“Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.” - Billy Graham
I knew he’d be inspirational. I just didn’t know how his message would burn in the hearts of the attendees after he left the room, and how it continues to do so weeks later. I guess I wasn’t the first one to underestimate John O’Leary.
As a nine year old kid in St. Louis in the late 80’s John was involved in a horrific accident when a five gallon can of gasoline blew up in his hands. John was blasted twenty feet across his garage and burned on 100% of his body. He was given less than a one percent chance to survive. Continue reading “What More Can I Do?” »
How fine is the line between optimism and delusion? Do you respond when reality taps you on the shoulder, or do you wait until it hits you over the head? Those questions played out personally as I tried to apply the works of leadership consultant and author Dr. Henry Cloud. My thought process was impacted by, of all things, a press release by quarterback Philip Rivers, and some lyrics penned by Greg Allman. Go figure. Continue reading “Geezers, Fools… and Ignoring Greg Allman” »
According to behavioral scientists, when you are under stress, you default to your natural behavior. You operate on instinct. Thank God for that, in the wake of the bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon last month.
Most of us have witnessed video of the explosions near the finish line, the initial confusion of the crowds, and then the panicked flight of people from the site. But there were some images that seemed incongruous. Uniformed police officers disregarded danger to evacuate people and ensure access to the area by emergency personnel. Medical professionals immediately rushed into the area to provide aid. I saw a video of men from the Massachusetts National Guard, who had covered the entire 26 miles in uniform, and with full packs, removing barriers and escorting people to safety. Marathon officials in bright yellow windbreakers stayed in the street to escort confused runners and dazed bystanders to safety. Continue reading “Your Neighbors, the Boston Heroes” »
Occasionally you run into someone who helps draw out of you a better version of yourself. You cherish your interactions with them, and sometimes take for granted your next opportunity to be uplifted by them. It makes their passing all the more painful, and the profound impact of their life all the more poignant. Continue reading “Now It’s Our Turn” »
When a great story presses on your heart, it can change you. From then on, the world around you never looks the same.
Last month I attended the February meeting of Lifework Leadership of South Florida. The theme for the morning’s meeting was Compassion. We began our day by boarding a bus to tour some local Fort Lauderdale facilities that provide resources to the homeless. Our tour guide, Robin Martin, the Executive Director of Hope South Florida, shared information and anecdotes, to help us understand the magnitude of the need in the community. He also humanized the situation: sometimes financial, sometimes medical, often tragic, and destined to continue, unless we as business leaders DO something. Continue reading “Worthy of a Hug” »
As we watched the events unfold around Manti T’eo and the love of his life / figment of his imagination, Lenay Kekua, many of us drew the same conclusion: either he is one devious son-of-a-gun, or he’s one of the most gullible people on the planet. It was OK for me to believe that and say it – but the first time I heard it expressed by someone else, I had one of those uncomfortable flashbacks. Continue reading “My Mini Manti Moment” »
When your child…, strike that… when your daughter … goes off to college, you hold your breath. You hope that she connects with friends and gains a sense of community – in a hurry. You wish for peace of mind (both hers and yours) about an environment that is safe and nurturing. And you pray for friends who will be a positive influence on her.
And then someone like Peggy Gasior walks in the door and you realize that you’ve hit the trifecta. Hope realized. Wish granted. Prayer answered. Continue reading “Teaching us How to Listen, Lead… and Live” »
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ― Shannon L. Alder
The pursuit of excellence. Wouldn’t we all like to say that it is our daily focus? Ah, but life always seems to get in the way. Deadlines. Conflicts. Guilty pleasures like reality TV or Krispy Kreme doughnuts. It’s easy to get lost online for hours between tweets and posts, pings and pokes. Before long, we’re making excuses or compromising. It just happens. Continue reading “A Legacy of Effort and Excellence” »
“Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” — Thomas J. Watson
Second Lieutenant Juan Pinzon
I recently heard a speaker urging a group of CEOs to identify leaders at all levels of their companies. “Look for people who have already assumed the responsibility to lead. Promoting them is merely a validation of the job they’re already doing.” Continue reading “You Want Him on That Wall” »
We all know the nursery rhyme, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But we’ve all been hurt by things that are said to us. The little bruises and scars teach us lessons and help shape our perspective. But some bruises run very deep, and remain sensitive decades later. And sometimes your bruise reminds me of my own. Continue reading “Sticks and Stones” »