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Casseroles and Turtlenecks (Or 2018 Thoughts)

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As I drive toward my neighborhood, I now pass a temporary yard sign that says Be Kind.  I know that my reaction should be, “Isn’t that a great reminder”.

This is probably not the right thing to say, but that sign makes me think, “I wonder what made them put that sign up?” and “I wonder if their neighbors think to themselves that they should start being kind by being good neighbors, and take that sign down?“. And maybe even a part of me thinks “I wonder why they think they should tell me to be kind?“.  Yes, I know… that is not the reaction that I should have!

In writing Our year-end blog, I am consciously thinking about that sign. It’s not for me to tell you what your goals should be for 2018. Goals are personal.

Maybe you have just decided that in the coming year, you will not wear turtlenecks.

Maybe you are thinking that you want to eat more vegetables in the coming year. Does it count if you are eating vegetables, like they have at Ruth’s Chris Steak House? You know, the sweet potato casserole that is prepared with 12 sticks of butter and graham crackers. Or the broccoli and ice cream vegetable medley? (or something like that)

At the age of 101, Larry Lewis ran the 100 yard dash in 17.8 seconds setting a new world record for runners 100 years old or older. How is that for a goal?

Remember, I promised that I would not tell you what your goals should be. So maybe we call Our blog today… The no criticism goal zone!

Let me take you on a wandering thought tour. What I am thinking for the new year. But first, a New Year’s thought:

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I am told that men in their twenties typically take it hard when their hair starts falling out. I fell into that eg0/insecurity twenty-something. I do applaud those who embrace baldness. I just didn’t.

So, I found myself at a doctor’s office for a hair transplant consultation. Soon, I had gone through several hair transplant “procedures” and I felt pretty good about the results. Looking back, it makes me shake my head (not so much my hair). One of those times I would have time-traveled back to tell myself not to do it! (We are still not quite finished with our time machine at the firm)

In February of 2008, I had a kidney transplant. As I left the hospital, they explained the anti-rejection medications that had to be taken. Then, they also explained the side effects. One specific pill could cause hair loss. At that moment, hair loss didn’t matter. Perfectly happy to take the medication! Hair loss was not important compared to the benefits of the medication.

It was true, I did suffer hair loss. Maybe it is medication related. Of course, I also like to say that I have summer hair. Some are here (hair) and some are gone. Boom!

I have written several “Resolutions” blogs over the past few years. Sometimes I list several goals I have for the new year and other times, just some general positive thoughts.

This year I made a personal list of several goals for the new year. One specific goal is much like that medication. To focus on the real things that matter and not get hung up on what doesn’t matter.  Much like the benefit of the medication instead of the detail of those side effects. Major on the major! Not to spend time thinking and majoring on the minor.

Buckling up, with my seat in the upright and locked position. Whenever things seem difficult, I want to focus on the big picture.

Yes… that’s why they are called goals!

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I so wish you a very happy new year.  2018 is going to be a great year! I just know it! These are the good days!

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Some Foreseeable “Seeables”

Do you feel relieved or depressed this morning? A mixture of both emotions is settling across the U.S. today. All that buildup of Christmas, and now you either took the tree down or pulled it out the door. Or… it has to be done! The foreseeability of after-Christmas emotion.

Here’s a starter picture for Our Blog on foreseeability:

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If someone runs through the zoo and hollers, “The lions are loose. The lions are loose”. There might be some foreseeable reaction. Sure, it could get a laugh. Or, if the “warning” is believable, it could cause a stampede toward the exits. If it was a joke of a warning and someone trips and hurts themselves… the question of foreseeability probably becomes an issue in a lawsuit. Right?

I find myself already thinking about my goals for 2018. I intend to write a blog on it. I guess that’s what has made me think about foreseeability. Where will I find myself in a year?

Years ago, a well known absent-minded professor was looking for a ride, to take him to his next speaking engagement. He waved down a taxi and jumped in. The driver began hurriedly driving away from the curb. A thought then dawned on the scientist and he leaned forward and asked the driver, “Hey, do you know where I want to go?” “No, Sir” the driver shouted back, “but I’m driving as fast as I can!”.

I pause to realize how easy it is to just be in a hurry. The foreseeable future literally means “the before you are able to see”. So the importance of what I do right now, before I can see what will happen… can impact what will happen. Does that feel like a palindrome? (words or phrases that read forwards and backwards. like radar, kayak. This one really gets me: Madam, I’m Adam. )

What I do know is that Our Blog will continue, and it will continue with me regularly wandering… just like that last paragraph. That’s foreseeable! But I also want goals for the new year, so that I am not just going to see what happens… but that I arrive where I intend.  And so the thinking continues!

And for pic o’ day, how about how a kid might explain being in a hurry?

