Archive for June, 2009

Heroes

June 24, 2009

So far in my life, I have three heroes. Each of them are my heroes for different reasons. As you read about mine, think of the heroes in your life and why they inspire you.

My first hero is Emmitt Smith, #22 of the Dallas Cowboys, 4 rushing titles, Super Bowl XXVIII MVP, 3 time Super Bowl champion, the one who set a record with 25 rushing touchdowns in 1995, Dancing With The Stars 1st place Champion in 1996.

“For me, winning isn’t something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowds roar. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream.”  Emmitt Smith

Above my microwave cart, next to a Dallas Cowboys calendar, hang two Emmitt plaques. I won one of the plaques at a sports bar for knowing the dimensions of the goal posts – a silly thing for a girl to know but the information came in handy when I needed it.

Emmitt is my hero because he stands for excellence in everything he’s involved in. “I gave everything I possibly could to the game, on and off the field,” Emmitt proclaimed about his 14 year NFL career. Taking1st place on Dancing With The Stars was just another example of Emmitt and his life of excellence. He may not be ESPN’s choice for announcer of the year but Emmitt sets the standard for what it means to give 100% of yourself 100% of the time.

My second hero is Ty Pennington of Extreme Make-over Home Edition, rated the top 20 of all television programs. The show has won two Emmys for Outstanding Reality Program and two People’s Choice Awards. Ty spends 240 days out of the year working on the show, and enthusiastically says it’s, “the greatest job in the world.” When Ty is asked what makes him tick, he’ll say, “It’s about the joy of doing things for others. ‘Extreme Makeover’ is about family, about America and about these random acts of kindness that can restore your faith in people.”

Ty is my hero because of what he gives back to communities throughout America – his name is synonymous with fresh hope and second chances and that’s exactly what this country needs.

My final hero is obscure next to the first two. You probably won’t even recognize his name and his face will probably never grace your t.v. screen. His name is Jorge Lacerda and he was a fellow cube mate at my former place of employment. I worked about 10 feet from Jorge and gained a wealth of knowledge from being in his presence. My guess is that Jorge is in his early 50’s.  His slow, calculated movements as a result of Parkinson’s Disease and his Brazilian accent really made understanding his speech a listening challenge. His mind, however, was as brilliant as they come.

Jorge is my hero because of the productive way he uses his time. He commuted more than an hour every day to get back and forth to work and he did this for 20 years. Instead of listening to news or other depressing garble, Jorge used his drive time to learn 5 languages. The amazing way Jorge used what is normally dead time inspires me to think about what I can accomplish with the time available to me. Will I waste it or use it to make myself more valuable to the world?

What about your heroes? Who are they? Why do they inspire you? Here’s a final thought – are you a hero to someone? Your kids? Your wife? Your family? Your church? Take some time to think about how you can cultivate and forge a path to being a hero to those around you.

Draft Picks

June 19, 2009

The NFL Draft is always an exciting time. Coaches have been watching potential talent for their teams, hopeful players, waiting for their chance to play with the team of their choice, and of course the fans, anxious  to know who will make their team stronger the next season.

I was thinking of how the draft relates to being a solopreneur and a revelation hit me…you know, one of those ah-ha moments. If you think about what the draft is all about, it’s picking the right players to be on your team…period. Sure, there are tons of politics involved; salary caps, signing bonuses and the like. But, basically, it’s picking the right players to be on your team.

What players are on your team? Do you maybe have some you’d like to trade? Are there a few who want too much money for their time and talent? If you work alone or have a small business, here are a couple of pointers on choosing top-notch talent for your team: This includes your vendors as well.

1) Research – Find out all you can about the character and business ethics of the person or company. Do online searches, ask around to find some feedback. Check and verify references.

2) Give Yourself Options – Don’t just pick the first vendor that comes your way. Check out a few to see how they do businesses, what they can offer you that the competitors can’t and what the cost of doing business will be.

3)Money, Money, Money – People seem to like the stuff. When building your team, use wisdom, especially in the area of finances. If you are a solopreneur and need a team member to handle those yucky books, make sure it’s someone with strong ethics who has a healthy perspective and vision of YOUR money.

As a solopreneur and businessperson, don’t you want to be surrounded by top-notch team members?   Team members might include a graphic designer, web designer, digital photographer, printing company,  or accountant.

Interception

June 11, 2009

According to Wikipedia, “an interception is a very specialized move that occurs when a quarterback’s pass is caught by a player on the opposing team. This leads to an immediate change of possession during the play: the defender who caught the ball immediately assumes the role of the offense and attempts to move the ball as far towards the opposing goal as possible. Following the stoppage of play, if the interceptor retained possession of the ball, their team takes over possession at the spot where he was downed.”

According to the player who got intercepted, it’s simply a pick. An interception can change the course and momentum of the game.

In love, life and work, we all get intercepted on occasion. An opponent snatches the ball in mid air. Opponents can range from financial setbacks, loss of health, a car accident, the unexpected loss of a loved one or even cruel, insensitive words from someone you thought was your friend. It can also be your own self – sometimes we are our own worst enemy – and we are picked by self-doubt or the sum of poor choices.

When NFL players are picked off, you’ll typically see a few different reactions. 1) Mad; mad at themselves for allowing it to happen or mad at a receiver for not being at the right place at the right time, 2) Dejected; realizing their failure to do the job properly, or 3)Gets back up and continues the game with strength and style. Brett Favre is a great example of this.

What have you been intercepted by?

What has caused you to lose your grip?

Getting mad provides a temporary adrenaline rush but does it accomplish anything useful? Does it make the opponent go away? NO. The opponent still has the ball. Getting dejected drains you of precious energy and just as with getting mad, it does not accomplish any purpose.

Will you choose to remain mad or dejected or will you get back up and continue the game of life with strength and style? We can do what we can to protect ourselves from some interceptions but not all. Life happens and each and every event is part of our own unique story.

If we don’t learn from our life events, then that’s all they are…events. If we learn to press forward with strength and style, a purpose has been accomplished in our life; we’ve learned, we’ve matured, we’re internally stronger.

Our interceptions might change the course of our life or drastically change our momentum. How we choose to react is our CHOICE.

How will you react to your interceptions?

4th and Long

June 4, 2009

A football team in a 4th and long position is poised to make something out of nothing. It’s a long shot…slim chance. The Dallas Cowboys’ new show, 4th and Long on Monday nights at 10:00 p.m. on Spike gives 12 wanna-be players the chance for a spot on the team.  There are only a few remaining and the final two men standing will have their own 4th and long for a single place on the roster.

How often do we, the freelance or small business person, have our chance at the 4th and longs? Every day? Hopefully not, but we’ve all been in that position where it’s a long shot to get that big client or pay that business debt off once and for all, or meet that right person who will give us our big break. What are our options for play calling on that 4th and long?

  1. Use tried and true methods – Play it safe.
  2. Give the ball to someone else on your team – Delegate
  3. Take a gutsy chance and push forward toward that 1st down – Make something from nothing

O.K., now that we’ve made our choice, what happens next? In pro football, does a team always make 4th and long? A resounding NO way. Does the team give up? NO way! So what if we take that gutsy chance and it doesn’t work out to our expectations? Oh well…you’ll have the ball again and it will be 4th and long and you’ll try it again.

But what happens when you do make a daring play call and you get that client or that big break? You have to be ready for that too – ready to accept the fact that you’ve made something from nothing – ready for humble self-confidence (yes, the two can coincide side-by-side) – ready to plan your next strategy for winning your game.

What 4th and long are you facing today and what will your next play call be?