Posts Tagged ‘disappointment’

The Future is Yours

I just did a program for a large multinational manufacturing company, who has been in business for over 70 years. My client’s theme for the conference was … The Future is Yours. In preparing for the program, I decided to do some research on great quotes and statements that have to do with our future. I ran across a statement made by the esteemed economist Dr. Lowell Catlett that really surprised me. He said they did a study in 1960 and again in 2010, which involved over 7,000 economists, that rated their accuracy for forecasting future economic trends; their accuracy rate was 47%. He elaborated on that statement, saying: “What I just told you is, you can flip a coin and beat 7,000 economists by 3%.“ He concluded his point by saying, “You can’t predict the future, but you sure can prepare for it.”

So, I thought I would share with you some thoughts/quotes on “Achieving Success in Your Future.” I think these quotes will help to give you a productive perspective on addressing your success in the future.

The future is unknown, but a somewhat predictable unknown. To look to the future we must first look upon the past. That is where the seeds of the future were planted.Albert Einstein

Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to … doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you imagined. – Anon

I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.George Burns

The more you take responsibility for your past and present, the more you are able to create the future you seek. – Anon

Your future is created by what you do today … Not tomorrow. – Anon

The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Abraham Lincoln

If I had to pick my favorite quote of all of them, it would be the second one: “Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you imagined.” I don’t care where you are in life, how low you have gotten, or how bad it has been … tomorrow you can start fresh, creating a better future. All great achievement begins with deciding what you want and then dedicating yourself to achieving it. So, my perspective on having future success is learning from our past.


If you don’t apply the lessons you have learned from your past … you will never improve your future. There is no rule that says your past is your destiny. You possess the power to create a great future: we all do. Remember, your future success is dependent on your present efforts … so, do something today that you will be happy you did tomorrow.

Let your regrets fuel your future …

so your future will have fewer regrets.





The great writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, once wrote, “There are no second acts in American lives.” Nothing could be further from the truth. There are countless stories of people (and companies) having second, third and even fourth acts. Okay, so things didn’t work out the way you had planned, or you failed miserably, or, or, or … I could go on and on with examples of things that have caused people pain, heartache or money. But no matter what occurred, they then had a decision to make … move on or give up. Sometimes moving on is a whole lot easier being said, than done … but it is truly your only option if you want to be successful. 

When bad things happen, I simply define them as SETBACKS. Setbacks come in many forms, but they all take a toll on us in one way or another. Setbacks can be caused by us, by other people, by nature, or by poor health that we did or didn’t have anything to do with. Today, I am not going to get into why the setback occurred, but I would like to address what you should consider doing next. In my opinion, this one point has everything to do with you succeeding or failing in life.

One man decided to climb a mountain that no one ever had made it to the top. Fifteen people before him had died attempting to conquer this 29,028 foot high beast. The first time he failed miserably, but the next year he tried again and succeeded. I guess we should introduce Mr. Fitzgerald to Sir Edmund Hillary; the first man to climb Mt. Everest. But, how about attempting something totally absurd, where 756 men who attempted it, all died. Admiral Robert Peary wanted to stand at the top of the world, the North Pole, and he finally did it on his 8th attempt.

But, these people put themselves in harm’s way, attempting what seemed to all, to be impossible; they caused their own misery. How do you deal with setbacks that you had nothing to do with? U.S. Triathlon Champion, Karen Smyers, had more setbacks thrown at her on her journey to the championship then any human should ever have to endure. A storm window broke-out in a severe storm and sliced her hamstring requiring and operation to repair it. Then she got struck by an eighteen-wheel truck that broke six ribs along with giving her a lung contusion and shoulder separation. But we aren’t done yet. She took a terrible spill on a bicycle and broke her collar-bone. All of those injuries seemed small compared to her then getting diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which required six hours of surgery to remove the tumors. Unfortunately, they didn’t get it all and she had to have a second operation to remove the remaining cancer.  I would call that quite a list of setbacks, but she never gave up.

