Blog Entries

Author: Eric Rodwell Created: 7/30/2007 7:54 AM
Living and working my mission and vision and sharing my thoughts along the way.

The Holiday Season means many things to many people. For some it brings happiness and joy as they get together with family and friends and celebrate the holiday and look forward to the New Year. For others the Holiday Season brings heartache, despair, and sadness as they are unable to share happiness and joy with others. As you spend time with your family and friends over the next few weeks I ask you to reach out and help this later group of people. Whether this is through volunteer efforts, monetary means, prayers, or just saying Hi and wishing that mean old neighbor of yours Happy Holidays, each of us needs to do our part to make this the best time of year for everyone around us. In fact, we should be doing this throughout the year and should not need a reason to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

Each of us has a unique ability to make a positive impact in the lives of others and I feel it is our obligation as human beings to assert this ability. Our thoughts and actions determine who we are and how we treat other people. Get out there and spread the Holiday spirit and do not forget that you should be doing this throughout the year!

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My nephew, who turned 21 in August, just completed basic training for the Army. He was home for two weeks and then was sent to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home of the 101st Airborne Division ("Screaming Eagles"). In all likelihood he will be shipped out to Iraq in December to fight the war on terror. Saying goodbye to him over a week ago was harder than I thought and I couldn't help but think I may never see him again. At the same time I was also very proud of him for charting his own course.

If you knew my nephew you would know that he has had an eventful life and has had to deal with hardships that most 21 year old boys do not face. When he dropped out of high school after his 10th grade year I was afraid he was headed down the wrong path in life.

After working at King Soopers for the past few years he decided he wanted to do something with his life so he decided to join the Army. Taking one look at my nephew and you would swear he is anorexic, standing at 6'4" and weighing 150lbs. When he first went into the Army recruiting office they told him he would have to pass a physical before they would consider him for the Army. This physical consisted of gaining 20lbs, running 2 miles, and performing sit-ups, pushups and pull-ups in a certain amount of time.  Since joining the Army was a goal he was motivated and passionate about, he had no problem passing the physical and with that he was shipped out to Ft Benning, Georgia for basic training.

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A few weeks ago I joined Toastmasters (www.toastmasters.org) as a way to practice and improve my communication and leadership skills. Yesterday I gave my first speech, called the "Ice Breaker", to the group. The "Ice Breaker" is used to introduce myself to the Toastmasters group and let them know more about me. I chose to talk about my purpose, mission, and vision.

Purpose: Help other people reach their dreams and goals.

Mission: Instill discipline, show the value of hard work, respect other people's views and opinions, stay in great physical and mental shape, and support and love my family to the fullest everyday.

Vision: Lead and organization that creates the best people and leaders in the world and uses its profits to create a non-profit organization that teaches youth life lessons through athletics. Love and support my family and support the local community through volunteer and fundraising efforts.

I ended my speech with the following...

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"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.""You cannot change the cards we are dealt only the way we play the hand.""Don’t complain just work harder.""Find the best in everybody; no matter how long you have to wait for them to show it.""Luck is where preparation meets opportunity."

From "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" a lecture by Randy Pausch of Carnegie Mellon.

Randy Pausch, head of Virtual Reality within the Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and was told in August 2007 to expect a remaining three to six months of good health. He gave one of the most moving and inspirational speeches I have seen where he talks about his childhood dreams and some of the lessons he has learned in his short life.

I would recommend everyone to view and listen to the lecture and see how a remarkable person is dealing with his terminal illness, still has a passion and zest for life, loves and respects his family and still inspires...

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Fall seven times, stand up eight - Japanese Proverb

How would most people react if they failed 70% of the time? In baseball, failing 70% of the time makes you an elite player and provides you with an excellent opportunity to reach the hall of fame.

