Thanksgiving Blessings

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

With each year, my appreciation for the holiday deepens.

I have so much for which to be thankful.

I live in America, a place where most people in the world would choose to live if they could.

I have been presented opportunity after opportunity. Some of which I took advantage. Others I squandered. Nevertheless, I’m grateful for such opportunities. More grateful that in the world where we live, opportunities keep coming. For all who are open to them.

I married well. That choice produces  fruit every day.

My kids make me proud. We live without regret in our relationships. I realize how uncommon that is.

I can worship anywhere, anytime. Without fear or repercussions. That liberty is precious to me.

Perhaps among my chief benefit is where I get to work and to whom I get to work alongside. I cherish this opportunity to wear the PalletOne jersey.

So, as I read this, I realize it could be perceived as a “brag” list. I hope you won’t take it that way.

Here’s how I wish you’d take it:

Chances are that you can make the same kind of list as mine.

Good job? I hope. People you love and who love you. Great community where you live. The opportunity we each have to act to make our life better.

Happy Thanksgiving! We are blessed!

What’s Your Cue?

In his book, “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg teaches how to break down the structure of a habit.

There is a “cue” which triggers a “routine”. The completion of the routine provides a “reward”.

Habits can be quirky and inconsequential.  Creature habits such as:

Cue: my dog greets me when I walk in the house.

Routine: she jumps up until I pick her up, rub her back and nuzzle her a bit.

Reward: we both enjoy the fellowship.

Happens every time. Doesn’t contribute much to the society. Makes me feel good.

Some can be harmful.

Cue: finish a meal

Routine: fire up a cigarette.

Reward: satisfying feeling that nicotine provides

But, then there are others, that drive good results.

Cue: alarm goes off

Routine: get up, get dressed, go for a walk

Reward: better health. Blood moving early creating more awareness

Here’s a secret about habits. The “cue” is powerful. If you have a habit that you want to change, you start by recognizing the organization of the habit. It has a cue.

Identifying a cue helps you become mindful of managing your habit.

Likewise, if you want to create a new habit, identifying a cue that will push you to your new routine will help set the habit.

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to read the Bible, the whole thing, in a year.

I choose a cue (not because I knew to do so, I got lucky). I love reading the newspaper in the morning. It’s a lifelong habit. When I wanted to change my reading habit, I used the cue of reading the newspaper to reinforce the new habit.

I made a pledge to myself that I wouldn’t read the paper until I had completed the Bible reading.

So, I got up in the morning, got my coffee and replaced the routine of reading the newspaper with a different routine of reading the Bible.

Cue: read the paper

Routine: read the Bible first.

Reward: mind lifted with better stuff (scripture is better than sports) etc etc.

Eventually this became my new habit. I did it for three years before I changed it.

So, you want to create better habits?  Become a student of your cues.

Recognize them. Create them. Study what routines they evoke. Match them up with a better routine.

You’ll see a difference.

Learn From Your Habits

You are the sum of your habits.

You have good habits that contribute to wealth, health, security and satisfaction. You have bad habits that rob you of the same.

Based on a book about how habits are formed, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, I’ve been thinking about habits a great deal lately.

Duhigg says the brain is a habit forming system. If you think about it, rather than start from scratch every time we want to do or to think about something, our brain turns onto automatic pilot in certain situations. We react predictably in our environments rather than uniquely. Those are habits.

I’m going to share some things about habits over the next few days. So, I would like you to consider this:

If we are the sum of our habits, what would be the list of habits that describe who you are?

Make that list. In one column, list the positive habits. In one column list the negative ones. The intent of this effort is to raise your awareness of habits big and small. As you become aware of your habits, you are in a better spot to change them if you want.

Make a list. Listen to how it speaks to you.

Encouraging Words Can Transform

Author Jon Gordon says ” Believe in others more than they believe in themselves and you will be more than a coach/teacher/leader. You will be a transformer of lives.”

My experience is we often neglect describing what we think of others.

We forget to say how much we care.

We forget to acknowledge the talent we see.

We don’t recognize the effort put forth.

We don’t describe the potential we see.

Not often enough.

Gordon’s quote reminds me of the power of the encouraging word. It reminds me of the power of an attitude of gratitude expressed toward others. It reminds me of the awesome opportunity I have everyday to transform the lives of others.

Clear Expectations Make For Termination With Integrity

As a Florida Gator football fan, I’ve watched with interest the process of terminating the coach on Sunday.

Here’s what I noticed.

There was a high regard exhibited between the boss and the fired coach.

From all appearances, there was genuine concern for each other. The decision to terminate wasn’t reached in the back room or behind the veil.

The integrity of the relationship was maintained.

Expectations were clear. At Florida, coaches are paid well and have great resources. Championships are expected and rewarded. Not achieving them results in change.

Accountability abounded. Because the expectations were clear, the outcome was defined. The coach said so. He admitted he had enough time and resources. He admitted the agreed upon expectations weren’t met. He resigned. The boss accepted the resignation.

