April 2, 2014 – A very important lesson

One of my sons (Tim) and grandsons (Pierce) were helping me with yardwork over the weekend. This pic was taken just to capture a moment in time as a dad and his boy were walking and talking. The subject? How to skip a rock over water.Tim and Pierce - 3-30-14

Now I ask you…is there a more important lesson for a 7-year old than learning the grand technique of rock-skipping???

Spend some time with your kids.  Teach them what’s really important in life. Like how to bait a hook or braid hair or bake cookies or shoot a free throw….or skip a rock.

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January 31, 2014 – Saying No – Technique #1 (continued)

What was the decision I lead you on with yesterday???

I made the decision to only accept offers from organizations in which I wanted to serve…causes about which I was passionate…people with whom I already had or desired strong relationships. And, honestly, at that point there were only TWO organizations that appealed to me. Ultimately, I became chairman of the board of one. 30 years later I’m still waiting on the offer from the other.

But meanwhile, I politely and respectfully declined many other invitations to serve. And by doing so, I DID serve, don’t you see? Because if had I accepted, I most likely wouldn’t have put my whole heart into the effort. And I just can’t survive being half-hearted.

Are there boards, committees, clubs, organizations that you need to consider stepping away from? Is there one less class you can teach? One less hour a week of volunteerism? One less sub-committee to serve on? My guess is the answer is yes. Maybe it’s time for you to say no to something…

By now, I hope you realize that I’m addressing opportunities that are outside your workplace. For the next few days, I’ll share some ideas on how to say no without directly saying “no” where you work. Stay tuned.

January 30, 2014 – Saying NO – Technique #1

I was in my mid-thirties the first time I found myself to be really overextended. I was on a bank board, the board of elders at church, health association boards, past-president of my Rotary club….blah blah blah. Oh, and I was CEO of a small national corporation working on a turn-around. Did I mention that I had a wife and three children that needed and deserved my attention, too?

Guess what I was doing an excellent job at? (pardon the dangling participle). Nothing! I was stretched so far and wide that every relationship was getting only a fraction of what I should have been giving them.

Well, I didn’t believe that I could just abandon my posts all at once, but as terms expired I didn’t re-up. And as other opportunities came along during this season of my life, I simply turned them all down…all of them. And I focused on my family; then my job; then the bank board; then…nothing else!

When I got to a point I could “breathe” a little and accept some very kind offers to serve in a leadership position, I had already made a major decision. And that decision represents technique #1 of saying “no” that I want to pass along to you.

I will do just that next time.