Word-Of-the-Week #780: 15th WOW Anniversary!

July 18, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Spontaneitythe ability to go with the flow.

This is the 15th WOW Anniversary! And when you read this we will be on our way to Africa for the Great Migration which is why I chose Spontaneity. A lot of things will be out of my control!

How easy is it for you to “just go with the flow?” Do you find yourself so caught up in getting things accomplished or completing your to-do list that you have a hard time going with the flow? Do you get irritated, get angry or even worse, go into fits of rage when your plans don’t work the way you want them to?

Spontaneity is all about allowing yourself to accept what the universe puts in front of you. Sometimes you have no control over it. I love completing my to-do list and I love it when things work exactly as I have planned. But there are just times when no matter how hard I try, I encounter road blocks.

In order to deal with those little frustrations, I came up with a game that I call “Planned Spontaneity.” This game has saved me so much stress and unhappiness that I feel compelled to share it with you.

How many times have you had interruptions when you are traveling? I can’t tell you how many times one of my flights has been delayed or cancelled. And there isn’t anything that I can do about that. I have no control over the weather or mechanical failures. I don’t get to fly the plane! Nor am I qualified to do that!

And yet, I have seen people go into fits because a thunder storm has grounded the plane. Who wants to get on a plane that might crash? It always amazes me to see grown men and women have what appears to be a “temper tantrum” in public.

Before I travel for work or when I am on vacation, I go right into my game of “Planned Spontaneity.” I do the same when I have company coming. When I set myself up to accept whatever happens, it is so easy to go with the flow.

Where in your life could you benefit by “Planned Spontaneity?” This week focus on going with the flow. How does it make you feel to not have a set plan and to experience being in the moment?

I will be posting my travel log with some pix on my website if you want to come along!

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Word-Of-the-Week #779: Achievement

July 11, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Achievementsomething that has been accomplished, esp by hard work.

What achievements have you made in your life? What would like to accomplish this year? Do you feel envy when you compare yourself to others achievements?

This week features “Late bloomers in a world that values early success” by UT San Diego columnist Neil Senturia.

“My father’s opinion of the likelihood of my achieving early success (and in fact any success) caused him to comfort his son with the words, “You’ll be a late bloomer.” It was a kind way of lowering his expectations of me to the level of a Walmart greeter.

Forbes magazine publisher Rich Karlgaard has some thoughts that make it very clear that the popular hyped millennial mantra of “having to make it before you are 30, otherwise, you might as well commit hari-kiri” is actually total nonsense, as argued in his new book, “The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement.” Karlgaard says that although he went to Stanford, (“I barely got through”), after graduation he was both confronted and challenged by the amazing apparent trajectories that his classmates were embarking on. “I remember a low moment, here I am a 25-year-old Stanford grad and the best job I could get after college was as a security guard at a trucking company.”

Readers — pause and reflect. Then admit that all of us have had the demon of envying our peers who seem to be ahead of us in the race (where and why we are racing is for another column). Karlgaard says he was walking the perimeter with a flashlight, while “his professional colleague” in the yard next door was nothing more than a Rottweiler. Three months later, Steve Jobs would take Apple public.

I want to ask Karlgaard what his parents said to him at that time. Did they tell him that they loved him regardless and to hang in and that blooming was right around the corner? Or did they see themselves (and their son) as the failures? This is hard stuff. Some of us are early rock stars, but most of us have “gifts that go undiscovered” until later — or if ever. Karlgaard talks about the “early achievement conveyor belt” and the potential anxiety, depression and even suicide that occur if you are not on that path. I am confessing now and forever that I have seen those demons up close and personal.

Rule No. 613

Can I interest you in a watering can?

The twin paths of computer science and Wall Street finance are the quickest route to early recognition. Those skills develop earlier than what Karlgaard calls “fully functioning mature adults,” who more deeply express the traits of curiosity, resilience and equanimity. Companies say they want those core values but the problem is that they don’t always hire for them in the beginning. It turns out that those seemingly clear early performance markers — GPA and SAT scores — become increasingly irrelevant over time.

