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.


Called To Serve

It’s Election Day in America… which is the most wonderful opportunity for citizens to have an impact on our nation. With so much frustration and turmoil happening all around, many feel their voices are unheard, that no one is listening. One thing is certain: the greatest gift – and responsibility – of living in a free society is to exercise your right to vote. If you need any reassurance or perspective on how important that is, just think about all the Iraqis who had their index fingers inked last year.

This election arrives particularly close to home for our family. Last summer my wife made the decision to run for a position on our local school board. After 12 years of helping our children navigate through public schools here, she felt the calling to participate in the leadership process. Ours is an open election in which you blindly declare for a specific seat, regardless of where you live in the district. As it turned out, she has no challengers – while another open position has three people vying for votes.

It was one of the special moments of my life when last week during early voting I cast my ballot for Kathy Handler, TISD Board of Trustees, Place 1. I would have voted for her even if we weren’t married. She’s a great listener, logical… a consensus-builder who seeks to find solutions rather than point out problems. She’ll do great.

Whether you’re running for political office or a regular citizen like me – with one vote and one voice – everyone is equal today. This is your opportunity to speak loudly… even if you’re the only one who hears how you feel.


The Year in Review

Counting down the Top 10 Things I learned this year:


First Things First – During a coaching session one of my clients was describing the challenges he faces in his start-up company. Like many, he struggles balancing all the stuff on his plate. My response: “That’s why I’m eliminating things getting in the way of my success.” There will always be more to do, and most of us focus on what we enjoy, not necessarily what we need to be doing. I recently gave up my position as a columnist for an industry magazine, mutually agreed to end a long-term coaching relationship and decided not to renew a consulting contract. What will you let go of in 2010 to free up extra hours in your schedule?