Let’s Be Still

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sitting-by-river-smaller-fileOver the past twelve hours, I have watched my kids play with their friend who came to our home for a sleepover. My wife and a friend went out for a drink. And my buddy Mitch and I worked out together and talked about the election and the state of the States.

My children’s friend is from a family whose parents and grandparents voted for Trump. My wife’s friend voted for Trump. Mitch did not vote for Hillary or Donald. My wife and I voted for Clinton. By the time you have read this you likely have already decided something about everyone mentioned just above. I believe this because I suffer from this same affliction. I wrote this article to help me understand the folly of my ways. I hope this story inspires you to see things differently, too.

My guess is that after reading the second paragraph your thoughts did not travel to, “It is great that kids are having fun in a comfortable home.” You probably did not think that we are fortunate to live in a place where two people can safely go out to talk and laugh over glasses of wine. Maybe after reading about Mitch you thought he did not fulfill his free-world duty or that you didn’t blame him for not voting for either one. I wonder if you noticed that two friends helped make ourselves better by positively pushing each other, or that we were trying to make the world better by just listening.

Odds are, like me, you focused on a narrow band of the person you got a glimpse of and, like me, could not understand how someone could possibly have voted that way. So, here is an idea. Actually, here is my plea.

Just for a moment, let’s be still.

I remember rowing a raft a few years back on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River, in Oregon. On the second night of the trip, a storm packing 90 mile per hour winds and horizontal rain blew through our camp. Tents were knocked over, 100 year-old towering pine trees snapped all around us, and we hurried to the camp kitchen in the middle of the night to put all of the gear on the ground and cover it with tarps so it would not blow away.

In pitch blackness we returned to the tents that remained standing and tried to go back to sleep. It was impossible. Five thousand-pound trees shattering all around leaves you with only two things to do: close your eyes and hope for the best. There was no escaping this maelstrom. There was nowhere to go to get out of the darkest of nights and craziest of storms. I lay awake tossing and turning in my thoughts, believing that my world may be coming to an end, crashing down all around me.

Morning broke with lots of good news. All the camp gear was still there, no one had been crushed, and the sun rolled in behind the mist. My river friends and I were safe and glad to be alive. We were glad to be alive. Because I had an appointment the next day I had to leave my friends after breakfast. They were going to take their time floating the rest of the river and spend one more night. I headed downriver in my raft, all by myself. As I rowed through a narrow all I could hear was the sound of the oar blades breaking the river’s surface and canyon wall rivulets whispering into the river. The peace completely contrasted with the powerful devastation of the night before. And even with a couple of rapids coming up around the corner, just for this moment all was still.

Two days after the election my good friend and musician Joe Fred emailed me a Head and the Heart cover song he had just recorded.* The lyrics are:

“I can get lost in the music for hours, honey, I can get lost in a room.
I can play music for hours and hours, but the sun will still be comin’ up soon.
When the world is spinning a little too fast, it will slow down for we are meant to last.
We’re tearin’ down so we can rebuild, and in this moment the future is feeling fine.
So just for a moment, let’s be still. Just for a moment, let’s be still.”

Just for a moment, let’s be still. Let’s stop arguing. Let’s stop fighting. Let’s stop assuming that someone is an ass or someone else is an idiot.

Just for a moment, let’s just listen. Let’s just relax. Let’s be still.

I have never lost a job as a steelworker or a coal miner. I have never been treated differently because I was black. I have never known the challenges of being a single parent. But I have been desperately in debt and out of work. I have been surrounded by gangs that wanted to beat the crap out of me just because I was different. And I was raised by a single mom who juggled it all. So, like each and every one of us, I can understand what someone else might be feeling, if I try to.