I would like to refer you to the profound words of former President Calvin Coolidge who said: “Press on. Nothing can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, ‘press on’ has solved, always will solve, the problems of the human race.”  If I leave you with anything today, it is for you to consider taking advantage of something that no scientist has ever found, but we all know exists: the amazing power of the Human Spirit.

BAD things are going to happen to all of us, but our success rests on what we do next. You might have to step back, regroup, and heal, while you are regaining your spirit and strength. But, just say to yourself, BAD stands for “Begin Again Determined”. You see…

Winners Look at a Setback as the

Starting Point to Their Comeback

First, Last or Next

We have all had a lot of “Firsts” in our lives; our first step, first day of school, first kiss, first dance, first car and our first job. The list can go on and on with the things we have done for the first time. Some were really hard, some we thought were going to be hard but turned out a lot simpler than we feared and some just happened by accident … but we got through them all. Then we all have had some pretty neat “Lasts” in our lives as well: the last time you had to ask your parent’s permission, the last time you had a curfew on a date, the last time you had to study for a French, trigonometry, or chemistry final …or whatever courses you hated. Life is full of lots of great “First and Lasts”.

But, sometimes the “Firsts and Lasts” aren’t fun or exciting. Sometimes they are sad, hard, disappointing or even heart wrenching. I am sure you all can think of those without me having to point them out. I don’t want to address those today. I want to stay focused and positive about a subject I feel very strong about. I feel that truly successful people, those who stay on top of their profession for years, are always moving forward. They keep relevant, thriving, and successful by looking forward and moving on to the “NEXT” challenge, goal and soon to be another accomplishment. They don’t live in the past talking about previous successes. They finish what they are doing to the best of their ability … take a moment to appreciate what they have accomplished … and then move on; they relish what life has in store for them.

Your life is going to have countless “Firsts and Lasts”, whether you want them or not, but your “NEXT” accomplishment is up to you. The day you quit looking forward to your next goal, project, plan, mission, task, or grand undertaking is the day you stop progressing. When actor/comedian George Burns was 79, his career was resurrected in the 1975 film The Sunshine Boys, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He continued to work until shortly before his death, in 1996, at the age of 100. When he died he still had future engagements booked. He had more “NEXTs” planned out all the way up to his last breath. At 86 years of age, the famous poet Robert Frost recited his poem “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s Presidential inauguration. At 88, Michelangelo completed his sculpture Roudandini Pieta, depicting an aged man holding Christ. At 89, classical pianist Arthur Rubinstein performed his famous concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall. At 104, educator/research scientist Ray Crist finally retired after an 80 year career that began at Columbia University.

But “NEXT” is not just for the elderly. Mozart was performing piano concerts across Europe at the age of 6. Bill Gates wrote his first computer program at the age of 13 and at 31 he had made his first billion dollars. At 15, swimmer Dara Torres set the world record in the 50-meter freestyle. Tommy Hilfiger opened his first clothing store at the age of 18, with his hottest item being bell-bottom pants. What do these people all have in common? They all kept moving forward to their “NEXT” accomplishment. 

If you want to study somebody who was really amazing at “NEXT”, take a look at Benjamin Franklin. Mr. Franklin was an author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. He founded the first U.S. hospital, insurance company, police department, fire department, and book circulating library. He invented the Franklin Stove, the lightning rod and bifocals (to name a few). He was involved in founding two colleges. On top of all of those accomplishments, Mr. Franklin was also an Alderman, Governor, Ambassador and one of the founding fathers of the United States. He kept active and working right up until he died at 84 years of age. Over 20,000 people attended his funeral. Mr. Franklin’s entire life was a continuous journey of “NEXTs”. Here is an anonymous quote that I think sums up nicely the point I am trying to make. 

“You can’t start the NEXT chapter of your life, 

if you keep re-reading the last one.”

