Thought for the Week: Communication and You
As a teacher and a coach I like to think I'm in the "shun" business,
communication, motivation, inspiration, etc.
As a self-proclaimed aspiring writer,
my goals are self-exploration as well as the "shun" words above.
With these ambitions in mind,
I'm in pursuit of potentially provocative concepts that are meaningful to me
and possibly purposeful to share.
I gather my inspiration and ideas from many different sources.
More times than not, my musings are not actually derived from what the sources have to offer,
but for the personal reflections and interpretations that are generated by those offerings.
Cause and effect; action and my innate reaction.
One such occurrence happened the other day.
The communication (aka the source) directed to me, was a mere 30 seconds in length.
It contained the word "you" 10 plus times.
Having just begun to age gracefully into my middle-years,
I've learned that when I use the word "you,"
especially in a statement,
it is oftentimes construed as thrusting a pointed finger.
From consequential dialogue with my better-half, my sons and my swimmers,
I’ve come to the conclusion that not too many of us
like to have fingers pointed at us.
Personally I'm OK with the "could you, will you and thank you!"
use of the word "you",
but like most humans, I don't like being commanded on what to do.
Most of us are aware, “it’s not what you say; but how you say it”.
Still, it’s grander than that, it’s recognizing why we are saying it.
It’s accepting and taking ownership in what comes out of our mouths.
Communication should be about the listener and what they might find meaningful.
Is there a message here for you about the way you communicate?
I know there is for me.
Take Care and own your “why”,
Thought for the Week: Stretch
Having been involved in some form of athletics for fifty plus years
as either an athlete or as a coach,
I have always found that success is normally preceded by preparation.
And in most of the physical activities I have taken a part in -
swimming, water polo, baseball, football, basketball, ultimate frisbee,
running, Insanity (some of you must remember) and yes, YOGA -
stretching before taking part was and is essential.
Whether you want to successfully compete in athletics
Or in life,
You got to s t r e t c h.
When you dream BIG,
You stretch your mind.
When you try the UN-TRIED,
You stretch your horizons.
And once they’re stretched,
They never return to their original size.
Stretch just a little every day
And watch yourself grow!
Have you stretched today?
Take Care and it’s Time to Grow,
Thought for the Week: You Make a Difference
Did you ever get to thinking?
“What’s the point?”
“Why do I bother?”
“No one really appreciates the effort.”
It usually happens when you’re busting your tail
day in and day out.
And you know you’re doing exceptional things,
yet not a sole make mention of it.
Days may pass with no mention.
Suddenly, a note of thanks,
oftentimes from the last person you would expect.
Unless you’re a recluse and live in a cave,
you CAN make a difference in someone’s life today and every day.
It’s swell when they show gratitude.
And if they don’t,
revel in the knowledge that you’ve done it.
Have you made a difference today?
Take Care and Let’s be of “USE” today,
Thought for the Week: Eagles and Graduation
A Tribute to Seniors and Their Parents
Interesting fact about America's bird -
The fact pertains to how eagle mothers build their nests.
Eagles and nests... 'what's up?' you might ask.
With the graduation season upon us, please bear with me.
Those who have studied the eagle found that
the "expecting" mother eagle begins building her nest
with all kinds of prickly and sharp things:
and other sharp objects.
These pointed and prickly objects are laid down first.
Next, the mother eagle fills this foreboding place
with the softest things she can find.
Articles like wool,
and fur from her kills.
This changes the nest into a place that is not only desirable,
but also inviting.
Here the babies grow in a very comfortable environment.
At the proper time, the mother reverses the process.
She begins to stir up the nest exposing the sharp items with which the nest began.
She throws the wool, feathers and fur to the wind.
Thereby making the nest not so friendly a place to be.
After a short period of time, the babies,
now mature enough to leave,
cannot stand the discomfort of the nest any longer-
Simply wanting to be anywhere else.
This is the mother's way of forcing her babies to maturity.
She knows that if they do not get out on their own,
and learning to feed and care for themselves,
they will have no future.
With this thought I both empathize and respect the parents of seniors.
May your babies sore to their highest potential.
