Month: January 2014

Daily Inspiration 1-31-14

“In daily life we must see 
that it is not happiness 
that makes us grateful, 
but gratefulness 
that makes us happy.” 

 — David Steindl-Rast 

This is the third post on the subject of thankfulness and gratitude in a string of posts.

I was having lunch with a friend today and something came out of my mouth aloud and caught my attention. It sounds weird, but much of the value of speaking aloud, in my opinion, is to clarify our own thoughts. It isn’t until it is spoken aloud that we think we have it solved. There might have been years of thinking ahead of this too.

What I said was that I had no more regrets. I knew I was headed in this direction, I just didn’t know I had arrived until it exited my lips. When it came out, it was so distinct and matter of fact. My friend was surprised and questioned my conclusion. How could it be that you have no regrets. Everyone has regrets.

I used to carry quite a load of regrets and have carried and added to the burden for many years–even most all of my life. I could have been more this and less that. I should have made this decision instead of that. I didn’t finish that. I could have been a contender. . . If I had a do-over, I would do it differently. That’s another form of regret.

I explained that I have become a very grateful man. In this transition, I have accepted and became grateful for every decision I’ve made, every choice I’ve made, every circumstance I found myself in and more. If one becomes grateful for every step of the way to where we are now, there can be no regret.

Regret is like an anchor tied to our leg. Every regret adds another anchor. Over time, we gather quite a collection of these anchors. Or we could think of it as baggage or luggage. The more we add, the greater the load we must carry around all day long. But, what is more important a perspective, I think, is that a regret is a negative link to the past and as we hold on to these negative links in the past, we take away opportunities to live in the present.

Some people might say, “put your regrets behind you.” But, really, regrets are things of the past so they are always behind you. It doesn’t work to try to put them behind you or overcome them. You dissolve them with gratitude and they are gone.

My favorite way to describe this is the tug-o-war rope. We hold on tight to the rope and pull against a force that will not allow us to win. It will sometimes let us make movement, but it is only playing with us. The only way to stop the regret is to “let go of the rope.” It is precisely that simple. Just let go. Once we have let go, we can find the gratitude in the event rather than the ill that fostered regret.

The Key Is Always Gratitude And Appreciation. It Is Love In Action. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by letting go of a rope a day. That’s good. Just let go. If that’s too much right now, let go of one rope a week. It isn’t a race.

Daily Inspiration 1-30-14

Daily Inspiration 1-30-14

“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, 
for it acknowledges the presence of good 
wherever you shine the light 
of your thankful thoughts.” 

 — Alan Cohen 

This is the second of many posts about gratitude and thankfulness.

We’ve often heard that there is value in being thankful and even making a list of things to be grateful for. Sometimes we may begin such a list and then we may pause for another time because we have run out of things to be thankful for. What would probably be more true, if we would allow this thought, is that when we are grateful, it would be more challenging to find things to not be thankful for. Based on CNN, Fox and all other news programs and channels, one might think that the latter is normal behavior. They would be wrong. 

I recently pulled out a trunk of saved items. Yesterday’s letter was in there, and I found a list that I have done many times over the years. It is called, I Love. . .

This particular typewritten list was produced in about 1991 and it contains 12 pages and approximately 300 line items of things that I love. It is an exercise in finding things–especially common, normally taken-for-granted things, and writing them down to help remember to remember them and show my gratitude for them. I’ve made many such lists over a long period of time, but I thought since this one is more than 20 years old it would be interesting to see what has fallen from the list. For sure, newer lists have newer items, but have any faded over the years?

Here’s a sampling of items on this list:

I love. . .

a full tank of gas and a fun car and somewhere to drive.
a warm spring day.
the smell of a good perfume.
mashed potatoes and gravy.
airplanes.
flying low to the ground.
the smell of wet concrete on a hot day.
the fact that I learned how to type.
movies that make me cry.
comedians that make me laugh so hard I can’t get my breath.
clean laundry.
laughing children.
swimming underwater.
golf carts.
a woman’s touch.
kissing.
seeing dogs wag their tail.
snuggles.
screen doors.
being wise.
watching it rain hard while standing under a carport.
going out to dinner in a fine restaurant.
someone cooking for me.
sharing ideas.
boats that don’t go too fast.
romance.
romantic get-a-ways.
a closet full of shirts that are pressed.
walking on the beach.
the smell of skin.
sunrise.
sunset.
the smell of sawn wood and lumber yards.