Well … I’ll Show You

There are two sides to rejection: those who got rejected and those who did the rejecting. Instead of crawling in some hole and giving up when you get rejected, making the REJECTERS right about you, why not see it as a challenge and simply say to yourself, “I’ll show you.” There is no law that says REJECTERS are always right. In fact, there are countless examples of the REJECTERS being terribly wrong. The REJECTERS were the ones who made a HUGE mistake. The REJECTERS turned out to be the ones who were REALLY SORRY for the decision they made.

One of my favorite stories on being rejected is about the famous cartoonist, Charles Schulz, who created the world-renowned comic strip Peanuts. Charles asked his girlfriend, Donna Johnson, whom he had dated for three years, to marry him and was REJECTED. Yep. She turned him down and married a person who had a more stable job, rather than marry a cartoonist. The Peanuts comic strip went on to be published in over 70 countries and earned Mr. Schulz approximately $40 million annually. Mr. Schulz immortalized his rejecting girlfriend by creating the little red-head girl in his Peanuts strip, who always rejected Charlie Brown. Mr. Schulz … showed her.

Marilyn Monroe was REJECTED by Twentieth Century-Fox production chief, Darryl Zanuck, after just one year under contract because he thought she was unattractive. Well … Marilyn showed him. Tom Cruise was REJECTED by the casting director for the television series FAME because he wasn’t pretty enough. Well … Tom showed him. Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, originally owned fifteen Ben Franklin Hardware Stores operating under the name, Walton’s Five & Dime. He went to the executives of Ben Franklin Hardware Store franchises and suggested opening discount stores in small towns. The executives rejected his idea. Well … Sam showed them.

The manager of the Grand Ole Opry fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Elvis, “go back to driving a truck because you will never make it as a singer.” Barbara Walters was told by the executive producer of 60 Minutes to “stay out of television.” Jay Leno applied for a job at Woolworth’s but failed the employment test. Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, took the original idea to the executives of CBS, NBC and ABC and was REJECTED by all of them. They all thought the idea of a 24 hour news network was stupid. Decca Records rejected The Beatles, saying, “We don’t like your sound, and guitar music is on the way out”. Authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen who wrote, Chicken Soup for the Soul, received 134 rejections from publishers. Other famous authors such as William Faulkner, John Grisham, E.E. Cummings, Rudyard Kipling, J.K. Rowling and Stephen King were all rejected by publishers. Well … they all showed them!

It looks like, to me, that when you are rejected you have now joined a pretty elite group of people … if you decide to prove the REJECTER wrong. Yes, the chronicles of world history are littered with REJECTED people, ideas, concepts, manuscripts, songs, paintings, and patents that later turned out to be someone or something special. So, if you want to take it to the next level, put three words in your arsenal that will dispel all failures, ridicule, mockery and rejectionI’ll Show You.

Just imagine a convention where all the STUPID REJECTERS in the world showed up and you got to meet them. You probably wouldn’t remember their names, only the fact that they were the ones who REJECTED Elvis, or Marilyn or, The Beatles. Those REJECTERS are all kicking themselves in the butt because “the rejected” proved them wrong. Elvis sold over 1 billion records with eighteen #1 hits … we are all glad he didn’t go back to driving a truck.

The famous movie actor, Sylvester Stallone, once said, “I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.” Take rejection as a wake-up call … someone sounding the alarm for you to recommit yourself to prove them wrong.

Detractors, Critics, and Rejecters are Only Right

If You Let Them

The Amazing Power of Four Words

Some say the four most powerful words in coaching are, “I believe in you.” I think we need to expand that to teaching, mentoring, management, leadership, parenting, and relationships. What a wonderful thing to tell somebody, “I believe in you.” Think of how it made you feel when it was last said to you. Oh, there’s the problem … are you having trouble remembering when someone last said it to you. That is truly a shame, because the words are SO POWERFUL and have a way to motivate, inspire, and encourage us all. But the flip side of this is, when was the last time you told somebody those words? Are you having trouble remembering when? That is a shame as well.