We don’t need to blame each other for the mess we have created. We are each other. We don’t need to point at someone else and say he or she is the problem. I am part of the problem. We do need to recognize that there is big money to be made in a divided society. Think war machines. Think two homes per family. Think greater media profits when viewership is up because of sensationalist news. It is vitally important to be aware of the power and desires of these industries. But don’t assign blame there, either. By default or demand, we support the media. We fuel lobbyists with the economy we make. We elect those who are making decisions for us. We are them. We can change them by changing us.

It’s possible that we have reached a breaking point. We did as a union just before the Civil War. We did as a country when civil rights differences and the Vietnam War tore us apart. While violently painful and scarring, we came through these events and many more like them not unscathed but at least more understanding. To come out right side up and on the other side of this hell, history needs to repeat itself. The vast majority of us need to focus on what we have in common, leading more with our hearts than our heads.

It’s possible that we can’t repair the damage done from this election, where “free” speech allowed kids and young adults and parents and senior citizens trashing each other without even listening to what anyone had to say. In this case, free speech came with a cost. My gut tells me we are not at a breaking point but we are certainly at an intersection. Where do we go from here? I don’t know, but I pray it is somewhere together. How do we get there? I am not sure, but I think I know where we need to start.

Rivers have a way of turning out calm. Rapids can toss and turn over a raft, but below every rapid is a stretch of quiet water. Storms can rile up a waterway until it is unrunnable, but then the storm passes. Time and distance on a river means you will end up moving peacefully to your destination. A journey is made by this, made of old and new friends who marvel at what we all see and feel: the beauty of where you are, the comfort of good company, and the recharge of peace.

Kids like to laugh. Friends like to hang out. Each of us like the idea of a better life. Before saying another word, before taking another step, before trying to figure it all out, let’s just drift a bit, together. Let’s sit in awe at the same goodness that surrounds us all. This can be done even after a hellacious storm. So, how do we restart this journey? Just for a moment, let’s be still.

A Crying Shame Campaign

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end of tears

I just watched a video of Mexican-American children quietly crying that their mom or dad or grandma might be forced to go back to Mexico if Donald Trump is elected. I realize this video could be seen by some as campaign propaganda, to which I say it could be. But to me, it is simply this: So many times I have heard Donald Trump say to so many people that they should “be ashamed of themselves” or “shame on you.” Personally, these phrases turn my stomach, because they say “The world should place shame on you” or “You are to be shamed.”

The lowest emotional state we can feel is shame. It exists in its purest form to self-ostracize, to punish by belittling or banishing oneself, to make ourselves feel unworthy of belonging, unworthy of being loved.

Only a person without empathy would seek to fill people with shame. Only a person lacking compassion would fill living rooms with words that break children’s hearts. This is a shame.

McDonald’s is Back! Let’s Celebrate!

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McDonald's is Back!McDonald’s is back! They are profitable and growing their sales again. After a couple of years of declining revenues, their top and bottom financial lines are looking better. Let’s salute their turnaround!

Are you asking yourself, “Why is this something to celebrate?”

The not-so-subtle message here is that we can improve our culture by not supporting businesses that injure us physiologically and psychologically. As a nation, America stopped eating as much at McDonald’s because their food is harmful to our bodies and our environment. But, as they change their menu a bit and get rid of some toxins, we start to think that maybe they have our better interest at heart.

There is still a long way to go-a long, long way to go-but we can alter industries that hold too little regard for what truly matters. We can reduce the profit-at-any-cost mentality and the economics of fear. Be it media, fast food, banking, insurance, or politics, we can inspire industries to embrace heart-driven values. We can beautifully boomerang big business.

Don’t minimize the power of voting at the polls and with your wallet. Know that turning off the television, taking one less trip through the drive-thru, or switching from a Wall Street bank to your local credit union has an impact. We each and all can do these things. Let’s approach this positively in order to evolve and thrive instead of doing it angrily, at the expense of others. This makes the world a better place. Cheers!


Do We Need To Fear Donald Trump?

