Wednesday, July 16, 2008


The poem below has long been a favorite of mine. I was introduced to it in high school by two English teachers (Ms. Ruth Smith and Ms. Sonia Walters) who both have had great influence on my way of thinking. In fact, I have pictures of both of them in my office today. They are both gone now. I wish I could say I enjoyed it as much back then as I do now. Age and experience bring a richness to its words. The wisdom it proclaims is “way cool”… in today’s language. It was written in 1895 by one of England’s most famous authors and poets, Rudyard Kipling. If you have never heard or read it I’d like to know how you like it and what it means to you. If you are familiar with it, I hope it makes you pause and think as much as it does me.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream-and not make dreams your master;
If you can think-and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings-nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And-which is more-you'll be a Man, my son!

Like I said…way cool!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Charles Darwin said that it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it is the one most responsive to change. While I do not buy in to all of Darwin’s theories, I think this thought is on the money. The difference with humans, as opposed to all others in the animal kingdom, is that the human is capable of making a conscious choice to change… to adapt, to be flexible, to think and adjust, etc.

While watching a DVD presentation today by Les Brown I was impressed by a short story he told about a dog. The dog was whining and moaning when a visitor asked the dog’s owner what was wrong with the dog. The owner responded that he was lying on a nail. “Why doesn’t he move?” asked the visitor. “Well,” said the owner, “I guess it doesn’t hurt enough to move, just enough to convince him to whine and moan.”

Does this describe most of us? Are we uncomfortable enough to whine and moan but not uncomfortable enough to do something about the discomfort? One of my friends, Alan Jordan, left me with a quote that perfectly depicts when change will occur. “Change happens,” he says, “when the pain of the present exceeds the fear of the future.”

If you haven’t figured it out folks…that is profound! (It is my job as the blog master to point these sorts of important things out.)

While consulting last month with a valued customer, we were discussing his business operation, of course, and the fact that he was still working too much IN his business and not enough ON it. In short, he was swamped, stressed, and uncomfortable… yet not quite swamped, stressed and uncomfortable enough to make some changes. Yes, the changes needed to make his situation better involved some risk. The change may cost some money, the change may vest some “power” into others hands, the change may cause the owner to have to become a better manager, the change may… (you fill in the blank). He even said to me, “I guess it is going to take lymphoma or a heart attack to make me change.”

Wow…what do you think of that? It may be too late if this tragedy happens.

Change is happening all around us in our personal lives and in our business lives. We cannot stop it. But to ultimately survive and prosper…to become successful (by whatever means you define success) we must adapt…we must change. And these changes may create risk. But if we don’t change… we may just go the way of the dinosaur. Remember them? They were big, strong, and fast…but they just couldn’t adapt... and they are nonexistent today.

The AA serenity prayer is a wonderful salve for the discomfort of changing times:

“God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.”