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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Make Your Bed

I love my wife very much! She’s beautiful inside and out and she makes me happy in so many ways, but one thing I’ve noticed over the years is that although we are a lot alike in some ways, we are very different in others.

For example, she likes to do laundry every single day. If it were up to me it would probably be once a month. Sometimes I can’t even get both legs out of my pants before she is trying to throw them in the washing machine. And when it comes to the sheets on our bed, she washes them at least every other day, which seems to me like a lot of work…but I don’t argue I just follow directions. Besides, it makes her happy and that’s a big part of my job as her husband!

So she washes the sheets and I help her by making the bed. And when I do I make it right and pull it tight. I’m guess I’m kind of a perfectionist that way. I’m not really sure why I have always tried to make it so perfect, but I’ve always done it that way. Then I read something written by a Navy Seal last week and it explains why making your bed is so important. Who knew?

“Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Viet Nam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would do was inspect was our beds.

If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack—rack—that’s Navy talk for bed.

It was a simple task - mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection.  It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs - but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day.  It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. Let’s face it - If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed!”

So this morning I made the bed and my wife did the laundry and I thought…If you truly find the right person to share your life and labor with… you've got a much better chance of changing the world!

Without labor nothing prospers.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Eyes On Us

It’s normal to get nervous when you have to speak in front of crowd or perform for an audience. But how often is someone watching us and we’re not even aware of it?

Last week our company participated in a food drive to support a local charity near our office called “South County Outreach”.  It started with my wife asking our employees to form into teams and announcing that we had two weeks to collect as much food as possible, either by purchasing it with our own money, or getting friends or family to donate food. She made it fun by making it into a competition and telling everyone there would be a prize for the team that brought in the most food. Twelve of our employees paired up into six teams and my wife I joined together to form the seventh team. We not only had fun obtaining and delivering hundreds of pounds of food, we were also humbled by the awesome generosity of so many of our employees.

One of our employees, Kai, does a lot of charity work in his spare time anyway so this was a project that was right up his alley. From the day the food drive started Kai was passionate about the cause and his enthusiasm soon became contagious. His bright smile, positive attitude and infectious and passionate desire to help those in need kept everyone focused on the goal at hand. When the food drive was completed, we had collected nearly 500 hundred pounds of food, which we loaded onto a company truck for delivery. Everyone involved got to follow the delivery truck to the Outreach and help with the unloading and sorting at the food pantry area. When we returned to the office, everyone also made it clear that it was Kai who made the food drive a success with his passion and humble devotion to the project.
Here’s the funny thing. Kai is not an outspoken person, nor is he in a leadership role in our company. Yet, Kai has a gift, the gift of selflessness, and when given a chance to use that gift…he became passionate about it. It’s like a light when on inside him and that light led the way for others to follow. I doubt Kai realized how many people were watching him and how much they were affected by his actions in a positive way.

And that got me thinking…. If we realize that our behavior can be contagious and remember that we are always on display, that there are always eyes on us, it might help us to maintain a better attitude, especially since human eyes are not the only that are always on us.

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
                                     ~William James                              

Monday, August 11, 2014

One of Those Days

Have you ever had one of those days, you know, where everything that can go wrong does goes wrong? I had one last week and I hate to admit it…but I don't think I handled it very well.

Things started going wrong the minute I woke up. I got up extra early to knock out some important proposals on my computer, but the internet was down. So I text messaged my assistant at my office for his help, but he misplaced his phone that morning. So when I got to work, I was way behind schedule....and I was really late getting to work anyway because of a major accident on the freeway.

When I finally got to the office, the first email I opened was bad news. One of our largest customers had been anxiously awaiting the arrival of new LED light fixtures for a large project at a local University. The fixtures came in that morning but apparently the manufacturer accidentally built them with the wrong voltage drivers, so all 20 of the large expensive fixtures would have to be returned.

By mid-morning I was really getting frustrated and admittedly out of sorts. When my sales team failed to send me some important documents I needed for a lunch meeting, I had to scramble and print everything out at the last minute, making me late for the lunch meeting. Of course, the food I ordered at the restaurant came out wrong but at least the meeting went well. However, the day didn't get any better. When I drove to my next two appointments both customers were tied up and not available, so I wasted valuable time and gas and felt myself falling farther and farther behind. Usually I keep my cool but on this day, I let everything get to me and back at my office I wasn't my usual nice self...In fact I was pretty much the opposite.

Late that afternoon, around 4:30pm I was standing in the middle of the office complaining to several employees. I'm sure I was making something out of nothing, when I noticed a fly buzzing around my head. As I spoke the fly flew into my mouth and I accidentally swallowed it! I tried to act cool, like nothing happened and hoped nobody saw it, and excused myself to go get a drink of water. At the water cooler I was so grossed out and frustrated I just started laughing and when my Warehouse Supervisor asked me what was so funny, I was laughing so hard I couldn't even tell him. I did however go back inside the office and in front of everyone I asked the poignant question, "Did you see me swallow that fly?" They all started laughing and I laughed right along with them, at which point I said, "I think I deserved that!"

The next time I find myself having “one of those days” I am going to try to remember that if I keep a positive attitude going… my day will fly by….instead of flying down my throat!

Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns,
be happy that the thorn bush has roses.
~ Ancient Proverb

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Path Taken

This coming October I get to play baseball on a team that is competing in the MSBL World Series in Phoenix. Since it’s the first time I have ever had the honor of making it onto a World Series team, I know I’m going to need to be in top physical condition. It also made me realize that the reason I never got picked when I was younger because I wasn’t good enough. I am still not good enough, but apparently I have somehow “aged to my ability” so to speak. Anyway, I am excited about it, so besides regular baseball workouts and weight-lifting routines; I made a commitment to start running 4-5 days a week.

I started early this morning jogging three miles on the sand at the beach in front of our little beach house. I hate to admit it…I don’t like running…but being able to run along the beach makes it a little nicer. However, I noticed that running in the deep soft sand is really hard so I try to stay near the water line. But if you get too close to the water your feet start to sink into the wet sand and running becomes harder again. So you have to find the perfect position for your feet along the sand.

On the return leg of my trip I could see the messy footprints where I had slipped in the soft sand and as I looked for the deep footprints where I was too close to the water, they were washed away. In between were the shallow footprints where I had found the perfect place to run and it got me thinking about the different paths I have taken in my life and the people I have met along the way.

As I was finishing my run I thought about how every day I come into contact with dozens of people that share this world. I may see them walking along the beach, or pass by them casually on the sidewalk, or be served by them at a restaurant, or work with them at a business or even share my life and home with them. But one thing is for sure, every single day I get to choose the path I take and I get to choose how I treat the people I meet along that path…so I am beginning to realize I have three choices.

  • If I treat people poorly it’s like the deep sand, which leaves an ugly imprint that takes a long time to smooth out.
  • If I ignore people and fail to care about them it’s like the watery sand, where they are washed away out of my life never to be seen again.
  • But if I take the time to treat people right with patience, humility and kindness…it leaves a lasting imprint!
I remember reading in the Bible that Jesus is like a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path. So it seems to me that if He is going to brighten my path, I’d better be willing to do the same for others!

We can’t brighten the world by blowing out everyone else’s candles.
~ Pastor Rick Warren