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I was recently asked by a friend if we should fear Donald Trump. I answered “that is up to you whether or not you choose to fear him, but I don’t fear him.” I try not to fear anyone or anything. Even though I try not to fear, sometimes it gets me, which ultimately limits me from experiencing more, doing more and being more.

It is not really fear that Donald Trump stirs in me, but pain. I am pained by his message and wonder about the impact it has on my kids. To best understand the impact of his loudly expressed ideas, I take it down to street level. Imagine you are walking through your hometown with your children and you see people and businesses on this or that corner. Can you imagine saying the following to them?

“See those people over there with the burqas (or fez or turban)? Don’t trust them because they practice a different religion than you do. They should not be in our town. And, see those Mexican immigrants working over there? We should chase them out of here because they don’t belong and they are stealing jobs. And, see that guy over there that once disagreed with me? Do you want to go punch him in the face? Its alright if you do. And, see that bank over there? It is okay if you don’t honor your obligations to them even though you could if you just took money out of one pot and put it into another. And, see that woman over there? Go ahead and make fun of her because she is not very attractive.”

I just can’t figure out a way to explain to my kids that this is an okay way to regard and treat others. I also can’t figure out how explain to them that it is okay if someone who wants to lead them feels and acts this way, too.

Fear or Trust in Your Community: It is Your Choice

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Ken TEDx Stage 5

My TED talk seems all the more appropriate given the tragedies of the past few days. Innocents die by senseless, unprovoked acts. Communities become scared and scarred. The media sells fear in order to increase profit. Anger burns. Horrific violence occurs. Innocents die. The cycle repeats and builds.

How do you stop this tornado, this hurricane, this spinning out of control? Take shelter. In each other. See others for who they really are: someone just like you, wanting to trust and be trusted. Turn away from your television and turn to your friends and neighbors. Build your community by seeing what is good and by believing in one another.

The Greatest July Fourth Story Ever

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Dawson Go Kart Parade (2)Just out of first grade, enjoying summer riding his bike, building forts with friends, catching lizards with his sisters, and playing Army, Dawson stood on the curb in the heart of downtown Redmond, Oregon, on July 4. “Dad,” Dawson said during the small town Independence Day parade, “In next year’s parade I want to drive a tank with a turret that actually moves and fires.” I scratched my head, scrunched my face, and replied, “Well, we might be able to do something like that but it may not be a full-on tank with an actual weapon. Let’s think about it.”

For the rest of that summer and through his second-grade school year, Dawson had a blast with his friends doing soldier drills like the belly crawl, marching in order, and training on home-made obstacle courses of old tires, sawhorses, and hula hoops. He created “Dawson’s Army Club” so that he and his friends could just hang out as soldier buddies. He read books and watched videos on World War Two, modern and old tanks, and bombers and fighter jets, learning everything he could about the military. He visited an air museum, spent a day at a living history event amid jeeps, armored personnel carriers, and modern day soldiers, and he wrote a picture book on weapons around the world, passionately pursuing his newfound greatness as a young military expert. And I bought him a go-kart.

By the end of June, the go-kart was painted in camouflage colors and had features like any good military dune buggy. The roll cage was adorned with a decommissioned real-life anti-tank weapon, toy M-60 rifles were strapped to the sides, and the homemade compressed-air marshmallow bazooka was ready for action. Dawson and I had built that contraption that now sat in the hands of giddy Army kids who pulled the trigger to launch king-sized sugar puffs into the air.

The pre-parade training-run day arrived. Dawson and his friends, outfitted with camouflage helmets, real military vests, and jungle and desert-rat face paint, were set for the big day. For a year, Dawson and I had worked together so Dawson’s dream of driving a tank in the parade would come true. The go-kart was now the ultimate stealth desert patrol vehicle, as Dawson’s tank was replaced with this Desert Storm dune buggy he loved. Ready to roll, I pulled the starter cord to start the training. The rope handle snapped clean off. It turned out that I, living blithely on the opposite end of the high mechanical aptitude scale, had bought a relatively funky Craigslist vehicle that only through the grace of the go-kart gods had run well for weeks—up until now. The next day I took the buggy to my neighbor, who ran a small engine repair business.