Karlgaard supports his premise by turning to the real science of how and when the brain develops. The high frequency hedge fund trader brain peaks in the 20s and 30s; deeper pattern recognition, empathy and compassion peak during the 40s and 50s; and finally as we age, we finally head toward “exhibiting wisdom.” Karlgaard says that late bloomers tend to find their own path, which in turn leads them to the place where this late blooming occurs. He calls it the intersection of talent, passion, grit, density and finally mission. Wow.

The question is a simple one, but not easily answered. How do we find a way to allow our children the time to find their bloom? He argues for encouraging a gap year after high school graduation — time to wander, to stray from the path, to leave the conveyor belt, to get lost and then finally to discover your way. He even touches the third rail of mandatory military or civil service (Israel, Switzerland and Singapore). He argues that “not everyone should go to a four-year college,” and he supports “shop class.” My favorite memory from high school was building a model wooden sailboat (which I still have).

Finally, his book turns to parenting, the eternal dilemma, but the emerging neurological and cognitive science point solidly to the fact that “we have multiple decades in which to come into our own.” The glib mantra of “quitters never win, winners never quit” is complete madness. We all know that letting go and walking away can be transformative. We all can be reinvented and embrace the pivot. There are always second chances, but they only appear and bloom when they are good and ready.”

This week’s focus is on achievement. Do you believe that you’re a failure if you haven’t “made it before your 30?” Are you guilty of trying to put your children or family members on the “early achievement conveyor belt?” What if you or someone you know is a late bloomer? How would it feel to have more recognition, empathy, and compassion which comes with age?

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Word-Of-the-Week #778: Independence

July 4, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Independence freedom from control or influence of others. 

Did you know that July 2nd was actually the day that the United States declared its independence from Great Britain? Are you thankful for your freedom?

While most people consider Memorial Day as the start of summer, those of us in So Cal feel like summer starts July 4th. Gray May & June Gloom means most days are overcast. But July is when we start seeing more sunshine. And summer typically means vacation time so I hope you are doing just that! I am keeping it short and simple for the next couple of weeks while I’m on vacation.

Independence Day FUN-facts from Wikipedia:

  • In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.
  • Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on this memorable day.
  • Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only President to have been born on Independence Day.
  • In 1777, thirteen gunshots were fired in salute, once at morning and once again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island.
  • Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in a manner a modern American would find quite familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. Ships were decked with red, white, and blue bunting.

  • In 1778, General George Washington marked July 4 with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute. Across the Atlantic Ocean, Ambassadors John Adams and Benjamin Franklin held a dinner for their fellow Americans in Paris, France.
  • In 1779, July 4 fell on a Sunday. The holiday was celebrated on Monday, July 5.
  • In 1781 the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration.
  • In 1783, Moravians in Salem, North Carolina, held a celebration of July 4 with a challenging music program assembled by Johann Friedrich Peter. This work was titled, “The Psalm of Joy”.
  • In 1791 the first recorded use of the name “Independence Day” occurred.
  • In 1820 the first Fourth of July celebration was held in Eastport, Maine which remains the largest in the state.
  • In 1870, the S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees.In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.

This week’s focus is about celebrating Independence Day and our “unalienable Rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” I hope you have a fabulous & FUN day and appreciate how lucky you are to live in the best place on the entire planet. God Bless America! 

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Word-Of-the-Week #777: Invest

June 27, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Investto put time or money into something, hoping for a greater return.

How much time have you spent investing in yourself? Would you like to achieve more regarding your career? How about your retirement plan? Are you funding it monthly?

This is the 2nd half of the USA Today article by Ken Fisher, Female executives offer some career advice to younger women: ‘Leave the comfort zone’.

To Recap: “I asked top women at my firm what advice they would give women seeking to fulfill their vision of life. 