Over the weekend, one of our players struck out 5 consecutive times and after the 5th strikeout went back to the bench and started crying. Here is a 15 year old who is doing everything he can to improve and give himself a chance to make the spring team and he felt like his world was over that day. To be honest, this might be one of the best things to happen to the young player because now he has an opportunity to deal with the failure and learn that failure in itself is not bad, if you can learn from it and get back up from the failure.  

One of the things I see in high school sports is the overwhelming desire to shun failure and to do everything you can not to fail. Players, coaches and parents do everything they can so the player does not fail....

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Here is a great passage from Martha Borst and her The Scoreboard in the Sky article...

What makes a difference?

Our thoughts, feelings, opinions, desires, fears - they are a part of our experience, but they don't make a difference in terms of results. They don't create a change. In the end, I will either have REASONS OR RESULTS. My results will tell me if my actions have been successful. My results tell me what I'm committed to…pursuing what I want or doing what's comfortable . . . producing the results or listening to the reasons.

Ultimately, the only thing that makes a difference is asking, "What's my next move? What's missing? What will it take?" And then . . . I must GO DO IT!

I attended another seminar with Michael Gerber, author of the e-Myth, earlier this week and he discussed the old and new age entrepreneur. Ray Kroc is an example of an old age entrepreneur who created the most successful small business in the world. However, has McDonald’s directly improved the lives of its customers? True it has employed millions of people all over the world and has changed the lives of many of its employees, suppliers, and investors, but it has not improved the lives of its customers and has had an ill effect on many of its customer’s health.

Muhammad Yunus is an example of a new age entrepreneur who is trying to eradicate poverty by providing small loans to women who can then use those loans to start their own businesses. Grameen Bank, the organization that Yunus created that provides these loans, has transformed the lives of its customers, employees, suppliers, and investors. Since its founding, the bank now has 2,422 branches, employs more than 20,000 people, and has loaned more than...

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Here is one of my favorite stories about helping out other people.

An old man, going a lone highway,Came at the evening, cold and gray,To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,Through which was flowing a sullen tide.The old man crossed in the twilight dim;The sullen stream had no fears for him;But he turned when safe on the other sideAnd built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,"You are wasting strength with building here;Your journey will end with the ending day;You never again must pass this way;You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide— Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head:"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,"There followeth after me todayA youth whose feet must pass this way.This chasm that has been naught to meTo that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."1

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I attribute a lot of the lessons I have learned in my life to the sports I played and coached, no more so than baseball. In no other sport can you fail 70% of the time and still be considered a great player and get inducted into the Hall of Fame. Two of my close friends in my life I gained through playing and coaching baseball.

One of the lessons I have learned from baseball and one that I try to teach others is teamwork. Everyone, at one time or another, wants to be the go to person, the one with the bases loaded, 2 outs, bottom of the ninth inning, down three runs in game 7 of the World Series. The fact of the matter is that without the three people on base, the pitcher who has kept the deficit to 3 runs and all of the other people on your team, you would not be in this situation. Without the help of your teammates you would not be able to become the star, the go to person.

I have seen all too often people who just do not get what it means to be part of a team and how each person on the team is just as important as the other. Not everyone can be the star pitcher or the star hitter. How many games can be won in baseball with a team of only star pitchers. Who would score any runs without any batters and who would keep the team from scoring runs without any fielders?

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I recently had the opportunity to listen to Michael Gerber, author of e-Myth Revisted, talk about why so many small businesses fail. One of the main points I took away from the talk was in order to determine how to improve your business, ask the following question "What is missing in this picture?". He used the analogy of building a jigsaw puzzle and having the end picture or goal in mind. How tough would it be to build a jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box and how many jigsaw puzzles have been sold without the final picture on the box. Likewise, how tough would it be to build a successful business without the end goal in mind. How many businesses are started and successful without a clear picture of what the business should be at the end. This can also be said of ourselves.

How many people are successful without a clear picture of what they want their life to be like at the end. What do I want to be doing in 20 years, how have I made a positive impact on other people's lives, where do I want...

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