Lessons Learned – #6

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.


I’m Just Saying

Recently I decided to disengage from some of the community involvement in my life. I’m not re-upping for a board position when my three-year term is up in May, and in the past week I turned down two new requests to join committees. The reason is simple, if self-centered: our two kids remaining at home are teenagers who participate in sports, and I don’t want to miss any more of their games.

Interestingly, saying ‘No’ is one of the hardest things for many people – and occasionally a challenge for me. That’s why my business partner (who’s also my wife) will sit me down every so often and say, “So tell me again why you agreed to do that.” The reasons for this inability to decline, at least in my case, are based on: 1) wanting to please; and 2) not wanting to miss out on something that could ultimately lead to more revenue.

Over the weekend I facilitated the recurring quarterly meeting of one the focus groups I lead. As the seven business owners presented their financial statements and “Rocks” (read: 2011 goals), half of them spoke of things they need to stop doing. They, too, struggle with knowing when enough is enough – or recognizing when less becomes more.

My recent decisions were made easier by the response I received from one of the folks who asked me to be on his committee: “David, your desire to be with your family at this critical time during their youth is respected and understood. We will indeed miss your wisdom and intuition about institutional dynamics. Please know that even though you may not be formally involved, your input is ALWAYS welcome.”

There will be more opportunities to serve down the road. Keep that in mind the next time someone asks, and your instincts are shouting, “I need to pass on this one.” Go with your gut. You’ll come out ahead in the long run.


Lessons Learned – #5

Each month I write an e-newsletter that focuses on observations in business and life that could be beneficial for readers. The December issue is always a reflection on the lessons I learned during the year. Here is the 5th most important insight I discovered in 2010:

Stand On It – One of my intentions this year was to confidently treach out to anyone who could possibly enhance our success – to play big. This focus attracted conversations with many executives… and each was gracious to provide guidance and referrals. On the personal side, I submitted an application to ‘Be the Boss’ on Sirius/XM’s E Street Radio. They said yes, and I had the opportunity to play my favorite Bruce Springsteen tracks and share stories on the air. Never be shy to raise your hand; it’s the best way to start working on a dream.


Lessons Learned – #7

What’s the seventh most important lesson I learned during 2010?

Passages – This year I lost two uncles, an aunt and two cousins. As my friend said, “It’s the stage we are at in life.” I hadn’t spent much time with them in decades, so I decided the best way to pay tribute would be to compile our family tree on ancestry.com – a terrific free website where you can upload stories and pictures of relatives. While it took many hours to add 428 members dating to the 17th century, the historical record should help our next generation connect with their roots.


Rhythm Dance

Back in the day I created quite a few sports videos set to popular music for the various television entities where I worked as a producer. Two of my favorites were Kenny Loggins’ “Run for the Roses” (before the Cowboys played in the NFC Championship game the year the Super Bowl was to be at the Rose Bowl) and The Oak Ridge Boys’ “Thank God for Kids” (which, amazingly, will have its 29th airing this holiday season).

The key to setting sports to music is to combine the right beat with the perfect words and the best highlights. For some reason that came naturally to me during my television days. I’d hear a song every so often and would immediately envision how to use it. The amazing thing is most people – my musically inclined children included – would say I am not blessed with the gift of rhythm… at least when it comes to dancing or keeping a beat.

Yet in my daily life – both personally and professionally – I find rhythm to be one of my greatest strengths. Whether it’s sitting down to write my monthly e-newsletter, working in the yard, or participating in my latest hobby, I easily fall into the rhythm of the moment.

The words for my e-newsletter flow through my hands, as if magically, each issue. I simply sit at the keyboard and type. Mowing, gardening and the things that go with them allow me a few hours of escape, during which all kinds of inspirational ideas flow through my mind. During my hours each week in the pool, the silence sweeps me away to an almost meditative state. As the water flows around me, I find the rhythmic strokes much more relaxing than all the years running was my passion.

So, if you’re looking for peace, tranquility or inspiration, think about the rhythm in your life. Are you in sync? If not, look at where the interference is happening… and seek out that quite place inside you where alignment rests. You’ll find yourself more relaxed, more productive and, best of all, you’ll really like the feeling of harmony – and that could be the inspiration for a wonderful video of your life.