Worried? Take Action

It’s pretty simple.

When you’re worried, the best way out is to take action. Channel the energy in a positive way.

How, you ask?  Focus on being the subject in the sentence, not the object.   Do what Dale Carnegie suggested a long time ago:

Figure it out, define for yourself the worst possible outcome; accept it; then work to improve the situation so the result is better than the worst outcome, which you’ve already accepted is possible.

In other words, don’t fret, FIGHT,  to make it better. Take a deep breath, steel your resolve, steady your gaze, and go FORWARD. 

Get up a little earlier, stay up a bit later, work a little longer, do a few reps, hold that plank another 15 seconds, say no to the next beer, or cookie or hit, whatever it is that you can control, then DO SO, to make your situation better. 

The result? Less worry, more GOOD.


When I studied political science in college, we learned about linkage. The concept was applied with respect to the Cold War, the superpowers, and linking of attitudes, policies, behaviors, actions and consequences. 

Linkage is also true with respect to circumstances in our personal and professional life. Very little happens in a vacuum.  

Example? Last night things got crazy busy at home. There were crying, fussy kids, my wife was out with some girlfriends…I was solo dad trying to keep it together. 

 Everyone survived, but I didn’t get things done that I needed to: a few letters, some financial review, a couple emails, dishes, they got pushed out. That situation slowed everything down for today, changed the dynamic, and required adjustment. 

My response after some admittedly strong frustration? I poured a little cold brew coffee, took a few deep breaths, and considered my reality. 

What do I need to shift on the list, what must still get done on time, any meetings I can reschedule? I shuffle, jive, shift, and all the while, work to move things forward.

This sort of thing happens more than I’d like to admit. It’s why being able to handle change, adjust, figure out the best next step, and have a good attitude all the while is helpful. I do ok, overall.

I remind myself, 

“As long as you’re doing what you want to do, taking care of the people and things you’re responsible for, you’re on the right path.”

Change is the only constant, as they say.

The trick as I mentioned earlier, is to keep a good attitude overall as you go through the process. You need to maintain your focus on the big picture, even as you’re required to adjust your tasks, your tactics, your priorities.

Realizing that things are linked together, that you have to be ready to modify your plan and approach, that’s a big part of the secret.  

Change happens, as noted. The question is, what do you need to do to keep moving forward? 

The linkage between your attitude, how you approach your goals, and the realities of daily life is undeniable. How you respond is up to you. 

Momentum: The Magic Potion

Finding a little momentum goes a long way.

This fact is especially when you’re sharpening up your focus to get sh*t done.  The approach isn’t new or complicated, but it is important.

Check your list.

If you don’t have one, write one down.  Depending on your level of motivation and focus as you begin, I suggest writing everything down.  The more items, the more focus you’ll have.

Consider the priorities you’ve got in front of you. Consider the time it will take to complete the various tasks on the list.  Don’t get overwhelmed by the list, be empowered by your effort to get it all down in front of you.  Once you’ve got a good representation of what needs to be done, it’s time to get after Number One.

My personal approach is to target a couple quick hits, items I can accomplish pretty quickly, to get some positive energy going in the right direction.  As you line out items on your list, you can feel the sense of accomplishment. Your focus will increase, your resolve to continue down the path will strengthen, you’ll be one your way forward.

So make that list and get after it.

The momentum you create will make the difference in your effort.  It will make it GOOD.

The Will to Persevere is Your Superpower

Listening to a story told recently, I was reminded how important a person’s Will to Persevere is.

Simply said, that trait is a real-live, bona-fide superpower.

The ability to keep going no matter how difficult things get, how many set backs you experience, is invaluable.  Perseverance will help you in work, in school, in sports, in tragedy, in love, coping with addiction, and suffering, and sickness and life.

There is nothing more powerful than the ability to get up after being knocked down, dust yourself off, and move forward. Everyone experiences failure. Those who shine are the ones that keep going.

If you’re a parent, there’s no more important trait to instill and nurture in your children. Teach them the critically valuable skills of perseverance and you’ll give them the tools they need to flourish throughout their lives.

Perseverance will serve you more faithfully and consistently and powerfully than any other trait.  What’s more?  It will lead you to happiness.

Leadership: The Power & Effect

leadershipA long while back, my boss at the time said to me in a jestful manner after I asked to leave work a little early to keep an appointment, “Sure you can leave early, just come in at 6:30am and don’t take a lunch.”

I knew he was kidding, but that response still stung a bit.  Thinking back, it still smarts.