“Dawson has been planning and building and dreaming of driving a military rig in the July 4th parade, and I have a problem,” I said.

“Don’t worry, we will get it fixed,” replied my neighbor, Daryl. “But, this is a goofy homemade kart. The engine is an irrigation-line motor and this frame was built in someone’s garage.”

Daryl’s employee fixed the cord and made a few other improvements that would help the makeshift machine make it through the parade.

Two days later the kart was back in action for another test drive, and ready for July 4th. The Army Club boys started it up and took it for spins around the school parking lot, preparing to drive it in the parade line between the rodeo horses and classic cars. They drove it hard until it ran out of gas. After filling the tank back up, I tried and tried to get it started. With no luck and three days to go, I took it back to Daryl—my new hero. Daryl ran a busy shop, with three employees, dozens of lawnmowers, chainsaws, and even a few go karts lined up waiting for a fix. Normally, it would take a few days to get your machine repaired, which didn’t matter much considering the speed of growing grass. But this was different. The parade would not wait and Dawson’s fulfilled dream was on the line.

I didn’t even need to plead with Daryl. A retired airline pilot turned small town business owner, making the right decision in order to take care of people was in his DNA. Generosity flowed through his veins. He said he knew how important it was to get it running and would clean the carburetor and add a fuel filter by tomorrow. The next day it was back in action—until it stalled on its final training mission. One last emergency trip to “Super Daryl” and his mechanic left us with hope and a new throttle spring for the big day.

The go-kart inched along a side road towards the Main Street parade start. Dawson, excited and nervous at the wheel, his three friends, me, and Bubba, another father who had decided at the last minute to walk the route with the boys, slowly moved through the blast-oven heat, as the first real hot day of summer swept in. A huge crowd framed the mile-long route, forming a sea of red, white and blue. Dawson rolled forward, gingerly touching the gas pedal so he would not run into the group in front of him.

Then, it died. I pulled and pulled on the starter cord, but it would not start. Dawson, whose eight-year old heart sank as he sat, motionless, yelled “Dad, it’s not running. Please fix it!” Bubba, who was a mechanic, asked Dawson to put the gas pedal all the way down to let air into the superheated flooded carburetor. The engine roared to life and the group again moved forward, with serendipity now along for the ride. We turned the corner and headed into a roar of waving flags and clapping families.

Every foot of the packed parade route kids yelled out, “How cool! I want to do that!” as the Army Club passed. Dawson gave thumbs up after thumbs up, bazooka marshmallows sailed into the crowd, and the emcee at the judges’ table exclaimed, “I can’t believe these are second graders! What a great Army Club vehicle!” The machine fought its way to the end of the route, threatening to die but never giving up. It was as if Daryl’s gift willed it across the finish line. After 30 minutes of pure joy and pride, Dawson pulled to the curb, climbed out, unsnapped his camouflage helmet, high-fived his friends, Bubba and I, and glowed. I stood back and soaked it all in. His dream had come true.

A few minutes later a motorcycle pulled up. The rider jumped from the bike and took off his helmet. It was the mechanic from Daryl’s shop!

“Right on!” he said, “You did it!”

“Thank you,” I said, with tears in my eyes. “You made my son’s dream come true. Thank you.”

He smiled from ear to ear, snapped a photo with the boys around the rig, climbed back on his bike, and roared away.

In his book The Generosity Path, Mark Ewert explains, “The word generous comes from the Latin generosus, which means ‘noble’, ‘magnanimous.’ Magnanimous in turn comes from the Latin words magnu—‘great’—and animus—‘soul.’ Generosity’s rich meaning implies giving freely, giving more than necessary, and giving more than expected. Generosity ennobles us. It makes us great souls. As an added delight, the prefix ‘gen’ means birth. So, generosity causes something new to be produced.”