Of course this list goes on for another 250 items. The point is that there are so many things all around us, preferences that we have, things that please us and excite us, arouse us and encourage us, that are worthy of our attention and gratitude. If you wanted to stay in gratitude all day long, keeping lists like this near by can be very helpful reminders that we have so much to be thankful for.

I Have SO MUCH To Be Thankful For. How About You? 

Spread Some Joy Today–When you have that look of pure joy on your face and in your demeanor, it cannot be denied or ignored.

Daily Inspiration 1-29-14

Daily Inspiration 1-29-14

“No one who achieves success 
does so without the help of others. 
The wise and confident 
acknowledge this help with gratitude.” 

 — Alfred North Whitehead 

This will be the first of many posts on the subject of gratitude and thankfulness. This one will be longer than normal. I want to share a letter I wrote to my sales staff I just found in a drawer. It was dated April 24th, 1991. I was the Commercial Truck Manager at Biddulph Chevrolet in Santa Rosa CA where in April 1989 I began that department. I think it is important to tell people in various ways how much they are appreciated. It may be unusual for a sales manager to write such a letter to his sales staff, but it isn’t for me. Pardon the length, and I hope you appreciate the depth of the message. I will even use the real names for they are all readers of this Daily Inspirations.

To: Greg Martin, Ron Reinhold and Peter Halpin

I was just working on a request from Barry Biddulph to write out a business plan for the balance of 1991. In the process of writing my thoughts out regarding personnel, I felt that I needed to write some of my thoughts and feelings out to you. So, it’s official and in writing. (Put $.50 with that and you may be able to get a cup of decent coffee. . .)

I am proud and pleased to work with the likes of you three gentlemen. I don’t see your faults when I look at you, but your assets. And they are many.

I appreciate how you take responsibility to follow through on tasks and promises. That is so important and often taken for granted, but I do appreciate it.

Your skill and knowledge are superior. You don’t go around giving out misinformation, but take the time to look it up if necessary to make sure it is accurate–even if it means losing a sale based on the information. That too is extremely important.

Your word is as good as any signature or collateral is concerned with me. You don’t know how much I value this virtue. It is worth everything as far as I’m concerned.

You negotiate and close your own deals. How else would we run this kind of business and get anything done? I’ve been chastised for this, but so what? I think it is the way it should be done and I’m proud of how well you do it and how you improve the process.

You deal with people in a very straightforward, pleasant manner. What else could you want in a professional? And, your customers appreciate it too though they probably won’t say so generally. You know they do.

You care about your customers. Some care for the commission far more than the customer. You’ve seen it, but you don’t act it. Your frustrations have been with others not feeling the same and I understand that. And, I appreciate the fact that you care.

You help each other. If one of you has a question or a problem, you listen to them and help them. What more could one ask of a “team?” It’s teamwork in action at the Giant Biddulph Chevrolet Commercial Accounts Department and I appreciate it.

You give me good feedback. I don’t have all the answers. Sometimes I don’t have any, but you offer your assistance freely and it does not go unnoticed.

Sometimes I feel unneeded. I feel that you guys run this department and all I do is go along for the ride. Well, I put something in, but I know that you could make it happen without me being here. I like that. That is what I wanted to set up. (Although, it may cost me sometime. . .)

Little things. The cars are opened daily without the slightest hesitation or a word ever from me. The lot is arranged well and periodically changed.

You don’t hesitate to go the extra mile to serve your customers well. Picking up units at their business and bringing them into the service department, outside deliveries and whatever hours or days the customer may request. You deliver promptly and take good care to insure that the paperwork is done right and monies collected. What else would someone want of a professional?

You’re creative enough to think of switching bodies, changing suppliers, all toward getting the job done well and as promptly as possible.

Your deliveries are thorough and done well. You definitely go the extra mile as far as I’m concerned.