I’ve been in the workforce a long while at this point — most of my working life as an “exempt employee” (no overtime pay). I don’t think twice about working past 5:00pm on any given day, or before 8:00am for that matter, when the job situation requires it.  I want to do right by the company I work for.

In return, I want my employer to afford me respect and latitude to keep my work and personal life in harmony.  An occasional “work hours” appointment seems reasonably part of that harmony.  It’s a simple fact: we all need to take care of personal things during business from time to time.

The situation I experienced back then was instructive, because it put context and words around the way I wanted to be treated, and also how I treated those that worked for me.

It shed light on the management style I prefer (to work under, and to use in supervising others), and also illustrated the effect a supervisor has on his or her people.

The best work situation (I would suggest) is having friendly relations with your co-workers, including your supervisor, at a reasonable level.  Such relationships build a sense of team, make the workday more productive, and more enjoyable.

Being a friendly work colleague, and a supervisor/manager at the same time, means balancing the two parts of the relationship, with important consideration to the respect and latitude our busy lives often require (granted, both must be earned and maintained, for sure).

Thinking more about that relationship, it’s similar to the role we have as parents, the same as teachers have with students to a degree, and also coaches have with their players  (both depending on the age gap and maturity level).   Respect and understanding are key to successful relationship, personal development, productivity and success too.

If you’re in a leadership position as a supervisor or manager, teacher or coach, and certainly as a parent, the mission is similar.  Your job is to build a good working relationship with those under your guidance and responsibility, be clear about the expectations, develop mutual respect, help them when needed and otherwise, let your people run their own affairs.  The results will speak for themselves.



Truth Resonates

This retweet from Friday got more looks and likes than I’ve seen in a while. The reaction brings to mind something I’ve suspected is true in social media for a while: 

Share things that resonate, and people will respond. In this case i agreed with and added to the insight shared by another voice on twitter. 

It made sense to me, I agreed with his remark, and took the thought a bit further with a comment and retweet. 

The result? A spark was struck that resounded true for others. I like that. Sharing a bit of truth. Having a positive effect. Spreading the GOOD. 

With thanks and props to @JarridWilson for the inspiration.

Sublime? Redux. 

A while back I wrote a piece entitled “Sublime Sunday”. The basic idea was, find the joy and the peace in the subtle, in the mundane. I talked about laundry and hot coffee and being happy in the moment.

Taking that approach a bit further now, let’s diversify the application of this simple idea to now include coping, dealing with struggle. Here’s the concept in that context. 

Every day pretty much, each of us probably faces some difficulty. It’s in these moments that we should pause, take a step back, and realize there is a bigger picture to consider. Especially when there is a lot of emotion involved, finding a bit of space to think clearly and decide the best course of action is critical. 

What happens when we follow this path? We check our ego, check our anxiety and even our fear, and rise to a higher plane, to manage the situation.

Start with five deep breaths and enter that space in your mind the next time you’re struggling. You might be surprised at the results. 

This Old Truck

Lots of stuff goes into how I feel about this old truck.

It was my grandpa’s a long while back.  I know that’s a big part of it. He’s been gone almost 20 years now. Many of his attributes that I still cherish so somehow live on in that grey king-cab c. 1982.  I know that’s a bit silly, but that’s what goes through my head.

What attributes, you ask? Attributes like strong work ethic, good habit, perseverance, and a sense of thrift come to mind. I remember near the end of his life he called himself an old cowboy. This from a guy with a doctorate and lifetime of education administration on his resume.

What I knew about him was his love of the outdoors, and physical labor, and doing things right.

Driving around the ranch, he kept an old whiskey bottle filled with tap water in the cab, in case he got thirsty. 

He was a  traditional guy, born before WWI, just before the Great Generation. He’d have one bourbon, maybe two, before dinner. Not more than that. A good lesson right there.

He was a hunter. He got up before the sun everyday. Whether it was deer season or not.  He got up long before the sun, in fact. Good lesson there too. 

He taught me about figuring things out, and plodding forward, and being responsible, and making good decisions, and utility, and making due. 

That old truck means all these things to me, woven into the thread-bare seats, in the stained floor carpet, the rusted side, the tool box in the back cab.  

I’m grateful it’s parked out front and ready to go when needed, still providing simple utility, and a link to my family past.

I’m grateful for all those lessons all these years later, still running strong in my mind.  Like that old truck rumbling down the dirt road, those thoughts keep going, keep me going. 

Yep, I’m grateful for this old truck.