Two days after the parade Dawson and I walked up the street to a place that had become more than just a repair shop, gratitude held in our hearts and hands. I gave Daryl a six-pack and Dawson handed them a homemade thank you card—with a drawing of a boy driving a military go-kart. Dawson shook Daryl’s hand and told him thank you. Glowing with quiet pride, Daryl tacked the drawing on to the wall.

“I’m guessing you don’t know this,” he said to me as he pointed to his mechanic. “He walked just behind you the entire parade route, carrying his tool kit, staying real close to keep an eye on you. We figured he’d better do that in case the go-kart died and he was needed on an emergency basis.”

My head spun and heart swelled, hit by their caring. “Thank you,” I said, “Thank you.” Overwhelmed by this act of kindness, Dawson and I turned towards home, as tears again filled my eyes.

There is no way truly to understand the power of a dream and the depth of a gift. But on this July 4th, a dad, a son, hard work, dedication, and a loving neighbor brought hope to life. Daryl’s giving made one little boy realize that dreams do come true and that people do care. His generosity—his  great soul —spawned kindness that forever ripples out into the universe, like a funky old go-kart with precious cargo aboard that just keeps rolling along.

Imagination Runs Wild: Our Alaska Family Adventure

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Dawson and Dari GlacierWe spent a week in Alaska a couple of summers ago; my wife Danielle, the former Kenai Fjords National Park Ranger and Mendenhall Glacier Tour Guide, our nine-year-old-just-out-of-football-camp-and-Minecraft-loving son Dawson; our six-year old twin girls, Dari and Delaney, who adore horses and jumping on trampolines, and me, marveling at this place we once called home and filled with memories of days gone by as a worldwide river guide. On this trip, we overnighted in and discovered the hamlet of Gustavus, population 500, and Glacier Bay National Park.

Here is what I wrote one afternoon on this trip while sitting on the deck of our cabin, staring out at our kids as they disappeared into a field of fireweed as tall as corn stalks. “Imagination is now the mother of all invention. Necessity took a back seat a couple of decades ago. IPODs, softer airline seats, microwave diet food, and Camelback water system backpacks make this clear. Imagination drives creativity. Creativity drives invention. Inventions these days make life more comfortable, healthy, and fun. This indicates to me that imagination should run wild among our kids, which it does until they plug into their technology. Then, something happens. It is almost as if their imagination is taken care of by the game inventors, and they just go with the software engineer’s flow, largely restricted in their thinking by the confines of the game, the text, or the Instagram.”

This trip taught me a huge lesson. Let kids experience and explore all that they can, disconnected from electronic distractions that restrict feeling free and deflect here-and-now awareness. I also learned (relearned actually, for the umpteenth time) that when kids view their lives as safe, which is easy to do in a town of 500 that has no roads in or out, they explore hard and play long, and uncover new things. A few times on this trip as I watched them go for this and go for that I had to settle my nerves and still my heart as I realized my concept of safe was too narrow and can get in the way of kids feeling unbound joy, unlimited power, and unbridled reverie.

This trip revealed the power of imagination once again. Our son is now a professional wilderness and wildlife photographer. A month before this trip he found an old Canon camera that uses 35mm film. His imagination of what the photo will look like led him to shoot dozens of shots, without the instantaneous impression of a digital camera that tends to suck us all into looking at that image rather than the world unfolding around us. He wore that old camera around his neck all week and burned through film at the rate that Nathan Jones devours Coney Island hotdogs on July 4.

By the way, there is no place in Gustavus that sells film. For that matter, there is no place in Gustavus that sells organic blueberries or fresh habanero peppers. But you can pick berries just outside your door. And, you can borrow a can a pepper spray from your neighbor if you are going for a hike in grizzly country, which could be the land between you and your neighbor’s place. That my be one of the reasons I got a little nervous as my kids headed into the fireweed forest.