Take Care and Congrats Seniors!
This virus may have stolen the end of your senior year
but it cannot and will not steal your future.
Look for opportunities.
What you believe will determine what you create.
Thought for the Week: THANKS!
So effortless to forget.
So significant to remember.
Because of IT, many men and women
brought their families here from a foreign land.
Because of IT, many Great-Grandfathers
spent their lives protecting it.
Because of IT, I was born at Camp Lejeune,
a marine corps base in North Carolina.
And because of IT, grateful men, woman and children spend hours
visiting memorials in Washington DC and Pearl Harbor.
What is IT?
And IT is not free.
Each November the place of my employ recognizes and expresses gratitude
to those that so bravely served.
This past weekend as I bar-b-qued, watched "The Match" (w/Tiger, Phil TB12 and Peyton)
and live horse racing from Churchill Downs on TV;
An announcer brought up what I so easily forgot…
This was Memorial Weekend.
In memory of those that fought for our freedom.
After being jolted from “over-indulgence”,
I took the time to call my father and once again express my love and appreciation.
"Thank you" is only eight letters.
But to a vet,
it speaks volumes.
Have you said "thank you" to someone today?
Thought for the Week: Attitude
Not unlike an opinion or a certain body part, everyone’s got one.
Explanation: A manner of acting, feeling, or thinking that shows one’s disposition.
Some are good, some are poor.
Some are excellent, and some are horrible -
At least that’s our attitude about them.
It’s a complex thing to discuss.
Perceptions are made instantly upon hearing the tone of one’s voice.
Assumptions instantaneous, upon witnessing
body posture, gestures, eye movement and someone’s use of space.
These impressions, based on basic senses, impact how we perceive attitude.
But the fact remains that attitude is internal.
So, what’s the big deal?
Contemplate this, another definition of attitude:
The position or posture assumed by the body in connection with an action, feeling or mood.
This would imply that while we can’t truly see attitude,
we can appreciate how the body responds to the attitude within that person.
In other words, our attitude influences our demeanor and behavior,
Which in turn impacts our results.
Does this mean, “Good attitude, favorable results?”
But it certainly can increase the odds on desirable results.
Personally, if I can increase the odds,
I’m going for it!
Take Care and choose optimism, the cost is the same as the alternative.
Thought for the Week: Keep Your Gas Tank Full
It has been brought to my attention that folks often think because of the topics I write about, that I’m always Mr. Optimistic.
But the truth is a bit ironic; I naturally go towards the negative. I think I often write “thoughts” concerning positivity because I have to work at it a lot myself. With that being said…
Keep Your Gas Tank Full
There are a several things in this world I detest.
Truth be told maybe more than several,
but that’s perhaps a whole other “thought for the week”.
On the despise list:
Throwing up, Moving, Traffic, Apathy,
And Car Shopping!
Recently my wife convinced me go auto shopping with her.
(No worries, I’m not giving up the Vespa, the potential purchase was for her)
On Jan’s wish list, was a four-wheel machine with all the bells and whistles:
Automatic high beams,
Adaptive Cruise Control,
Lane Departure Warning,
Precise Internal Environmental Control System,
Power seats with lumbar support,
Front and Rear-end Cameras with Automatic Emergency Braking,
and a kitchen sink...
I started thinking, during what seemed like close to 10 hours,
but was just under 120 minutes,
despite all the new techno bells and whistles ‘if we EVER leave this lot, Janny’s still gotta’ fill her own fuel tank.’
No gas no movement.
So why did a mere 2 hours intrigue me to write a thought for the week about petrol?
Because with my attitude, I was draining my own tank.
Rather than being supportive, I was secretly wishing I was anywhere else.
Instead of investing in the process, I was moping.
Significance of this adventure...
Each time you think negatively,
or listen to the negativity of others,
you are draining your emotional tank -
and when the tank is empty,
you’re going nowhere.
You have the power to create the environment
that nurtures and supports your dreams.
Positive, focused thought and action keep the needle of your soul’s
gas tank on “Full”
When you keep your personal gas tank filled,
you can drive your life to the destination of your choice!