That’s how relationships ought to work:

  1.  Build relationship through candid, caring communication. Nothing but the truth. Integrity always.
  2.  Clear expectations abound. No confusion about what can be achieved. No confusion about deadlines.
  3.  Accountability governs. Everybody owns up.

Terminations are sad but,  often necessary occurrences to serve the best interests of the team. Watching this process reminds me of how pros do it.

Inspiration From A President

In an opening page of “41”, a book written by former President George W.

Bush “43” about former President George H.W. Bush, the son offered this description of his father:

“The scene captured the character of George Bush. He was daring and courageous, always seeking new adventures and new challenges. He was humble and quick to share credit. He deflected attention from himself and refused to brag about his accomplishments. He trusted others and inspired their loyalty. And above all, he found joy.”

The scene was the immediate gathering following “41”‘s parachute jump on his 90th birthday. He did a dual jump with an experienced paratrooper. Pretty cool for 90.

Trust that inspires loyalty.

Selfless and humble.

Courageous and adventuresome.

Full of joy.

As I read it, it inspired me. Made me want to be a better husband, father, leader, CEO.

Commit To Your Role

“You can become a star by buying into a role. “ – Doc Rivers, pro basketball coach.

Are you fully committed to your role?

Some folks let their desire to have another role keep them from doing their assigned role well.

Some folks focus on the little hassles that accompany their assignment and let those hassles detract from the satisfaction of completing a job well done.

Some folks diminish the significance of their role as compared to others they see. By failing to acknowledge the contribution the role makes, concentration on effort and focus on execution wanes.

Coach Rivers says that bringing your complete focus and effort toward fulfilling your role has a way of making a difference. By being faithful to every assignment, you earn the trust of your teammates and leaders alike. As trust builds, so does the nature of your assignments and responsibilities.

You make your team better when you perform your role well. Your confidence grows when you perform your role well. Your influence expands when you perform your job well. Your sense of satisfaction and your legacy of effectiveness grows as you perform your role well.

Are you committed to your role? Doesn’t it make sense to activate that commitment?

Are You Ready For Heroism?

John F Kennedy, former President of the United States, was asked how he became a war hero. “That’s easy,” he said. “They sank my boat.”

In World War II in the Pacific, Kennedy’s patrol boat PT 109 was sunk. It was run over by a Japanese destroyer. Two of his crew were killed. The balance drifted and swam to a small island. They dodged observation from the Japanese for days and got by on water and coconuts until they were saved.

But, Kennedy’s explanation reminds us that you can be called to heroism at any time. His opportunity for heroism came because his boat got in the way of a destroyer on a dark night. And, then he did what he had to do to help his team survive.

No doubt, the experience became a defining moment. I suspect after leading his team to survival, the future problems he encountered, though very large, didn’t seem as daunting.

Kennedy would have preferred that his boat had been spared the sinking. But, his humble response to how he became a hero reminds us that our opportunities for heroism might be right around the corner. When they come, may you have the “stuff” to respond with courage, resilience and persistence.

The Golden Rule: Why It Works

In my Bible reading this morning: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

It’s famously known as the Golden Rule. I bet if I asked you to recite it, you could.

As I read and meditated on that familiar passage, it occurred to me that the Golden Rule is like so many truths. We know them, but we don’t necessarily do them.

The Golden Rule works. It calls us to humility, because it teaches that our own ideas and thoughts aren’t superior to others.

It calls us to generosity, because it says we should share resources rather than horde them.

It causes us to service, because in order to treat our neighbors as ourselves, we have to take time to walk in their shoes. We have to try to see it their way. We have to try to feel as they feel.

Once we are filled with that knowledge, we are compelled to help in a different way.

We all navigate life inside our heads and behind our eyeballs. We are driven by our appetites.

The Golden Rule calls us to add the perspective of our neighbors, colleagues and friends to our own. To do it on purpose.

It broadens our thoughts. Causes better decisions. Improves the world where we travel.

The Importance of ‘Walking Straight’

My music genre of choice is Country. Lyrics are frequently “laugh out loud funny”, but sometimes poignant.

I heard performer and writer Billy Currington sing a song yesterday. The refrain went like this:

“Walk a little straighter Daddy

You’re swaying side to side.

Your footsteps make me dizzy and no matter how much I try, I keep tripping and stumbling.

If you’d just look down here you’d see.

Walk a little straighter Daddy

You’re leading me.”

We have many daddies at PalletOne. Some raise their families at home.

Circumstances have caused others to raise them part-time.

Currington’s lyrics remind us how important the role of “Daddy” is. Little ones pay attention. They watch and copy. And, if the path we lead them upon is crooked and swaying, we shouldn’t be surprised if they have a tough time succeeding in life.

Many of us didn’t have ideal leadership from the men in our life. We know the impact that created.

So, how are you leading? It’s not something you do later. It’s something you do now.

If your path isn’t something that makes you proud, there is good news. You can begin today.

Opting out as a leader of your children isn’t an option. You will be an influence whatever your choice. I hope you aren’t swaying, but walking straight.


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