Into the Woods

In Active Learning, Alignment, Leave Your Comfort Zone on March 29, 2015 at 1:18 am

INTO THE WOODS.001How often do you place yourself in new territory?

How often to you venture into the unknown?

When all alone in a place you’ve never visited before, what knowledge, tools, or techniques do you use to find your way back to a safe place?

And when you stop to think about it, are we ever truly in mortal danger? Hmmmm … Perhaps there’s the one in a million chance that a tree limb might fall and end your hike. But are we not better served to focus on simply listening to the wind or keeping our eyes and ears open for signs of wild life while enjoying ourselves on a sunny day hiking peacefully in a National Park?

There are 3 types of people in this world.

In Communication, Epiphanies, Hero, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone on January 20, 2015 at 7:38 pm
Statue of Chris Kyle, American hero and author of American Sniper

Statue of Chris Kyle, American hero and author of American Sniper

Just yesterday, on the MLK Jr.-federal holiday, my wife and I went to see the movie, American Sniper. This movie is not for the faint of heart. But I encourage you to see it. Witness for yourself the story of a true American hero, Chris Kyle. Form your own opinions and, please, share these with your family and friends.

For me, the most telling aspects of this film are the following lessons:

a) Early in the movie we overhear a father teaching his children by way of a parable:

“There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs … Now, some people prefer to believe that evil doesn’t exist in the world — those are the sheep. And then you got predators who use violence to prey on the weak. They’re the wolves. And then there are those who have been blessed with the gift of aggression, and the overpowering need to protect the flock. These men are the rare breed that live to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdog.”

Chris Kyle was a sheepdog. And I’m betting that he’s still on watch as a member of St. Micheal‘s legion of angels ready to do battle against evil if called on again.

b) At the theater where I saw this movie, you could have heard a pin drop as the final credits of American Sniper rolled on screen. This AMC movie house was sold out and unlike when I’ve watched other war movies or action flicks at this same theater, no one let out an inappropriate hoop, holler, or even muttered one sarcastic word. Which leads me to my final point.

c) Now as for the comments by comedians Bill Maher and Seth Rogen or the acclaimed film-maker Michael Moore … Well, I don’t think that they are evil wolves. Rather, they are sheep. They live in and profit from a relatively safe environment made possible by men and women like Chris Kyle. And to put a finer point on this stick … It’s my opinion after watching the news and reading a few so-called news stories trending today, there’s not a ram in the bunch.

So the next time you run into a veteran. Do more than just thank him or her for their service. Smile. Shake their hand. And if you are in a hiring position — for this is Linked In, the social media network aimed at business — grant them an interview and give our veterans a little credit for standing up, stepping forward, and filling the role of sheepdog.


In Alignment, Coaching, Conflict Resolution, How To, Leave Your Comfort Zone, time management, Toastmasters on December 30, 2014 at 6:37 pm
"You may be whatever you resolve to be." -- Thomas Jonathan Jackson

“You may be whatever you resolve to be.” — Thomas Jonathan Jackson

This is the time of year when many folks are on vacation or they check into work only to realize that their colleagues are still on vacation. So what does one do when the real work, the  collaborative team work cannot be done?

Well, you may decide to dive into that project that only you can do when you’re not interrupted by others. Or, you might pull out a clean sheet of paper and create a list under a title or scribble called:
New Years Resolutions,
Resolve in 2015,
Goals for the New Year, or (simply)

Those who go about making up their minds in a well-researched and organized way, one might GOOGLE the terms: resolutions or goal-setting just to see what’s trending. Nearly every news agency or media house has a feature story entitled “the top ten ____ for 2015” or (if they have one-half the space) “five secrets to success in the new year.”

The persistent folks among us might pull out their list from last year, assuming that they’ve kept these lists and haven’t yet crossed off all that was imagined last winter. 2015 will become an extension of 2014. Alternatively, that which didn’t get done last year may never get done and new obsessions will likely replace old fixations on how to perfect ourselves via healthier choices, stronger relationships, or an uncluttered house.

Regardless the category of people you best relate to, do yourself a favor and try to keep your list short and sweet. You are more likely to accomplish your goals if they are few in number and you can focus your attention and energy on completing one, two, or no more than three goals.

Success in the new year may be based on early victories and creating good habits. And who says that we have to start our year with such lists? Why not pause every couple of months to check on our progress, re-evaluate the costs/benefits of accomplishing these projects, and perhaps start anew.

Resolutions are like plans. It is not the resolution or the plan that’s important but the resolve you bring to your daily planning that ultimately pays off.


Additional helpful / interesting websites: … for those looking to the US government for advice on making their resolutions … for my fellow Pittsburgh Steelers fans looking for guidance on what to do between playoff games … for my Toastmaster friends and those who enjoy reviewing lists of accomplishments from the past year


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