Patriotism… Pass It On

Patriotism has a different meaning for many people.  For some it is as deeply embedded as a core belief, such as religion or love of family.  I have always been proud to be an American where I have been given the opportunity to pursue my dreams, chart my own course, savor the successes, and learn from my mistakes. 

I am thankful to so many who have served our country and for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, my heartfelt thank you will never be enough.  For those who serve and protect our great Nation today, you will always have my admiration and thanks.  Without your willingness to defend what we believe in, our freedoms would no longer be guaranteed.

I have read so many reports in the news and across social media with each side adamantly projecting their views.  Although the message might be lost due to actions of a few, I always attempt to stay grounded upon the beliefs I hold most dear.  I respect the beliefs of my fellow Americans and understand that we may not always agree on issues, but I hope at the core we can all believe in the strength of unity as a Nation.  Just as our Pledge of Allegience reminds us, “One Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”.

Looking Forward With Hope & Optimism

20132014beachSir James Dyson once said, “Often, just around the corner is where the solution will happen.”  Ringing in a new year is an opportunity for each of us to evaluate our individual successes or disappointments from the year behind us and also look forward with a renewed commitment for our goals in the year ahead.   

As we look forward to 2014 with both hope & optimism, may each of us achieve success as we strive to accomplish our most important personal & professional goals. 

Believe & Achieve!

Personal & Professional Mission Statements

Two weeks ago I was attending a course at the University of Georgia when our instructor lead us into a most interesting conversation about “a mission statement”. This writing exercise wasn’t about a corporate statement, but rather a life statement that embodied both our professional & personal life. In many cases, the collective “we” keep those two areas of our lives separate and work to find balance between the two. Yet, as I was challenged to create a statement that merged these two lives together, I wanted to envelop my desire to succeed as a working professional, an avid believer in volunteerism and a family man. The result of that effort is what has now become my personal & professional mission statement.

Personal & Professional Mission Statement –

“I intend to help others by fostering individual achievement, mentor organizational development to firms that I am passionate towards and provide coaching to those who have that desire to maximize their personal and professional development.

Living with the belief that I can achieve anything in life that I desire by first helping others achieve their goals will be the cornerstone of my work ethic and I will gain great satisfaction in knowing that I have helped others.

I intend to live a life of purpose… to be a great husband, father, son and friend to those in my life”.

What is your mission statement? Would you be willing to share it? I would love to post a collection of various personal & professional mission statements so those seeking inspiration might find this resource valuable.

So… What is your mission statement?

An Eagle’s Promise

This evening I was honored to attend a BSA Court of Honor where a young man from Troop 115 was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. This exceptional young man was the second in his family to follow his father’s example as an Eagle Scout and has lived his life in a most exemplary manner. I was touched to see the tender moment when this young man hugged his mother and the joy in her eyes to see her son reach this goal.

I was pleased to witness that scouting continues to be about the young men embracing a value system, striving for something good and living their life as they follow the scout law…

“A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”

Tonight was not about political platforms nor policy, but simply about recognizing the efforts of a remarkable young man who has grown from a boy to a man and while doing so attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

For all Eagle Scouts young and old, we are reminded that our journey as an Eagle Scout does not end, but rather that we should live our lives as adults following this Eagle Promise…

” I reaffirm my allegiance to the three promises of the scout oath. I thoughtfully recognize and take upon myself the obligations and responsibilities of an Eagle Scout.

On my honor I will do my best to make my training and example, my rank and my influence, count strongly for better scouting and for better citizenship in my troop, in my community, and in my contacts with other people.

To this I pledge my sacred honor.”

I am thankful to those parents and leaders who support scouting and work together to develop our youth into tomorrow’s leaders. Scouting matters!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Over the last few years I have been afforded the opportunity to attend MLB Games in various ballparks. Orioles at home in Baltimore, Oakland A’s in the Bay, Diamondbacks in Arizona and even my home town Braves in Atlanta. It was last week while attending a Washington Nationals game that I experienced a humbling and reverent moment at the park.

Tens of thousands of fans were finding seats and milling around this spectacular ballpark when a singer began performing the Star Spangled Banner. I was immediately struck by the pitch perfect tone of the performance, but very humbled as I looked around to notice that with rare exception, everyone in the stadium had stopped walking, stopped talking, stood from where they were seated and paid respect to our Country by removing hats and placing a hand over their heart while the National Anthem was performed. I have never felt such reverence and respect from a large audience before and felt proud to be witness to such a moment.