Is your gas tank full, or are you running on empty?
Take Care and as I continue to remind myself
choose optimism over the alternative; it costs the same!
Thought for the Week: Let The Sun Shine
Perhaps there’s someone in your life
who seems to constantly have those
“Extra-strength Tylenol” days.
Those are the days when nothing goes right;
the days when it seems Murphy lives next door;
(and I don’t mean the World Record holder of the men’s 100 Backstroke...)
The days when, if it weren’t for bad luck,
you’d have no luck at all.
Perhaps there are days
you’re that someone.
The greatest lesson learned
is that those kinds of days are a choice.
(The greatest power we have - the power of choice)
Even when I can’t see the sun,
there are a lot less cloudy days in my life trusting it’s there.
And that it will be more visible in a few short hours,
makes all the difference.
When the sun’s not shining outside,
choose to let it shine inside.
You will feel the difference!
Are you willing to let the sun shine in your world today?
Take Care and as Warren Haynes once wrote “Let Your Soul Shine”!
It’s Damn sure better than rain.
Thought for the Week: The Pandemic and a New Dawn
Those that know... KNOW.
I’m a planner.
I like order.
I appreciate regiment.
OK I’ll concede,
I’m fine with spontaneity -
if I know about it in advance.
Sure, this Pandemic has been a wicked curve ball,
but one positive for me has been the reaffirming of how important
personal goals, regime and process are.
It’s certainly comfortable when more times than not
everything DOES go according to plan.
But wouldn’t it be a smidge boring
if everything always went exactly as planned?
And wouldn’t you go mad
if you were anticipating everything
to go exactly as planned – all the time?
When we arise at the dawn of a new day,
or embark on a new year
or begin life as we know after Covid-19,
it’s astute to have a plan.
With each new dawn comes the opportunity
to move closer to your goal,
regardless of what does or does not happen.
And that my friends is the absolute beauty of it.
Are you prepared to adjust your plan?
Are you willing?
Take Care and Keep Smiling,
Thought for the Week: The Delete Button
I venture to guess most of us have one daily routine in common,
The process of opening, reading, deciphering and responding to electronic mail.
If you’re like me the process is not complete until
you delete the message from your inbox.
At this point it’s still within the system as a deleted item (or Trash).
And to get rid of it,
there is another step in the process...
Before the final dump, (i.e., taking the trash to the end of the driveway)
The once efficient and fast method of communication and message transferring,
now a way of harassing with spam, credit card, insurance and “other” offers
(wink, wink, nudge, nudge) asks:
“Do you want to permanently delete the selected conversation?”
Users of Microsoft Outlook will find this pop-up announcement familiar.
“Selected messages are in "Trash".
This action will permanently delete those messages.
Click OK to proceed.”
Upon seeing this notice, you’re either Mike Pence, an AARP member or Coach Curley.
Because you still have an AOL Account!
You’ve attempted twice now to purge it,
but the system wants to make absolutely sure!
So I venture to speculate the creators of Outlook and AOL
had to be America's pastime fans,
As that’s where “three strikes and you’re out” derived.
Is there something in your life that ought to be moved to the end of the driveway?
Mistakes you’ve made?
People you’ve inadvertently bruised?
Opportunities you’ve missed?
To continue to grow we must “keep clicking on the delete button” of our lives
until the garbage that’s holding us back is really gone – permanently.
Trash clogs up our operating system.
Clean it out, and things just seem to run smoother and faster!
Cleaned out your operating system lately?
Take Care and Crush IT this Week,
Highlander Quarantine Video
Wish You Were Here
Dear Highlander Swimmers-
You have no idea how much we miss working with you.
I have put together a 5 minute video trying to "artfully", passionately and sincerely convey how much we "WISH YOU WERE HERE!"
A QUICK APOLOGY
To the Highlander kids that do not know the song nor the band. The Band is Pink Floyd and the song, "Wish You Were Here". I couldn't fathom a song written within the last 5-10 years that would do justice to what I wanted portrayed, so I chose one from my wheel-house era.
I hope you enjoy and please continue to Stay Emotionally Connected we truly are Better Together.
