Friday, September 27, 2013


Though I'm the energizer bunny for my family, friends and colleagues, it was so helpful to be able to tell a trusted colleague and friend that I wished that my next command performance wasn't on my agenda.  Immediately, I felt better.  This serves as a helpful reminder that sometimes we just need to vent.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Flexibility x 2

Flexibility is a critically important life, leadership and relationship skill especially when dealing with controlling personalities.  Recently, I was notified 2 days before an event, that I was expected to be a panelist at an event that I had expected to merely attend.  Fortunately, the time was blocked on my crazy calendar and I responded affirmatively that I'd participate.  Despite my immediate request for info, it wasn't available until less than 24 hours prior to the event.  Thus, Flexibility 1.

Arriving prior to the time requested, I was ready to deliver on the late request.  However, one of the panelists arrived moments before introductions, and hadn't adhered to the late delivered instructions.  Nor did the panelist respond to the moderator's request to adhere.  The alphabetical array of panelists allowed this non-adhering panelist to high jack the expected format.

Fortunately, each panelist followed suit and adapted to the new mini keynote address.  Thus, Flexibility 2.

Leadership requires flexibility x 2 or 3 or 4...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Connecting Willing Volunteers with Fulfilling Opportunities

Comerica Bank hosted an event today, featuring a stellar panel of community leaders, who shared their reasons for volunteer engagement and practical ways to maximize impact.   My aha moment occurred when one of the panelists I'd invited, shared that his community engagement prior to 9/11 had been two-fold: supporting his wife's volunteer leadership and writing checks/attending nonprofit events.  I've only become friends with this successful lawyer and incredible community leader since his immersion into board service.

My assumption, prior to today, was that successful folks included board service or other significant volunteer commitments in their way of being/doing/operating.  My aha discovery was that the "engagement gene" may well evolve as an individual has more control over her/his schedule.  Sometimes it is inherited - and sometimes it evolves.  

Regardless of how an individual invests time, talent and/or treasure, passion is the key.  Excitement about the organization's mission will ideally inspire engagement and commitment.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Santa Claus at Work

Today, I had the chance to counsel a valued colleague.  A couple of important company initiatives had not made it to his A Priority List.  It took only 5 minutes to give him the information he needed to show up well. Since my goal (which was shared) was to get him on all the good lists and keep him off of the bad lists, perhaps today, I was Santa Claus at work.

Every day we have the chance to be Santa Claus to someone at work.  Let's look for opportunities to help move "naughties" to "nice".

Monday, September 23, 2013

Glad to Be Gumby (Flexible)

Flexibility cannot be emphasized enough in leading, getting along or thriving with manageable stress.

Planning and preparation are crucial for creating stellar experiences. However, flexibility is essential in making sure most folks have the intended experience.

Preparation allows for improvisation.  And improvisation allows folks to have the intended experience.

Everything is beautifully connected when we plan ahead.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Left, Left, Right, Left, Left

At a recent luncheon, a right-handed attendee, shocked me with her observation that of the eight guests at our table, four of us were left-handed.  This was the first time I'd ever had a right-hander comment on handedness. My assumption has always been that only left-handers notice, because right-handers don't even think of handedness.  My immediate question was, "Do you have a left-handed child?".  Not surprisingly, she does.

Left-handers have had life-long experiences of adapting to right-handed tools and processes, so we notice this difference.  This awareness, or lack thereof, probably occurs with other subtle differences, as well.  We can benefit from the attention to details and perspectives these differences provide.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gratitude = Happiness

Though many variables are part of the equation: gratitude = happiness, when we factor them all out, it becomes factual.  When we focus on the long list of things for which we are grateful rather than the shorter list of things that cause us angst, happiness wins.

Flimsy Excuses

I'm so glad I didn't let a little sprinkle deter me from my morning run.  My health and mileage goals, coupled with the fact that running makes me feel good, provide adequate motivation for me to hit the neighborhood streets most mornings.  However, with a rainy weekend in the weather forecast, I was tempted to use the dampness as an excuse not to run.  Saturday mornings generally allow for the most sightings of our fitness conscious and dog-walking neighbors.  However, this morning only a few of those motivated by their canine companions were out and about.  

I've long known that I can learn from everyone I meet and from my feline friends.  This morning's tip from determined doggies set a great example of not allowing flimsy excuses to prevent us from working toward our goals.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Share Your Dreams

We all need someone(s) to help us reach for/achieve/exceed our dreams.  But, our friends/family/coworkers aren't mind readers.  We must share our dreams before these lovely advocates/supporters are able to coalesce their talents for our mutual benefit.

Share your dreams!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Embracing our Unique Gifts

This morning provided another fabulous opportunity, not only to start the day, but to also provide some great thoughts to influence future days.  The remarkable Henry Winkler, keynoted an event benefiting Briarwood School, a terrific place to help bright young minds with learning differences achieve their potential.