Later in the game, the announcer asked all attendees to remove their hats and wave to show respect for those men and women who serve us today or who had served as members of the Armed Forces. Again I was immediately struck by the enthusiastic applause as the stadium roared in support of our troops.  To feel that energy from so many offering praise to our service men & women was an incredible feeling of pride and joy.

In our Nation’s Capital, in this time of great political divide, it was such a heart warming feeling to know that everyone could come together in unity to show respect for our troops, our veterans and our Country. I am inspired to know that no matter how politics might divide our nation, at that moment, at a Thursday night ballgame, we all stood together in support of our great Country. I am proud to be an American and look forward to a return visit to Washington Nationals Stadium soon to again feel that overwhelming sense of patriotism.

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What Matters Most?

On an average day I balance the flow of customer engagements, dozens of emails and multiple telephone calls, all while traveling or while working from home. On most days I find that I am able to achieve my daily “TO DO’s” and still balance quality time with family. Many days are spent juggling that delicate balance, taking a work call while my child sits quietly in the back seat or worse yet, taking a work call during family dinner time.

However, if being honest and despite your best efforts, how many of those days does the family end up on the bottom end the “TO DO” prioritization? In my case I must admit that this happens more often than I like. Until recently I have been the expert of planning my day down to 15 minute increments and operating my daily calendar with surgical precision.

My wake up call happened in the most sudden and unexpected moment. The day leading up to this moment had been filled with a lunch meeting in Atlanta, followed up by an afternoon of calls and as always, I had calls stacked up with such precision… ” ok, wrap up call with the client at 2:50pm, pick up my son at 2:55pm, and open the conference bridge at 2:58pm for a 3pm conference start time.” Sound familiar?

Being in “work mode” I didn’t notice the dark clouds and as I pulled into the circular drive at my son’s elementary school, I also failed to notice that many of the 45 cars ahead of me in line were empty. I was busy wrapping up my conference call and had barely taken notice of the world around me. As the tornado alarms began to blow it occurred to me that now would be a good time to end my call, walk into the school and check to ensure all was well. As I approached the front door of the school I was escorted to the 5th grade wing. As I opened the double doors into the inner hallway to the 5th grade wing, what I observed instantly took my breath and brought tears to my eyes.

Crouched on the floor were dozens of children, many of whom were whimpering, surrounded by brave adults who were doing their best to calm those children in their care. The mood was somber and at that moment all I knew is that I needed to find my son. The next 90 minutes were the longest minutes of my life… No longer was I concerned about work, quota, reports or next week’s meeting… All that mattered were those people I found myself sharing the hallway with.

Fortunately that day ended well and the storm passed without a tornado touching down. But the memory of that day has helped me to reset my priorities and ensure that my day starts and ends with my children as the top priority. As I affectionately say, “work happens”, but “family matters”.

May your priorities always be balanced and may your most important “TO DO’s” include those who are most important to you.

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Scouting Memories…. Scouting Matters

The Boy Scouts of America spent 2012 celebrating the 100 year anniversary of Arthur Rose Eldred being the first young man to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.  In 2012 BSA celebrates a total of 57,976 scouts achieving their Eagle Scout Award.  As an Eagle Scout, I am proud to be associated with such an esteemed group of people who also achieved such a rank and thankful for all of those who were instrumental in my scouting experience. 

My mother raised 3 sons and all 3 sons earned the rank of Eagle… thank you Mom for your dedication to help us along the path.  I am thankful for the Scoutmasters who led the troops for which I belonged.  Cliff Barton was Scoutmaster for Redwood Area Council Troop 59 in Eureka, CA and Cliff Steele was Scoutmaster for Mt Lassen Area Council Troop 58 in Chico, CA.  Both of these men had a deep love for Scouting and sacrificed so much of their time in support of the troop, the scouts and helping us to live the values taught to us through the BSA program. 

My favorite childhood memories include Scouting.  I was privileged to attend Scout Camp at Ruth Lake, CA  in the Summer, National Scout Jamboree at Fort AP Hill, Virginia, World Scout Jamboree in Calgary, Canada, and a host of camping & hiking events around Northern California.  All of these memories are possible due to the support of my parents and the leadership and sacrifice of the adult leaders.

I wish to congratulate the 57, 976 young men who achieved the high rank of Eagle Scout.   I also challenge each of you to continue with Scouting and give back to those still on the trail.   Serve as a Junior Assistant Scout Master, join the National Eagle Scout Association and plan to continue on as an adult leader.   Your example and your dedication to advancing Scouting will serve to help so many aspire to achieve this rank you now celebrate. 

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