You’ve thought forward enough to invest in a computer, [side note: dealers didn’t supply computers back then. It was extremely rare for a salesman to invest in one] answering machine, etc. You don’t hesitate to buy lunch for a customer or each other–or me. When going out to the store, you ask if there is anything you can get for the others. You share easily and seem to completely respect each other (as much as car salesmen can. . . just kidding)

Bottom line, upper line, middle line, whatever line I look at, you guys come through as far as I’m concerned and upon thinking about it (although I appreciate it more than I say), I felt a need to put this down for the record. Thank you for all of your help; your support; your encouragement; your professionalism; your skill; your dedication and follow through; and lastly, your friendship. I appreciate all of you.

 Sincerely,

 Terry R Minion

The Greatest Benefit From Gratitude Expressed To Others Is The Feeling Within Yourself In The Doing. 

Spread Some Joy Today–Tell someone, or your team how much you appreciate them.

Daily Inspiration 1-28-14

Daily Inspiration 1-28-14

“There’s a difference between 
 interest and commitment. 
When you’re interested in doing something, 
you do it only when it’s convenient. 
When you’re committed to something, 
you accept no excuses–only results.” 

 — Kenneth H Blanchard 

I had a meeting this evening and I briefly talked about the need for a regular and consistent commitment to getting a certain marketing job being done. As I gave them my experience on the subject as a marketer, I related to how this Daily Inspiration is accomplished and it is only accomplished via a commitment to do the work every single day. In the case I was discussing with them, we were talking about a once-a-month, yet on a specific time each month. Logically, that would be so easy, but it hasn’t been for them.

It’s so easy to get busy. Busy, busy, busy. Got stuff to do. The quote above nails it. There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. It is only interest when we miss the deadline. There are so many things to do. But, it isn’t so many things to do, is it? It is lack of commitment.

Commitment means I am going to do this. I have set aside time. I have the resources arranged. I am willing to fail, but I am going anyway. Today is the day and I’m on it.

This Daily Inspiration which began in September, 2009 has taught me a number of things, and it has especially taught me about commitment. Someday I will just stop, but until then, I’m committed to the task. Another thing I have learned is that it is all on me (or you). If it doesn’t get done, I can only look in the mirror for the culprit. I also learned that excuses don’t fly. Nor does being tired, going on vacation, or any other kind of events need to stop me. I just work around them, or through them.

Having an interest in doing something is good. I have a list of those myself, but if a thing is going to actually get done, it will require a higher level. It will require a commitment.

If You Want It Done, Develop A Commitment To It. 

Spread Some Joy Today–I am committed to spreading joy everywhere I go. I am committed to loving people all around me all the time. I am committed to loving myself. I am committed to enjoying myself every single day, all day. I used to just have interest in doing these things. . .

Daily Inspiration 1-27-14

Daily Inspiration 1-27-14

“Once we’re thrown off our habitual paths, 
we think all is lost, but it’s only here 
that the new and the good begins.” 

 — Leo Tolstoy 

Getting us off our habitual paths can come in a wide variety of methods. It might be losing a job, a loved one, an expected promotion, or other loss. It might come from a decision to change. Perhaps it might even be being sick and tired of something or some situation, or maybe even as some have said, sick and tired of being sick and tired. In all of these cases and thousands more, one thing is universal, and that is that a change has taken place. It might be a change of attitude, or an emotional response, or something physical. In all cases, there seems to be a decision and change, even when those things seem to have been done for us.

I have had so many of these situations over the years and some were rather traumatic, to say the least, but one thing has changed most recently in me about these, and that is that I do my best to remember to welcome them. I don’t always remember right away. Sometimes it might take me a short bit of time to remember, but I am remembering and accepting these events as if I chose them on purpose.

I can state that this attitude is much preferred in how I feel about change. I now try to assume that everything is working out perfectly even when it doesn’t appear that I chose it on purpose.

Sometimes things seem to happen to us, but I have come to believe that this is just the way it is packaged. And, it really doesn’t matter how it comes to us, it only matters how we respond to it. We ultimately have all the choice in this aspect.