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Pictures, Thoughts and Goals 2017

New Year’s resolutions have a different meaning to each of us.

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First, the word resolution has a little bit of a bad meaning to me. It’s basically a resolve to do better over the failures of last year. How can that be good? I’d rather think in terms of goals for the year.

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Just my random thoughts, but maybe it’s acceptable for dogs to have resolutions. But I digress.

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And there’s no sense in me discussing a goal of working out, or exercising more. That’s probably on everyone’s list. Right?img_0741

“So”, here are some of my thoughts for the new year. Thinking in the context of goals.

Initially, I started a list of goals for the blog. Like keeping better lists throughout the year. Almost like a Star Trek Captain’s log. Goals such as having more patience and reading my Bible more.

I even thought about focusing on being a better communicator. Not starting my sentences with So, or the old wind up to a sentence of  What happened was.  Similar to using the “speaking connector” of like. So, like do you know what I mean?

Then I thought about the concept of relaxing more. In fact, I do enjoy coming home and putting on my lounging pants. Which are really just furry over-sized pajamas. And believe me, as I thought about my lounging pants, I internally began to feel proud of my goals!

But the more I thought about the new year, the more I wanted to boil down my goals into one goal. And I did!!!! So here’s my thinking:

I decided to focus on my perception of life. That led me to the old slogan, “Is the glass half empty or half full?”. Then, that was my inspiration for my 2017 goal. To do a better job at looking at everything with optimism!

To view negatively or positively. Tt’s my choice.  For 2017, my goal is to try to be more positive and look at my circumstances as always “half full“.

We all have to find our own goals for the year. No one can do that for me. But as Henry Ford summed it up , “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t; you’re right“.

It’s going to be a great year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goals and Results!

I remember reading a long time ago the advice of “don’t be afraid to try and fail. Just don’t fail to try“.  Watching baseball and football yesterday reminded me that goals are well defined. At the end of the game, the scoreboard tells you if you reached your goal.

Bill Gates (wikipedia) attributes his success to how his family established goals. Everything was a competition.

One family friend reports that  “it didn’t matter whether it was hearts or pickleball or swimming on the dock, there was always a reward for winnning and there was always a penalty for losing.

His first business was a partnership between he and Paul Allen. It was Traff-O-Data, a company that created machines which recorded the number of cars passing a given point on a road. It wasn’t considered a “roaring success” but it helped forge the bond between he and Allen and served to encourage the partnership to later create Microsoft. Their chasing of one goal led them to the ultimate prize of a greater goal.

I wanted this blog to be a reminder of goals. Sometimes it’s OK not to worry about tomorrow… except to know that tomorrow will be better than yesterday. That’s a good goal too!

That’s some thinking on goals. Now, I’d like to post a list of goals that I recently saw posted on Facebook. These made me laugh!

 

 

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And for pic o’ day, some more entrepreneurship.

 

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Blogging Goals

If I started the blog with a discussion of “Hands up, don’t shoot”; or I countered with  “pants up, don’t loot”, it might be considered a very controversial blog. In fact, I am told that the more controversial that someone writes, the more chance heated comments are posted or that the blog will go viral.

I look back over my blogs the last few years and I can say that they lack the panache of some controversy. This morning, Virginia has a former Governor about to be sentenced at the Federal Courthouse. It was and is important news. Yet, I did not blog about it. Just not in the wheelhouse of this blog.

When I think of the blog in the new year, I think of it like a legal seminar. “They” always say that if you go to a seminar and you get one helpful thing for the practice, then it has been a successful seminar.

So, what does this mean in my stream of consciousness about blogging for the upcoming year? Well, I hope to give you something each time that will stick with you. I don’t think that it takes controversy to stand out. Still, I hope it’s more than a dry recitation of the Pythagorean Theorem.

My goal is at least one good nugget. Something like Robert Louis Stevenson saying that, “Sooner or later, we all sit down to a banquet of consequences”.

And our pic o’ day is about trust:

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The Final 2014 Blog

I sat down to write this last blog with the idea that I needed to give you something to think about, going into the new year. Then, I stopped after my first sentence because I had too many thoughts with too few ideas. It felt like I was at the doorstep of inspiration, and inspiration refused to let me in! (or something like that)

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So I decided to piece some stories together in an attempt to end up with my thoughts:

Not far from our Richmond  office stands a building with a sign that identifies it as a restaurant named Famous Dave’s Barbecue. This is an area that really enjoys BBQ for lunch as evidenced by the fact that there are three restaurants, within a 2 mile radius.IMG_0001

Regularly, we would drive by that restaurant at lunch, and invariably, someone in the car would remark that no cars are ever in the parking, “How do they stay open?”.