In our personal lives, so many times we take for granted the ones we love the most and give them the fewest compliments. Oh sure, they know we love them, they know we think they are really talented, they know we appreciate the little and big things they do for us, they know we feel we can always count on them … sure … they know. Right? A compliment not given is no compliment at all. Inspiring words not shared are not inspiring at all. Don’t assume people know how they are doing, when your mouth never utters a word.

In our business lives, we also take people for granted. The U.S. Department of Labor found that 46% of the people who quit their jobs, did so, because they didn’t feel appreciated. WOW! We spent the money to find them and train them, but we can’t utter a few words every so often to let them know they are doing a good job. The words are free … they cost you nothing … but not saying them can end up costing you a lot.

I have had bad teachers and good teachers, bad coaches and good coaches and bad bosses along with some good bosses. I can’t ever remember any bad teacher, coach or boss being a positive person. NOT ONE. But, I can remember the good teachers, coaches and bosses who all had a positive side to them. I wanted to do more for them and not let them down. I would never want to disappointment them because THEY BELIEVED IN ME and told me so.

What a wonderful thing it would be to have someone say … “Because of you, I succeeded.” “Because of you, I didn’t give up!” We all need affirmation; some of us need it more than others. If you want people to produce more, raise their level of competence, perform at a higher level, and deliver more than expected, then let the following four word phrases become part of your everyday life. Great teachers, managers, coaches, and bosses all know they should …

Show them the way                 Help them keep trying             Make them feel special

Help them learn more             Show faith in them                    Prepare them to win

Inspire them to succeed         Be a confidence builder           Be there for them

You will be amazed what a positive effect the phrases “I believe in you!” or “You can do this!” can have on people. If you don’t believe me, just give it a try. It sure can’t hurt to try and it costs you nothing to do it … but it could be costing a lot … to stay silent.



Shed Those Funky Feelings

Lack of confidence affects job interviews, promotions, athletic /musical/ theatrical performances, negotiations, romance, and leadership … to name just a few. Now, let’s take it a step further. Let’s add someone trying to tear you down by telling you that 1) you’re the problem 2) you are really lousy at this, or 3) you will never amount to anything.  

I have a dear friend of mine who is going through a rough time in their life, which has caused them to doubt themselves. When you think about all the things that life can throw at you, that are totally unexpected, we “ALL” can have some good reasons to doubt ourselves.  A company being downsized and having to let go 500 people can cause each one of those people to doubt their ability. Did they get let go because of their lack of talent, knowledge, skill, or attitude?

The next thing you know you are in a FUNK, unhappy, maybe even considering yourself to be a little depressed; well, welcome to the human race. You sure aren’t alone. I truly believe that everyone, and I do mean everyone, at some point in their life, doubted their abilities, value, talent, skill, or self-worth. Recording star and multiple Grammy winner, Taylor Swift, (who made $50m last year) said, My confidence is easy to shake. I am very well aware of all of my flaws. I am aware of all the insecurities that I have.”  So, how in the world can you get to feeling better about yourself?  Even though it may seem that other people and circumstances are to blame for your self-doubt, that really is not so. You are the person truly responsible for your own mental state.

That last statement is easy to say, but hard to handle. Telling someone to “Snap out of it”, “Get over it,” and “Let it go,” doesn’t usually get great results. So, the most important thing to understand is “YOU” hold the keys to opening the doors to your confidence. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Before you give value to anything bad being said about you, first give some thought to who is saying it and for what reason. People who are biased, prejudiced, egotistical, uncaring, jealous, bitter, nasty, envious, impartial, and/or opinionated could have a real tendency to want to tear other people down, just to make themselves feel better. They could feel threatened by your talent and want to hold you back to help their own career. Would you give value or worry about what a person said if you knew they were a stupid, shallow, conceited jerk? SO, don’t give ANY VALUE to what others say … except from friends who are offering constructive, helpful suggestions.

