has long been the pertinent question for centuries. In times past, in order to keep such power in tack inbreeding and marriages among people of power in neighboring countries was the practice-- not so today. The rise of the entrepreneur and innovation are far greater than marriages, at least in this regard.

Be reminded that power does not necessarily have to do with the numbers in any country of emergence. Perhaps it has more to do with the many components of influence in various countries (What is the BBC? What is the AP?) and the power of entrepreneurship and innovation. I might also add that there is something to be said for the notion of unity so created in the founding documents of the US.

Where there is goodness, in spite of error, resilience follows. Americans survive/thrive because in spite of our failures, we are a good people whose founding documents propel us to greatness--that which is giving, humble, innovative, accepting, powerful, democratic, entreating, and entrepreneurial.

The American spirit of entrepreneurship seems to fight against complacency. When other societies were feudal and hierarchical this nation sprung to the rights of the individual and the notion of community. (Although the rights of some were then trampled upon.) The US clings to the notion of freedom. Though, like all other nations, there is no perfection. The important thing is to become that "More Perfect Union" which we are forever becoming.

Another thought: do you think that the advent of the Internet (or many such other inventions) could have come in a feudal society or one where democracy was inhibited?

Entrepreneurship is powerful.

Being Intelligent

Intelligence is not necessarily degreed, nor does doing stuff always succeed.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Being Barack Obama II

This afternoon I had a meeting with a prominent businessman and councilman of a local government who is 88 years young. He is quick, passionate, loving, and intelligent. He is in many regards my hero. After we were well into our meeting, the conversation turned to politics. I expressed my enthusiasm for Barack, which he did not share. He is a veteran who served stateside in WWII and lost relatives in the Holocaust.

Listening to him, I got the distinct impression that he did not appreciate Barack's appeal to the masses. He did not appreciate the fact that many were drawn to his message that has little to do with swooning faint-hearted women, though many such women swooned for Clinton too, but rarely -- if ever -- for McCain. In this case, he would be the best candidate. Not! (Though, I’m very respectful of his past service to our beloved ever increasing unified country, the United States of America.)

Now, my councilman is a diehard liberal who serves his largely affluent African American constituency with honor and distinction and works tirelessly for the poor and downtrodden. But the past of another speaker that galvanized a country for evil seemed to loom large in our discussion, though the name was never mentioned. My beloved councilman was very “leery” of Barack. “I was for Hillary, he said. “You will see in time that you have made a mistake,” he warned. I respectfully disagreed in silence, seeing clearly what appeared to me to be a distrust of the past and not the present.

As we spoke I was reminded of another discussion that I had with one of my favorite professors of philosophy who, did not serve in WWII, but whose grandfather had escaped the Holocaust. He too had a great aversion to eloquent passionate men of power and distinction that drew masses of people. As a matter of fact, he had some concerns about Martin Luther King and his ability to draw crowds, though he appreciated his message.

To seek to squelch a leader (this may very well be a lost cause in Barack’s case as he is so universal) because of his passion and eloquence, because he has both the power and humility (the latter is very much lacking in dictators or egotists) to ignite the people to bring about change does not guarantee a repeat of historical atrocities. Communication and openness might. Though, I shudder to think of the holocausts that have happened since and are happening right now in other parts of the world.

There would have been no Martin Luther King, no John and Robert Kennedy, no Barbara Jordan (a personal favorite), if we sought to shut down these great orators and igniters of passion. I think it was Tom Peters who said that we should not even speak unless our intentions are to change the world. Without passion, it is virtually impossible to change anything or anyone. What then would we be? Unchanged.

Being Open Minded

In another post "Being Judgemental" I talked about "my mountain men" whom I hired to work for me. I found them as they work on roofs on a house down the street. As I needed new roofs on a couple of the houses, as well as other work, I walked down to see if they could assist me. They could, but not without some hesitation and a slight look of uncertainty. What was obvious was that they were not sure about me, though I was fine with them. Roofers tend to walk by the beat of their own drum and are usually left of conformity. They spoke loudly with a deep southern accent and wore tons of tattoos, no shirts, and long beards and hair.

I liked them immediately. They are raw, honest, respectful, and hard working. They are also family orientated, having a tier of leadership and honor for each other that was endearing and operative. Ten of the twelve are family members and they work well together, having respect for each other's skills and deference to certain abilities.

Watching them, I realize more and more how much alike we all are. When I see this large family, they don't seem to be any different from my large family. There are distinct differences, but at the root of things that matter most, we are very similar. Though initially, one may not see it.

They are from the South (Tennessee and Virginia) we are from the North (New York and Illinois.) They have deep southern accents. We do not. They are Irish. We are African American. Most of them have not finished high school. We have gone to college. They work outside mostly. We work in offices. They grow beautiful gardens and do great masonry work. We are talented singers, writers, and dancers. They have many tattoos. We are tattoo-less.

They seemed to be more leery of me than I was of them. After all, it was I who walked down to make their acquaintance. As time progressed, they seem to realize that I would be no different from many others and learned to trust me. In fact, we have developed a good relationship and I have sent them over to four of my siblings places to do work on their businesses and homes. They have bonded with my siblings and they have even joined my brother's church, the whole lot of them.

While at first I had no hesitation about their abilities from their outward appearance, I would not have necessarily felt like we had many other things in common, let alone that I would see them at church on Sunday. They are Baptists; we are not. But that did not seem to matter at all. In fact, one of them said, upon entering the sanctuary, that he felt at home and was drawn to pulpit centerpiece, the globe, that represents peace and global unity.

My brother had a grand opening last Sunday at his church largely do to the guys stepping in and helping out. They worked side by side with him and members of the church, eating, and laughing well into the early morning of the opening. My brother was so appreciative of the work they did and honored them the next day. The following Monday I got a call from one of the family members who indicated that they had been so impressed by the love shown that their family, who were looking for a church to worship, would be attending services in the new church.

The fact that they are Baptist and we are non-denominational, having every denomination present, meant nothing to either families. It is people that we both seem to love. What seem to matter most to both families is respect, honor, skill, work ethic and love. Be open-minded. Unlikely personal and professional relationships are possible.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Being Barack Obama

What awesomeness! What greatness! What brilliance! What strength! What beauty! What humility!

Yes, We Can! This is change we can believe in!

God bless Barack Obama and family! God bless each one of us! God bless our great country, the United States of America!

Being Great

Consider greatness as service which requires wisdom, understanding, humility, passion for the success of others, and deference.

Greatness is being in service to others.

I want to be great. Do you?