Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"Yes Sir!" Month

When in the military and addressed by a superior officer, the only real response to any "request" is simply- "Yes Sir!".

What great customer service! No argument. No compromise. No hesitation on whether you'll do it, but immediate action on how to do it. The officer is always right.

The customer is also always right. For the month of March. I will be sharing the thoughts I am giving to a group of employees to help them discover what customer service is about and how to achieve it.

Sounds good?

I said, SOUNDS GOOD??!


That's better.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Ezekiel 33:11

Say unto them, As I live, saith the LORD GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from you evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Isreal?

Monday, February 20, 2006

President's Day

This morning in my Toastmasters Meeting, others were asked to comment on their most or least favorite President. I was not given the opportunity, so I will take it now.

The first problem of choosing a President is that , if he is recent, his political party affiliation is the litmus test whether anybody will agree with you. All the lefties will sigh on the Republican Presidents and all the righties will groan on the Democrat Presidents. You can tell everybody's political tendencies by the look on their face when you say the man's name.

I am going to utter the great taboo to some and the last great hero to others. My favorite President is Ronald Reagan. But I think it'll be for a reason, it'll be hard to disagree with.

In the 70's, the future looked bleak. All the great standards had been rewritten in the sixties and early 70's. Some for the better, some for the worse. It was different. There were many 50's shows on TV and in the movies- a longing for another time. It was no longer safe to go into the water, fly an airplane, and any building was set to burst onto flames- or so the movies told us.

As a kid hitting the early teens, I remember feeling a sense of hopelessness for the future. I didn't quite get what happened in Vietnam, but apparently it didn't turn out so good. My parents talked of never owning a home again. There were long gas lines and very little gas. There were missiles pointed at us from Russia ( Sorry, I mean the Soviet Union). Clothes were hideous, foreign cars were taking over, and there was a huge increase in talk of Armageddon in religious circles.

Then along came Ronald Reagan. He talked of a bright future, he went toe-to-toe to the Soviet Union- pretty much calling their bluff and breaking their bank. He showed to them and the world that we were the "Jones" with whom they needed to keep up, not the has-beens we were feeling like. Whether you think it worked or didn't work- his Reaganomics restored confidence to the people who surrounded my family. He said the answer was found in the common man, the individual- just give him a chance. Maybe the future wasn't so bad.

Ronald Reagan may not have cleared the world of evil, maybe he didn't solve all the economic problems, maybe he was more words than matter. You can decide. But for me, Ronald Reagan gave me hope at a time many had lost theirs. And really, what more can a President really give to an individual?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Luke 5:8

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Mission Accomplished!

This year, the Snowboard Cross event has been added to the Winter Olympics. I actually had never heard of it, but I watched all the same.

I like the idea that it is a race. The favorite may not win because there are all these other variables. It is a head-to-head race, not just against the clock. You might get knocked down, bumped, crashed into, or any of the myriad of other things that might happen when people get to express their most desperate desire to win. In the men's competition, the favorite was an American named Seth Wescott.

Seth Wescott said before the race that he was excited about this event because he thought it would be a great way to introduce the next generation of snow boarders to the sport and help it's viability. He hope to inspire tomorrow's champions. He also felt it was important to win the first Gold Medal in this event and he set out to accomplish his goals.

He did. After several great races, he won the gold medal by winning the last race. That accomplished half his goal. The other half was accomplished when my 6 year old looked up at me and said, "I want to snowboard and go to the Olympics."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Eighth Place Medal

I know it would cause as much controversy as the Gold medal itself, but sometimes I think it'd be nice to award a fourth medal to deserving Olympic athletes- the Platinum Medal.

This medal would not supplant the Gold as the first place, but go to the athlete that was the special one, the real world winner, not just the one who came in first.

Last night in the women's Downhill Ski, Lindsey Kildow finished in eighth place, but what an eighth place it was! Just a few days before, she was airlifted off the same mountain, training for the same race, and spent the night in the hospital. Yet there she was, 48 hours since her accident, competing.

The Olympic winners and losers are usually separated by only a few tenths or hundredths of a second. There is not a lot of room for errors. Kildow's sore body made to many of these errors and she, although favored before the accident, landed in eighth place.

For just getting up the courage and forcing herself down the same stretch of snow that sent her to the hospital, she deserves the Platinum medal.

How about Kelly Clark in the women's Halfpipe? She wasn't injured but clearly the best out there. She got no medal, because she went for icing on the cake, did one last hard element and sat down on her butt for two quick nanoseconds. I'd give her the Platinum as well.