Thought for the Week: What Will They Remember?
This quarantine has really got me doing some self-introspection.
So I ask…
What Will They Remember?
Have you ever stopped and thought about
in my small world, my swimmers,
And what was their very last impression of you?
How about your friends?
Your loved ones?
Well my Better Half (a term of affection for us) and I
Make it a point to make
“I Love You”
The last words we speak when we part.
That goes for 2 - 3 day separations due to my attendance at swim meets.
Each morning when we head to work,
(yes, even though we work at the same address)
And every evening when we decide to close our eyes for bed.
I believe we do it for a collection of reasons.
And others I’ve forgotten.
But most noteworthy,
in the event these words are the last three we declare to each other,
they will be the last words most remembered.
I implore you with all this recess
Go ahead Call
Say what you want her, him or them to remember.
We will all feel better for it.
What does your last acquaintance remember about you right now?
Take Care and Have a Great Week!
Thought for the Week: Find Your Own Fanatic
My research tells me that countless articles are written about how to motivate others.
Offerings like: Be the change you want to inspire.
Challenge and appeal to people’s value systems.
Empower people with trust.
Much less, however, is written about a question few people ask:
“Who motivates the motivator?”
True we all need a pat on the back,
We appreciate a round of applause,
And on occasion a bouquet of flowers for a job well done.
To be frank, I am beyond fortunate.
By virtue of staying in Iowa City the summer of 1986, I met a fanatic.
Three years later, I married my biggest fan and my soulmate.
Though the foam finger and pompoms are no longer around,
The undying support and cheering endures, for me, for us, for our family.
During the last 31 years my support system has taught me a
boundless amount about Commitment, Courage, Leadership and Love.
And believe me, We’re both still learning.
Have you found your fanatic?
Take Care and Make it an Outstanding Week,
Thought for the Week: Leadership
Leadership is not about being in charge.
Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge. (aka Captain Brett Crozier)
The exceptional ones get it.
I know it because I’ve witnessed it - first hand.
Not often, but enough to recognize it when it’s there.
Contrary to some belief,
I believe good coaches and leaders are made,
They hire the RIGHT people;
they train them;
They coach them.
And all that, leads to a great “sine qua non”.
Quality leaders and coaches do all that, too.
But there’s one thing that separates the good ones from the great ones.
The great ones care about their people.
And as a result…
The warriors care about their Chief.
The metaphoric soldiers show that they care
by delivering what they need to deliver
So everyone wins.
It’s a leadership lesson you must see to believe.
Do you care?
Do you care enough?
Take Care, and Have a non-Ordinary Weekend!
Thought for the Week: Not Fair
Jan and I are being raised by three boys:
Harrison (27), Mitchell (24) and Hayden (20).
All you parents out there, can I get AMEN!
(Pendant your understanding of where I’m coming from)
When our three terrific young men were a bit younger,
we occasionally had to deal with issues of fairness,
especially when one received something the others did not.
The Christmas Santa brought Harrison a Vespa Scooter,
The birthday Mitch was gifted the PlayStation 3,
And of course on any occasion the youngest received a present at all!
In response to the tools that siblings so masterfully use
to negotiate satisfactory outcomes - whining, complaining and/or fighting -
Jan and I would respond, “OK. Next time Mitchell gets punished,
You all get punished too!”
The usual response: “But, Mom, Dad! That’s not fair!”
Eventually, they got it.
And eventually, We did too.
My sons were born, after their mother pushed heroically for untold hours,
while I stood bedside encouraging her to breathe
And offering ice chips.
By what stretch of the imagination does that seem fair?
Everyone knows that the genetic lottery is not based on
the principles of equality and justice.
Heck the very symbol of American ethics - Lady Justice - wears a blindfold
as she weighs the law on her impartial scale.
It’s not fair that some of the best ideas often get lost by lack of funding,
competence or experience.
Not fair that athletes that qualified for the NCAA Championships won’t get a chance to shine this year.
Not fair that the tastiest foods are unhealthy.
And of course it’s not fair that Tom Brady has to play his final two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!