Our daughter, Dari, is now a boat captain. She got to sit in the wheel house, turning the big wood and metal wheel to keep the boat pointed ‘towards the end of that distant island covered in Sitka spruce,’ as the full-time captain requested of his freckle-faced first mate. She scanned the horizon near and far as she did on this entire adventure vacation, in search of more humpback as they scooped herring with their whale-sized mouths and then tail-slapped the water.

And Delaney, our other daughter, is now a hiking guide, imploring us to ‘come on’ to see what is just around the next corner in a thick rainforest rife with puddles, twisted logs, softball-sized mushrooms, ferns taller than she, and lichen pedestals. These made for platforms for her to show us how to outstretch our arms, tilt back our head, close our eyes, and feel the sun on our face and body that filters through to the forest floor. This is where you get more strength to keep walking and smiling, as she soaks it all in and turns it in to innocent energy. Turns out she is her mama’s daughter.

Do six and nine-year olds really know what they want to be ‘when they grow up?’  Probably not, and who really cares right now. It is even less important when their examples are a fifty-four year old dad who is still trying to figure it out for himself and their forty-five year old mom who is just having fun with her kids and half-time job, feeling like she is twenty-three (and looking like it too!).  We are just grateful this was not our first trip into the wilderness, nor our last. We are also thankful that imaginations grew in Alaska. I can’t even guess where we might end up next, and what my kids might imagine then.

The Top Ten Personal Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

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Top Characteristics of Successful EntrepreneursWhat traits does one need in order to be a successful entrepreneur, to choreograph employees, bankers, consultants, customers and others? What personal characteristics are needed to build a business created of vision, heart, desire, and good old blood, sweat and tears?

In order for this list to make the most sense it is important to define exactly what an entrepreneur is. An entrepreneur is someone who identifies a need and fills it by starting and running a business in order to meet that need. This person is generally willing to take greater financial risks than a non-entrepreneur (think employee or corporate manager). According to Forbes Magazine, an entrepreneur’s largely unexplainable urge to fill a need “is primordial and is independent of product, service, industry, or market.”

The top ten traits of successful entrepreneurs are:

  1. Passion:  One successful entrepreneur after another will tell you that true heart-felt belief in what you are doing is as important to an entrepreneur as water is to the world and blood is to the body. If an entrepreneur lacks enthusiasm, hunger, moxie and yearning the best-laid plans will fall to pieces. From Richard Branson to Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey to Galileo, true entrepreneurs are inspired from within to build something bigger than them.
  2. Resilience:  “Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.” Being able to bounce back, having grit, is a critical trait of an entrepreneur. While sometimes the battle of business feels like a boxing match, it is not just the big punches that need to be overcome. Just ask one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time, Muhammad Ali. Every day issues large and small—from roundhouse uppercuts to little jabs—can derail your efforts. A key to thriving as an entrepreneur is getting up, every time.
  3. Self-assurance:  This trait is not cockiness. It is not bravado. It is quiet confidence that allows you to lead effectively. In order to sell what an entrepreneur makes or provides, they have to believe in it. No one is going to champion an entrepreneur’s cause better than him or herself. In a staff meeting or on a sales call, knowing yourself and believing in the benefits that your business brings to the world are qualities that enable success.
  4. Decisiveness:  Employees often prefer to remain employees and entrepreneurs often prefer to become something other than employees because they are comfortable with and like to make decisions. Many a business was started by a frustrated employee who just wanted to get more done and felt constrained by the lack of decisiveness around him or her. This is the mother of direction. It takes knowing how and when to act to give things course and to make things happen.
  5. Courage: An entrepreneur must be inherently brave or learn to be courageous. While timidity has its place here and there, having the guts to make things happen even in the face of doubters or critics is vital for one to be a successful entrepreneur.
  6. Flexibility: Knowing when you don’t know what you should and being eager to learn or adjust is critical to being a successful entrepreneur. Being willing to listen, learn, and change based on conversations, data interpretation, new technologies, or other inputs allows successful entrepreneurs to adapt and grow rather than die adhering to old styles or ideas.
  7. Empathy: There is no greater tool for an entrepreneur to keep employees and clients happy than empathy. Hard driving, heartless and uncaring business owners will miss voices quiet or loud, voices that can make or break a business. Truly understanding others wants and needs helps businesses grow and prosper. Compassion manifests empathy. Empathy creates understanding. Understanding facilitates success.
  8. Drive: The ability to keep going because of or in spite of challenges, successes, setbacks and achievement is a cornerstone to building and growing a business. Simply, entrepreneurs cannot give up. Yet, often, the only one who tells an entrepreneur to push forward is the entrepreneur her or himself, with a “don’t stop now” voice that can waiver at times but on balance never stops.
  9. Financial Intelligence: Being naturally good with money is not a prerequisite to successful entrepreneurship. It helps but it is not critical. Becoming great at understanding money—the finances of a business, the grasping of market pulls, the awareness of economic strengths and weaknesses—is a critical skill to have in order to be a great business owner. People can learn how to be better with money. Financial intelligence can be grown. Flourishing entrepreneurs who are not naturally adept at this hire those who are, to learn from and prosper by. If the company does not financially prosper then the power of a dream, the purpose of a leader, and the good of a business is no more.
  10. Vision: All things start with a thought. The light bulb, Federal Express, Cheerios, and the internet were conceived in the mind and hatched through the heart. Good entrepreneurs are dreamers—visionaries—who put ideas into action. Great entrepreneurs are those who look into the guts of the idea and understand why it matters. The top entrepreneurs never stop imagining “what if” and “why not” and then implementing those ideas that change the world.
  11. Creativity: Are you surprised to see 11 items on a list of ten characteristics? Then I invite you to think like successful entrepreneurs think: outside the box. In fact, in this day and age, discard the box altogether as any relationship to it could  hamper creativity. Successful entrepreneurs are bold, bright, and creative as they make things, serve clients, and develop the best work culture possible. Great businesspeople think as if there is no box and render unique products and services, such as a top ten list with twelve items.
  12. Heart-Driven: The cornerstone to any successful business is this granddaddy of them all. When one combines passion with persistence, decisiveness with drive, and courage with creativity there is only one place this can all come from…the heart. Add to this empathy for those who surround them and you will find that the most sought after and successful businesses are run by people who lead with their heart, at play, at peace, and at the workplace.

Elect Kindness

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I want my kids’ teachers to be positive and understanding. I want friends who are caring. I want my business partners to be considerate and collaborative. I want fellow community members to inspire hope and to lift others up. I want these same things of our president.

I want all children to know they are being led by a good person with a kind soul. I believe most people want this, too.

In this country, and increasingly throughout the world, bountiful creature comforts allow us to move past fear and distrust given that we largely have what we need to survive, and thrive. Today’s competition for necessities and turf is residue of ancient survival drivers. In our hearts, we know this. But ego and greed sadly reignite and inflame the thoughts of “someone taking mine,” until they become paranoias, as the head obtusely takes over the heart.

We have evolved well beyond fear and violence mongering. Let’s elect someone who espouses and lives with ideals that help lift us up, not beat us down.

Into the Fray?

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We Trust Us 2

The fear being spread in this presidential campaign is unreal (literally), unhealthy, disrespectful and distasteful. The “presidential hopefuls” (that’s an ironic phrase) are ignoring our common hopes and dreams only in effort to win votes, as they try to scare us to think differently than we actually do. They long for us to be swept into their frenzy and fray, which would fray relationships with good people who are inherently trustworthy.

We know better. Even with differences we may have person-to-person and community-to-community, we trust each other much more than they give us credit for. How do I know this? Because, I can be trusted, and so can you, and you, and you. You have a choice to listen to them or to listen to your heart and your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Choose the latter.

Thanks For Your Request!