Don’t settle for comfortable – “Be direct about your aims.” and “If you don’t ask for it, some other jerk will.” 

Don’t expect to have all the answers“Life is unpredictable. You need to be flexible and resilient.”

  • Always fund your 401(k)

“Invest in yourself. Participate as much as you can in your 401(k). Get invested in the market and stick with a basic plan — don’t get too cute with it,” says Garrity 

Coffey also stressed simplicity. “For longer-term savings, save all you can in any amount you can and invest in stocks. Look up in 20 or 30 years from now, and you will be glad you did.” 

Then, some frank talk about the trade-offs accompanying marriage and kids. 

If you’re going to marry, Garrity says, “Marry someone who supports you — personally and professionally. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my husband. I don’t like the phrase ‘you can have it all’ — it sets false expectations. You can have a successful career and family. But it takes hard work, compromise, direct communication and the realization it will never be perfect.”

  • Create a support network 

‘Realistic expectations rang Hitchcock’s bell, too. “If you’re to stay home to raise kids, understand you’re taking on major personal risk if something happens to the primary breadwinner in your family. Make sure you have enough disability and life insurance to support you and your kids if the unexpected happens. It happens.” 

And make sure you have a support network, says Jarvis. “This group can help you navigate through opportunities and setbacks.” 

Finally, they agreed, your path is up to you and no one else — to go your own way—maybe a bit like my mom did, just different.”

While these past 2 WOW’s have been directed toward women all of this advice works for both genders!

This week’s focus is on investing in you and your future! Have you spent time fostering relationships to create a support network? Do you have a retirement plan? Did you know that if you invest just $200 a month over a period of 30 years you could easily end up with over $228,000?

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Word-Of-the-Week #776: Challenge

June 25, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Challengesomething new and difficult which requires great effort and determination.

Do you LOVE a good challenge? Or do you tend to dread it? When was the last time you felt determined to do something new or difficult? How long did it take you to handle the challenge?

I found this in the USA Today by Ken Fisher, Female executives offer some career advice to younger women: ‘Leave the comfort zone.’

“With the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death approaching, this Mother’s Day was wistful. She would have turned 100 in weeks.

Mom grew up tough in southwest Arkansas. Pre-Great Depression, before penicillin, where railroads and river shipping reigned. She married my father during World War II, moved west and never looked back.

Honoring her memory, I asked top women at my firm what advice they would give women seeking to fulfill their vision of life. 

  • Don’t settle for comfortable

Jill Hitchcock, a 20-year veteran, who heads our national Private Client Group, offers this advice: “Run toward the things that scare you, especially early in your career.

Too often, I see associates, especially women, seeking ‘comfortable’ roles instead of what really challenges them to build new skills,” she said. “Don’t close doors opting for comfortable or known roles that play to skills you have; move toward roles that build skills you don’t have.”

Carrianne Coffey, also 20 years at my firm, who runs our comparable overseas group, echoed this: “Feeling role-comfortable creates mediocrity and stagnation. Get a comfortable bed, some good sheets — then leave the comfort zone when you wake in the morning.”

She adds, “Be direct about your aims.” Her favorite advice comes courtesy of her older brother: “If you don’t ask for it, some other jerk will.”

  • Don’t expect to have all the answers

Take time to breathe and reflect, says Laurine Garrity, our global marketing head.

“Don’t expect to have all the answers early in your career,” she says. “I often see young adults seriously stressed thinking they need a long-term career roadmap. Life is unpredictable. You need to be flexible and resilient. So find out what you enjoy, what challenges you — then learn from those experiences and build on them. Over time, with work and self-reflection, you should land in a good place.”

Lane Jarvis, our human capital tsar, stressed avoiding burnout.

“Take care of your health. Don’t prioritize work over taking care of yourself. It will make you better and healthier so you can work longer.”

This week’s focus is on challenges. When was the last time you had your abilities tested? How did it make you feel? Does it make you more determined and want to put forth the extra effort?

Stay tuned for part 2 next week!

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