It’s not fair. But life is not always fair.
In the end it's up to US to make chicken salad
from the chicken _ _ _ _ that life sometimes plops our way.
Is something in your life not fair?
Time to Make Lemonade!
And please remember Love trumps fairness every time.
Take Care and Have a Great Week!
Thought for the Week: Yesterday’s Tomorrow 2.0
"A positive attitude is a person's passport to a better tomorrow."
Scientists have determined that every thought
creates an impression on the brain.
These impressions create mental tendencies,
and our tendencies create character, ability and purpose.
The combined action of character, ability and purpose determines our experiences in life.
Given the opportunity (see last week’s Coach’s Corner) of vast amounts of ‘free-time”,
I must confess this past week I have spent a considerable sum of time visiting various social media sites.
Some of that time, at least in my judgement, proved productive.
Looking for inspiration for my Coach’s Corner piece
I decided to check out quotes from Pinterest.
At the present time with a good portion of the world feeling stressed
I typed in the interest-sharing-search box ‘quotes about worrying’
There perhaps could have been as many quotes
as leaves currently resting in my gutters.
The one I chose is a smidge philosophical:
“Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday!”
After organizing in my brain exactly what I believe the quote meant;
I decided to use it in this week’s THOUGHT prose.
I turned to Mr. Webster for his take on what "worry" actually means.
In surmising, worry is to feel distressed, anxious, troubled or uneasy.
Today’s world-wide societal mindset in a nutshell.
Though Mr. Webster hits the nail on the head possibly encapsulating
the emotional state of over 7.7 billion people,
The notion of allowing one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles, is NOT good.
True some folks probably did spend an exorbitant amount of their waking
and probably non-waking hours yesterday, worrying about today.
Will our Country go into a financial depression?
Are the Olympics in jeopardy?
Where’s Tom Brady going to play quarterback next year?
Do we have enough wine?
Is it possible to expel my own child from home-schooling?
Will the toilet paper be restocked at Walmart?
Well, I’ll leave you with another truth...
Today is the yesterday you’ll reflect on tomorrow.
Whoa, talk about abstract maybe even transcendental...
I challenge you why not make that reflection a positive experience?
Use today to create the yesterday you’ll look back on tomorrow with pride and self-satisfaction.
You won’t have the time to worry about tomorrow.
Or the need.
Take Care and Try to Have a Great Week!
Now more than ever it’s important to have a strong immune system.
We know that stress weakens our immune system while a positive mindset boosts it.
We need to win the mental battle so we can win the physical battle.
Thought for the Week: NOW
So what are we going to do the next 4 weeks?
It might be said that everything comes to those that wait...
It is also true that good things come to those that initiate.
Me personally, I'm not the most patient sort.
I don’t believe ALL good things come to those who wait.
I believe more in what Abraham Lincoln proposed:
"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle."
Sometimes, we just have to go and get it.
When it comes to the next 28 days…
The promising news:
It’s time to discover extraordinary things.
Read books you should have read in High School and College.
Not just the Cliff’s Notes.
Pride and Prejudice
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Great Gatsby
Brave New World
Take steps to learn a new language.
Quilting or simple sowing techniques.
Explore the world of cooking.
Begin lessons to play a musical instrument.
Harmonica (one of my ambitions along with continuing to write)
Many people are waiting for the perfect time to begin a new journey...
The regretful news:
The perfect time is now.
Regretful, because there are no excuses for not beginning right now!
We’ve been given a chance, an unexpected golden opportunity.
Do something right now to better yourself, move a little closer to your dream.
Act, even its frivolous – at worst, it’s a learning experience.
Right now is the first moment of the rest of your life.
Are you using the “NOW” in your life?
Take Care and Make IT a Great Week,
Practice social distancing but make sure you stay emotionally connected.
Thought for the Week: Reading the Message
Just 10 days ago I traveled with my wife to watch our youngest compete at the ACC Championships.
After, I wrote an ode to my son in attempt to explain how much I enjoyed watching him swim.
“I smile because your wishes do not take the place of deeds.” I penned.
Rather prophetic considering the topic of today’s Coach’s Corner.