And just to show I'm not a homer, I would also award the Platinum as a double bonus to the skating pair of Zhang and Zhang. For one reason Zhang and Zhang is fun to say and also because she, Zhang, fell early in the competition right on her knees and couldn't even stand up for a short period of time. Yet they continued on and won the Silver Medal. Wow! After the hit her (Zhang) knees took, I'd still not be walking!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Texture Makes Perfect

Working in the basement, trying to finish the kids' room, I realized something beyond why I keep my day job and do not try drywall professionally.

A painter once convinced me that smooth walls were the best way to finish any room. That in order to look good, texture needs to be avoided at all costs. Now he knew the procedure, had done it all his life, so it wasn't a big deal to him.

Two coats of mud over the tape, both sanded smooth; followed by at least two coats of topping, sanded down smooth. A lot of sanding and a lot of frustration as I never could get it smooth enough.

In the other camp were people who spoke of texture. "Rent a sprayer" they would say, "and just spray it on". Some would say spray it on and then flatten it out with a scraper.

After trying over and over trying to get it perfectly smooth, I tried my hand at texture. Not with a sprayer, but by hand. Mud, water, and a touch of sand. My wife and I spent a Sunday afternoon, texturing the walls and ceilings.

A couple of days afterwards, we painted those walls. They looked fantastic when we were done! I do not believe I could have been any happier with the results!

I do not doubt that smooth walls look more regal. And I do not doubt that there are some out there who can do a wonderful job at smooth wall finishing. I don't even doubt that I could achieve perfection with enough tries and practice. But I did notice that although my goal was perfection, it was when I embraced the imperfection, what texture is, that the beauty came shining through.

Why then, I must ask, do I beat myself up so much over my imperfections?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Psalm 147: 10, 11

He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

SUCCESS: S*U*C*C*E*S*S: Spirituality

"There are new words now that excuse everybody. Give me the good old days of heroes and villains. The people you can bravo or hiss. There was a truth to them that all the slick credulity of today cannot touch." Bette Davis

There is good and bad. There is wrong and right. Everybody knows it, many choose not to admit it. Our society is in the process of blurring the separation in an effort to be so-called tolerant, but in one's personal life this cannot be.

Success cannot violate Right. Accomplishment cannot stand on the ruins of good. Success must be built upon righteous principles, good solid morals, and correct ethics.

Mistakes may be made along the way, but correction of those mistakes must be undertaken or the success will be tainted.

I heard someone once say, following being honest about a situation and afterwards suffering the consequences, "I guess that's what you get for being honest." No, that's the cost of being honest and it is different from the rest of the world. But then, did you want to be like the rest of the world?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Isaiah 2:2

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

SUCCESS: S*U*C*C*E*S- Segmenting

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble." Helen Keller

Treating the small things as if they are great things is another way of segmenting. Small accomplishments build up to great accomplishments. Success- even small ones, lead to more confidence and more successes.

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time."

Success doesn’t have to come only upon completion of a grand project or goal. It can come everyday. What did you accomplish yesterday? Today? If you accomplished anything towards your goals- you are successful. If you did not- tomorrow is a great place to try again.

"Students achieving Oneness will move on to Twoness." Woody Allen

Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday!!!!! or #%@*%$# Friday

At last, Friday is here! It's been a challenging week to say the least, but it just has one more day and then it's the weekend. I know that just means the nature of the work just changes- from office to house, but it still seems like a good deal. Fridays, however, are also a barometer. I find that Fridays tell you how you did during the week.

If you were diligent and got your work done, stayed on top of things, and maybe even ran ahead of the curve, Fridays are a blast. Somewhere around mid afternoon, you move into a "cruising" speed. This is usually spent talking abut the weekend, laughing, and just hanging around in case "something" happens. Everybody else is either gearing down work as well-preparing for the weekend or they are frantically busy trying to get everything done that had to get done that week.

If you were a slacker, you will find yourself in this "frantic busy" category. If you hate Fridays because they are the busiest days of the week, chances are you are a procrastinator. (Unless, of course, you are in charge of a bunch of procrastinators and it's their left over stuff that overwhelms you on Fridays). Which group are you in?

I wish everyone a happy Friday and I hope that you find yourself in the cruisin' state of being somewhere around 3ish. As for me, I need to run- I have a busy, busy day ahead of me!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Jump In! The Water's Fine.

I don't know if I'm just stupid or what, but I am prone to jump into things that I have no business jumping into. I guess it's a kind of "dumb" and it seems to more or less work for me.

If I get excited about something, anything, I'll throw all my resources into it. Time, thoughts, emotions, brain power, etc. It doesn't seem to matter whether I know anything about it or not. I'll read, make it up, or maybe even ask others about it, all during the process of trying. Knowledge is not a prerequisite if I'm excited about doing it.

The bottom line, one trait I have going for me is my willingness to try new things, the lack of fear to try, and the absolute absence of the thought of failing.