“It’s What You Do That Matters”…

Success or failure, advancement or setback, security or fear, fulfillment or deep void, are all a result of decisions we make, the course of action we set for ourselves, the path we ultimately choose to take.

As I get older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I better understand that where I am right now in my life is largely due to decisions that I made five, ten or even twenty years ago.   I further understand that most setbacks and failures in my life were self-imposed and with few exceptions were a result based on a decision made some time earlier in my life.  And for those successes I have enjoyed, the same rule applies giving myself at least partial credit for good choices made at some earlier point in life.  So, as I consider that fact, I have to ask myself this, “Why do some people always find themselves unhappy, unfulfilled or always struggling to get ahead?” 

On June 26,  2011 I was attending an event in Savannah, Georgia.  The keynote speaker was a man who I knew little about, yet he made a statement that helped to provide clarity to the question I had been seeking my answer for.   Andy Andrews, an author, speaker and trusted advisor, offered the following comment, “It’s not what you say… it’s what you do that matters.” 

With a desire to fully embrace those simple words, I stepped up my reading about personal improvement, leadership and studied success stories of individuals who had accomplished remarkable things.  During my reading, there was always one personal trait that was constant.  Every person who is successful (and might I say define success however you desire) was a “doer”.  That’s right, it’s what you do that matters. 

I have worked to put that principle of being a “doer” into action with my life and have shared this principle with a few friends and share it now with you.  Ask yourself this… are you happy with your career choice?  Do you complain about all of the problems at work or complain about your personal situation?   Have you simply carried these feelings of uneasiness or unhappiness inside you or have you made a change?   If you dislike your employer, have you searched for a new job?  If your relationship with someone important to you is not going well, do you sit there and silently complain or are you seeking to make that relationship better?  Remember, it’s what you do that matters.

Whether in business or your personal life, remember that where you are today is based on decisions made some time earlier in your life.   Where you will be in five years is based on decisions you make today.  Become a leader of your own life, your own destiny and don’t be afraid to make a positive change.  It’s not what you say, but what you do that matters. 

The Birthday present ….

This weekend was a special weekend at our house.  My eldest son was turning 10 years old and like every other birthday, we spent the weekend busy with special activities for the birthday boy and his best friend.  So, this Saturday was bowling, lunch at the local pizza parlor and then attending the Shriners Circus.   What surprised me was how that night I would see such wonderful examples of compassion, friendship and patriotism from my two little men.

At the circus, the Shriners began the event with a marching band, introduction of the local troop of Clowns and then a local dignitary was invited to lead the auditorium of 4000 people with the Pledge of Allegiance.  I was so proud of my first grader as he stood tall with his hand over his heart reciting the pledge in a clear, loud voice.  Having never heard him do this before, I was immediately struck with such humility and pride as I watched the example of a six year old showing such patriotism.  I looked around at the sea of adults, many still wearing hats, talking with others, and generally uninterested in this ceremony.  But not my first grader, he was proud that he could recite such an important message without help from others.

Later during the intermission, the Shriners held a drawing for two new bicycles.  I had entered my sons into the drawing and to my surprise, my fourth grader was announced as a winner… what a fabulous birthday gift!  After having his picture taken with the organizers and while on the way back to our seats, my son looked up and asked if he could give his bicycle that he had received from Santa last Christmas to his friend who didn’t have a bicycle of his own.  Again, I was humbled and proud that my son would show such compassion for a friend.

Life comes at us fast and amidst all we have to do to push ahead, I do the best I can to teach my sons good values, character and the importance of being a good person.  The most important gift this birthday weekend was not the new bicycle or even the parade of presents from family, but was the gift given to me by my two sons and I am forever grateful for their examples. 



How I Finally Taught the Big Guy a Lesson… a humorous story about perspective

I found this story quite humorous and a great way to make a point regarding positive mental attitude and how perspective is everything.