He was gracious and engaging with all attendees, before and after his presentation, and immensely entertaining and memorable with his remarks.  Some of his share-worthy tidbits include:

  • Don't put a period at the end of a negative thought (What a great and powerful way to banish negative, draining thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations and aspirations!)
  • If you will it, it is not a dream
  • Only one person needs to say "Yes"
  • Each of us is a unique, irreplaceable bunch of qualities and if we don't give our gift to the world, something will be left undone
  • Let your imagination have personality
  • We don't always know the impact we might have (An autistic child who had not previously spoken said, "Fonz" and a year later had a vocabulary of 100 words)
Embracing and sharing our unique gifts beautifully connects everything. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Unlimited Health Potential

Within 24 hours, I've had the opportunity to validate my assumption that unlimited potential exists, in Houston, to positively impact worldwide health outcomes.

On Tuesday, we had the privilege to feature Dr. Robert Robbins, President and CEO of Texas Medical Center at Comerica Bank's third quarter Business Forum.  He shared his impressive vision for this amazing complex, which is the world's largest medical center, with 54 incredible institutions treating more than 7 million patients annually.  His strategic priorities include health policy, regenerative medicine, genomics, clinical trials and innovation/commercialization.  WOW - what an opportunity to collaboratively leverage an amazing brain trust to tackle some of our most challenging health challenges.

And today, Texas Children's Hospital inspired a capacity crowd, with accounts from several of the world class leaders focused on providing the world's children life-saving innovations, treatments and quality of life improvements. CEO Mark Wallace, Dr. Mark Kline - Physician-in-Chief, Dr. Jake Kushner - Diabetes and Endocrinology, Dr. Kristy Murray - Infectious Disease and Dr. James Thomas - Intensive Care cast a great vision for incredible advances in each of these critical areas.

What a fabulous time to support unlimited health potential!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Big Splash - Little Cash

What's not to love about high, positive visual impact with very low investment!  We love fresh cut flowers strategically arranged in favorite vases in the entry, living room, family room, my home office, powder room and kitchen.  Nine days ago, Edgar brought home 2 beautiful bunches of cheery yellow daisies that allowed me to fill all the normal vases and add bouquets in his home office and the master bath.  The flowers are still perky, with only a few stems removed.  He frequently surprises me with fresh blossoms of various kinds, which is awesome.

My inspiration to mention it now is the longevity of these blooms, the number of arrangements and the very modest investment, less than $10 including tax.  We all owe it to ourselves to bring inexpensive cheer into our lives, whatever forms the cheer may take.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


We just returned from a delightful road trip to Austin.  We made this 5 hour round trip trek on great highways, through beautiful country to spend 2.5 hours with Gar.  Ratios are great for measuring business success, but can't begin to capture the benefit of time spent with those we love.

This experience reminded me that impact and importance trump statistics in our personal relationships.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Be Successful Where You Are

Recently, I had the chance to hear Jay Steinfeld, Founder and CEO, of talk about his company's incredible company culture.  I've embraced one of the vivid ways he casts a vision for personal and company success:
  • Be Successful Where You Are
As he made successive steps across the front of the ballroom, indicating that each step toward a goal could be viewed as failure, until achievement of the goal, it made a huge impact in my way of addressing success. Though setting and achieving goals is enormously important, we need to be careful not to define success solely by achievement of the next milestone.  We owe it to ourselves to celebrate current success while striving for even greater successes each step of the journey.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Absence to Presence

Though all of my zoo visits have been delightful, I've not made frequent trips since Julia and Gar lost interest in these family outings several years ago.  So, I'm amazed that I've been to two wonderful zoos 1400 miles apart within the past week.  And, absence of giraffes at one, was contrasted by the special opportunity to actually feed a giraffe at the other.

Since I readily seize new opportunities, I would have eagerly embraced the chance to feed a giraffe this week.  However, it wouldn't have had the same significance, had I not realized the previous week,  that not all great zoos have giraffes.

Interestingly, this made me vividly aware that sometimes absence, contrasted with presence, enhances the impact and appreciation.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


We had a fabulous time celebrating Julia's birthday in D.C. this past weekend!  She's an amazing young woman with an incredible intellect, perpetually positive attitude and amazing ability to get others to seize a broad array of diverse entertainment and dining opportunities.

Our wonderful nonstop activities included wide-ranging conversations, spectacular museums, the national zoo, professional baseball, canoeing on the Potomac, a mini spades tournament, painting with a pro, meeting her friends at unexpected venues all around town, birthday brunch, and many other remarkable foodie feasts.

For me, spending time with my precious angel and her equally adoring father, would have been celebratory. However, her perfectly planned, nonstop birthday weekend elevated celebratory, to indelibly memorable.