This weekend I attended the Florida Age Group Swimming Championships (FLAGS).
Again a sporting event.
When I wasn’t coaching,
Or flexing! (catch last week’s Coach’s Corner Thought for the Week)
I entertained myself between Highlander swims by reading colorful T-shirts.
There was an entire team sporting T’s in club colors.
Going through a strict regime of ballistic stretching exercises.
Their cotton billboards exclaiming “Eat, Sleep, Swim, Repeat” - PREPARATION
A 10 year old boy with gold mirrored goggles donned in a shirt:
“Veni Natavi Vici” come to find out means “I came, I swam, I conquered” - PERSEVERANCE
A 13 year old girl easily close to six feet tall, with a neon pink T stating “Courage is Contagious”
She was bawling her eyes out because she didn’t achieve her best time. – COURAGE??
There was one parent with the Olympic symbols on his shirt.
He was sitting outside eating a doughnut and drinking a Mountain Dew.
There were two moms loudly questioning the chosen order for their girl’s upcoming relay,
One with “Shut Up and Swim” inked on her back,
With the other “I can wine all I want, I’m a swim mom”
Mom One certainly not showing any restraint.
Mom Two whining.
And then there was the 14 year old
After triumphantly winning the 1650 Freestyle last night bearing the brand:
“At Lap 20, I thought I was dead.”
“At lap 40, I wished I was dead.”
“At lap 60, I knew I was dead.”
“At lap 66, I realized I had become too tough to KILL”
And it hit me: the message (wishes) is not what we say,
or how we appear,
but in what we DO (deeds).
What message will people read from you today?
Take Care and Have a Great Week,
Thought for the Week: Where You Are
This weekend my wife and I traveled to Greensboro, North Carolina.
The occasion: A sporting event.
At 55 I’ve had the pleasure and chosen to attend my share of spectacular sporting events.
This past weekend was more than just an occasion to be in attendance.
It gave me a fortuitous opportunity to witness, observe and personally reflect.
My presence at the Men’s ACC Swimming Championships was My choice.
My Choice also gave me countless scenarios to witness where everyone else was at various moments in time.
The athletes representing 12 schools:
Periods of stretching,
Parading out for finals,
At various times loose, smiling and happy, at others serious and stern.
The 50 plus coaches and supportive staff sporting colors from Louisville, Virginia, Notre Dame and NC State.
Sometimes loose, smiling and happy, other times serious and stern.
The thousands of spectators somewhat organized seated above the pool.
Friends and supporters in Carolina, Georgia Tech, Miami and Pittsburgh T’s.
Parents donning the colors of Duke, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Boston College.
And at times Flexing!
Sometimes loose, smiling and happy, other times serious and stern.
As for myself there were instances that moved me tears.
For the record: tears of pride and joy.
At the conclusion of the 400 Free Relay which culminated the Championship
I had an overall sense that most everybody was pretty happy to have been there.
Which made me reflect:
For me and for each of us,
We are happy because we choose to be.
We are where we are because we choose to be.
And if we’re not happy, nor where we want to be,
We simply need to start moving in a new direction.
It’s within your power to do it!
We call the shots.
Your life, your rules.
You, me, us… are responsible for our own happiness.
It’s the greatest power we have, the power to choose.
Are you happy?
Are you where you want to be?
I say choose to be HAPPY.
Choose to be where you want to be.
Choose happiness for your health.
Choose happiness for your relationships.
Choose happiness for the success of the world you live in.
But most importantly of all, choose happiness for the simple fact that this is YOUR LIFE.
Take Care and Have a Great Week,
Thought for the Week: Door Openers
Call me crazy, but there’s something different about a business that has automatic door openers.
And they’re just a little more appealing and
approachable than those businesses I frequent
where I have to p u l l the door open to cross the threshold,
And p u s h it to get out.
While the new Credit Union building is sleek and modern,
I have to share that it possibly has the most substantial door
I have ever strained to enter.
I find there are people in my life who exude automatic door openers.
They’re more welcoming.
And there are people who are the epitome of my Credit Union ingress.
Take Care and Have a Great Week,