I did not provoke the fight so I feel no remorse for what I was forced to do.  We were arguing and seeing I was right and he was wrong, he decided to fight to cover up for his stupidity.

He swung at me first, but being in the top of condition, I was able to act quickly and blocked the punch neatly with my head.

Where upon I jumped to the ground knocking him down on top of me.  Then I placed my ear in his mouth and poked his finger several times with my eye.

His teeth hurt so from the strength of my ear, that he became irate and tried to kick me, but I cleverly blocked the onslaught with my ribs and face.

I scrambled to my feet and ran to my car in hopes I would get away and save this man from my deadly hands.  Before I could start the car he pulled me from the still open door.  I then proceeded to swing at him, but only managed to hit myself in the head.  To this I said: “What’s this…. Two against one?”

That was the final straw and I lost control.  There will be no mercy!

Taking him in my death grip, I pounded him in the knee with my stomach then hit him two or three times hard in the fist with my teeth.  He had had it!  I could tell.  After that he didn’t even try to pick me up off the ground. He was too chicken!



Are you defined by the work you do?

I was on the phone two days ago with a friend.  The discussion centered around our career choices and how what we do professionally defines us as an individual.  Her answer to that comment has resonated with me.  She simply answered, “My job doesn’t define who I am…  I am a mother, a musician, a cook and a person who enjoys life.”  (For the record, this person has a fabulous career fortunate to be doing exactly what she wants to be doing in life.)

Although I want to believe that I have always shared a similar life mantra, I cannot help but to think about all the moments over the last few years when asked a question of “So Ken, what do you do?” what my answer was.  I would immediately answer with my professional title and the company I was working with.  I wonder what kind of reaction I would have received if I answered with this … “Great question.  I am a father, a husband, a recreational golfer, a public speaker, a civic leader, an Eagle Scout, a soccer coach, a community volunteer, an entrepreneur, and a full-time employee.”  

So, what do you do?  If asked that simple question, what answer would you provide?  Do you let your “Title” define you and provide validation or do you find life’s validation in other ways?  Do you have a life outside of the professional work you do?

Last week I attended an event in North Carolina.  I was attending with a colleague who provided a presentation to a group of government leaders around the topic of managing a remote workforce.  He provided a graphic that displayed a vintage scale of justice with the words “life” on one side and “work” on the other and an interesting conversation ensued regarding how important it is to find a healthy amount of balance.  It is true that finding that balance between work and life can be difficult at times.  It appears that the younger generation of worker has a healthy grasp on balance.  To the next generation employee, work is no longer defined as a location, it is considered an activity.

So, I would pose the following question for discussion… “What do you do to help achieve a healthy work/life balance?”

A life of meaning and joy.. thoughts from Tony Robbins

“Ultimately what shapes the meaning of our lives is not what we get, but what we give.  If you can make it your goal to each day find a way to add more value to people’s lives than anyone else, then you’ll never have to worry about success.  But, if  you’re constantly just trying to make a deal, trying to make a trade – “I’ll give you this if you give me that”, you will find yourself struggling to prosper.  Remember, the secret to living is giving.  We’re not made to be selfish.  We can succeed and achieve, but what we want deep in our souls is to feel like life matters… that we’re givers, not takers.

If each day you can sincerely feel like you’ve given something of value to those around you, I can promise you you’ll experience the ultimate victory of life.. a life of meaning and joy.”  Tony Robbins – Success Magazine Dec 08

This is a quotation that I carry in my planner.  As I work towards my personal and professional goals, I always strive to remember that success is best achieved when being a giver, not a taker and always work to add true value in the lives of those I come into contact with.  – Ken

The power of a well founded dream…

“Trust your passion, identify your dreams, and find the courage to share them with others, no matter how many times they shall call you a fool. If your vision has merit, no matter how impossible it may seem, someone will recognize it and help you make it come true. That is the practical power of a well founded dream.”

– Bill Strickland, CEO Manchester Bidwell