Prophetic! They just closed. In fact, the other two Dave’s restaurants in the Richmond area have also closed. (CBS 6) According to their CEO, the closings are part of a “strategic reevaluation”  as  “the current leadership team continues to evaluate the performance of our legacy company-owned portfolio as we drive toward a return to positive same store sales and improved unit and company-level profitability, while we actively pursue our re-franchising strategy”. (I don’t even know what that means)

It was 2005. Sheep herding was the primary livelihood in Gevas, Turkey. The average yearly income there was $2700. According to USA Today, every family had an average of 20 sheep.

On that fateful day, 26 families were eating breakfast together on the hillside, while they watched their sheep graze nearby. No one knows what caused it, but all of sudden the sheep began running toward the edge of a cliff.

In horror, the shepherds watched as their sheep began jumping off the cliff to a certain death. One sheep apparently started toward the cliff and 1500 followed that one sheep. Soon, more than 450 sheep had died.

The only thing that saved the other sheep was the fact that those who jumped later, were saved as the pile got higher and higher. Their fall was cushioned. According to one villager, “now only a few families have sheep left. It’s going to be real hard for us”.

Xiaomi,  a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, was founded in 2010 by several Chinese entrepreneurs. The company just announced that it has shipped 17.3 million phones in their third quarter of 2014, and that they have now become the third largest cell phone maker in the world, while trailing only Samsung and Apple.

They admit to mirroring the business model of Apple; including the Chairman and CEO, Jun Lei, appearing on stage at a shareholder meeting while wearing jeans and a black turtleneck … just like the late Apple founder Steve Jobs.  They attribute their success positioning themselves as a high end alternative to the status quo.

I have been thinking about what to write for my year-end blog. It has caused me to read articles and tweets of several entrepreneurs as they identified their 2015 goals and resolutions. That included reading this USA Today article with 15 inspirational quotes from the book Whatever You Are, Be a Good One. Still I kept searching.

I came to realize that goals have to be my goals. That someone else’s goals can be aspirational, but they aren’t mine.

I looked at these three stories in their randomness and this is what I took from them. First, you need customers. In our case as a firm, you need clients. If “no one is in the parking lot”, all other goals really don’t matter.

Second, I need to be a leader who matters and knows where we are going. Just being a leader can also mean taking everyone over the cliff of failure.

Third, relates to Firm growth and the status quo. It’s fine to look at other business models of success; but, ultimately it’s about me or about the firm. I cannot be satisfied with “how we have always done it”. I need to keep pushing!

Maybe something in this randomness will help you in your goal thinking. Thanks for reading the blog this year. I promise to do better next year!!!!! Have a wonderful New Year!

It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”

-W. Somerset Maugham

And for a final pic o’ day, I had a hard time picking what I wanted. So… I went with some “bad planning”.

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Shamrock Marathon with Photos

Saturday and Sunday brought runners from all over the world, to the Virginia Beach oceanfront for the Yeungling Shamrock Marathon. An event to raise money for Operation Smile.

My wife, Jackey, ran on Saturday in the 8k. I was perched at our condo,  waiting and watching for her to come around the corner.  My position was about 10 blocks from the finish line.

I was moved by the sense of accomplishment and determination of the endless sea of runners. Runners of all shapes and sizes were competing. It was really moving to see some,  peddling bikes with their hands, because they had lost use of their legs. They were not going to let life’s events keep them from the finish line.

On Saturday, a Charlottesville lady was the first woman to cross the 8K finish line. She was one of only two US runners to finish in the top 10. She averaged 5:23 per mile, finishing the 8K in 26:44. The first place finisher in Saturday’s 8K was Julius Kogo of Kenya, who finished in 22 minutes and 34 seconds . Now that is moving!

On Sunday, two course records were broken in the half marathon. Then, Jynocel Basweti from Ethiopia, won the Marathon in 2:22:57. When I saw these first runners go past the Condo, they looked like they were just gliding through the breeze. I think I look more tired when I use the remote to change channels.

The Shamrock is the oldest continuously running road race in Virginia Beach.  It serves as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and is a runner favorite because of the flat running service. I like that they have water and lemon lime Gatorade at the hydration stations.

Below, I have attached some of the pictures that I took with the trusty cell phone. You can see my wife waving. Plus, you can see the chalk artists. On the boardwalk they had such things as “Run, Forrest, Run” and “Almost Finished”.

I put this in the blog because it really is an example of reaching goals. Each runner has a story. A reminder of the human spirit. I just think that insurance adjusters should be forced to come out and watch. It would remind them of life and that everything cannot be measured by a computer. Maybe they would think differently when evaluating claims.  Well,  just a thought.

Runners

 

Jackey and Laurie
Jackey and Laurie Waving
Half Marathon Leaders
Chalk Artists
Almost at the Finish Line

 

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