Lesson #3 of my top 10 insights this year:
Good Book – On January 1, I committed to read 20 minutes each morning, and my first selection was a mystery filled with deception, war, betrayal and lust. Over the next 242 days, I missed just four, and finished the book on August 31. Reading 1,598 pages plus every footnote – along with the accompanying 579-page commentary – of the Bible is something I always wanted to do. What’s on your ‘need to read’ list for 2012?
My fourth most valuable lesson in 2011:
Better Ending – A friend’s daughter graduated in May after playing four years of collegiate softball. Each season she suffered a major injury yet kept battling back. Credit Suisse hired her when the person conducting the interview happened to have been a softball player whose career was injury-shortened. There’s usually a silver lining in all setbacks, if you’re willing to look for it.
What’s the fifth most important lesson I learned this year?
Father Time – For a service project leading up to his confirmation, my son decided we would spend a day working with Habitat for Humanity. A June day. In Houston. During the hottest summer on record. Our eight-person team painted the entire outside of a house in six hours. These were our only instructions: “be safe; ask for help if you don’t know; treat it like your own home; have fun.” Simple is often best. By the way, the grateful homeowner contributed 250 hours of labor in exchange for an interest-free note on her new 1,200 square foot residence.
For the past eight years I’ve written a monthly e-newsletter about my business and life observations. The December issue is always a reflection on the things I learned. Here is a most delightful sixth lesson of 2011:
Gimme S’more – Pepperidge Farm knows what it’s doing when it comes to product extension – adding Pizza, Whole Grain, Pretzel and other flavors to its popular Cheddar Goldfish Crackers. Heck, those cute little guys even have their own website with fun and games for kids. Recently, Kathy brought home Goldfish S’mores Adventures. Delicious… and highly recommended.
The final lesson I learn each year isn’t business wisdom. It’s about recognizing a higher calling. Usually I introduce a charity that’s doing good things. For 2010 I took a different approach:
Gift of Giving – If you’re looking to spread some Christmas cheer or need a last-minute tax deduction, find a worthy cause that’s helping those in your local community. Something tells me they could use your kindness right now.