Never let REJECTION kill your confidence. Many great people have been insulted with dreadful rejections. The great writer, Rudyard Kipling, in one rejection letter, was told he doesn’t know how to use the English language. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas. A so-called expert once said of the NFL Hall-of-Fame football coach, Vince Lombardi: “He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.” If these great people had believed what others were saying about them … they would have never been successful.

Don’t let anyone ever bring you down, make you think bad of yourself, tell you what you can and can’t do, hold you back, destroy your self-respect,  take your smile,  decide your self-worth … and never accept as fact that you aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, creative enough, good enough, talented enough, or committed enough to succeed. Move past their opinions and never look back; rearview mirrors are for cars … not life.



If you don’t believe in yourself …

why should anyone else believe in you?

Barn Movers

In 1981 Donna and Herman Ostry bought a farm in the small town of Bruno, Nebraska, about 60 miles outside of Omaha. The farm came with a big barn that had been built back in the 1920’s and also had a nice little creek that flowed through their property. The creek was both a blessing and a problem for the Ostrys. It was great to have readily available water for their farm animals but it also flooded a lot during heavy rains. The barn floor seemed to always be wet and muddy and then in 1988 they had a huge flood where the water rose about 30 inches up the side of the barn walls.

 The Ostrys desperately needed to move the barn to higher ground but the cost to contract with a company that has both the capability and equipment to move a barn of this size was prohibitive.  One night sitting around the dinner table, Herman Ostry commented that if he had enough people he could pick the barn up and move it to higher ground. Everyone laughed off the comment as silly … everyone except his son Mike.

I wonder if “young” Mike knew that people scoffed at the idea of traveling 30 miles per hour on a railroad car. People actually thought that traveling that fast would stop the circulation of the blood. I wonder if “young” Mike knew that Eli Whitney was laughed at when he showed his first cotton gin, that Thomas Edison had to install his electric light free of charge in an office building before anyone would look at it, that Westinghouse was considered a fool for suggesting you could stop a train with wind, or that Samuel Morse had to plead before 10 Congresses before they would even look at his telegraph (which revolutionized communication). Maybe “young” Mike just thought … WHY NOT … and then he set out to figure out a way to make his Dad’s statement a reality.

Young, inexperienced, doesn’t-know-any-better Mike did some calculations and figured out that the barn weighed about 17,000 pounds. He then figured out that he could design a steel grid system that he could place under the barn that would weigh another 3,000 pounds. So, the total weight that would need to be lifted was 10 tons. When you think of that amount of weight to be moved, you usually think of a giant crane … not a whole bunch of people. But “young” Mike figured if he could gather up about 350 people, they would all need to only be able to lift approximately 50 pounds each.

Mike presented his calculations to his Dad and they both thought it would work. Mike and his Dad got a little lucky on the timing to present their idea to their small town. Nebraska was getting ready to celebrate its centennial and the town of Bruno had put together a committee of townspeople to decide on different things to do for the celebration. Mike and his Dad convinced the town to make the barn moving a part of the celebration. The word got out and over 4,000 people from 11 states witnessed the event.  Here is the YouTube link to the actual event.

A little before 11 a.m. on July 30th, 1988 … in front of the local television cameras, 344 people moved the barn 143 feet up a gentle slope to its new foundation. All in all, it took 3 minutes to move the barn. So, the next time somebody hits you with an idea that you think is silly or maybe even impossible … think again, and never discount the POWER of TEAMWORK.

Re-live this idea again in your head. Someone in a meeting says, “Let’s move a 17,000 pound barn, 143 feet, up a slope, and do it in less than 3 minutes, using no machinery.”  Now that idea sounds pretty nuts, ridiculous, stupid, impossible, and far-fetched to me. But a need, a desire, a creative mind, a well- designed plan and a giant team, all working together, made it happened.

 Teamwork Really Makes the Dream Work 

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