Habit is comforting, and change is often unsettling, yet change is inevitable. Better to welcome it with open arms as if it is the flow of good to you than to struggle and question it. Learning to go with the flow is a process that carries huge benefit.

I May Not Always Be Ready (Or So It Seems), But, Now I Am Willing. It Is Infinitely More Fun Too. 

Spread Some Joy Today–Try to connect with someone you’ve been thinking of.

Daily Inspiration 1-26-14

Daily Inspiration 1-26-14

“The problem with self-improvement 
is knowing when to quit.” 

 — David Lee Roth 

This quote is only for those who think there could ever be an end to such a thing as self-improvement. Personally, I cannot imagine such a thing. Nor would I want to. 

I Think Today I’ll Stop Growing? NOT! 

Spread Some Joy Today–by learning something new every single day!

Daily Inspiration 1-25-14

Daily Inspiration 1-25-14

“Good leaders rarely think in terms of boundaries;
instead, they think in terms of opportunities. 
They are initiators.” 

 “An organization takes on
the personality of the leader.” 

 — John C Maxwell, The 360 degree Leader 

I talk to dealers and managers at auto dealerships about their commercial truck department or the potential of a commercial truck department. Many times I’m talking to the person who wants the department to exist and succeed, but hasn’t the power to just take charge of the resources within the dealership to get the job done well and in a timely manner. In fact, often, they complain about the dealer not giving the support, theoretical and real, to the task they have in their mind. I’ve written a book on this whole subject so I’ve thought this through pretty well.

As I reflect on two separate very successful commercial truck departments that I have started, along with others whom I’ve taught to do the same, one thing is common. None of the dealers or general managers gave the support needed in the early stages. In fact, they had to be convinced of the viability of it almost on a daily basis so they wouldn’t throw in the towel.

The other thing that is common is that the success of this kind of endeavor without the unanimous, enthusiastic and liberal support of the dealer and/or general manager, requires a person who is a leader. I cannot see it happening without this aspect and quality. Yet, so many that I have talked with are afraid and/or unwilling to lead.

I do believe that the best and brightest example of a successful commercial truck department would be one in which the leadership toward that success came from the top down; however, since this is rare, the one who has the desire must become the leader within the organization. John C Maxwell’s wonderful book, The 360 Degree Leader is all about accepting the challenge of leading from whatever level you find yourself in an organization, and he has numerous examples of how that acceptance and execution has created otherwise unknown success.

This requires courage, tenacity and vision. And, it requires accepting responsibility for the creation and execution of getting the job done and doing it well. They cannot live in the fear of losing their job. They are and must be risk takers. There are leaders within organizations that accept these terms and thereby change the world–or at least, their part of it.

Let me leave with two more quotes from John C Maxwell: “The role of leaders in the middle of an organization in nearly every circumstance is to add value to the organization and to the leader.” And this important addition: “Your job isn’t to fix the leader; it’s to add value. If the leader won’t change, then change your attitude, or your work address.”

Become The Leader That You Know You Can Be. It Is A Life Well-Lived. 

Spread Some Joy Today–Realize you have the power. That will bring joy.

Daily Inspiration 1-24-14

Daily Inspiration 1-24-14

“No man is crushed by misfortune 
unless he has first been deceived by prosperity.” 

 — Seneca 

It would not have been long ago that this quote by Seneca would not have even registered with me at all. Now it does. I find that very interesting.

I see being deceived by prosperity as putting prosperity upon a large pedestal. In this place it is more than a goal or desire, it is an ideal. It is likened to the Holy Grail. It is where (or so we think) everyone who is anyone strives to be. And, one more thing–it is hard. It isn’t easy. You have to work your ass off to get to that place and though many try, only some achieve.

From this vantage point, misfortune is devastating. It is also a place where losers gather and commiserate with each other. It is more than an event or a place one gets to. It is a state of mind. Many even begin thinking they deserve no more for this is their lot in life. Indeed, they often travel from one land of misfortune to another.

Those focused on the grail of prosperity are so fearful of misfortune. Those focused on the depth of misfortune cannot seem to find a way beyond. And, the trouble with both is that they take it all so seriously. They make it far more important than it is. In either place they often feel poorly in the pursuit, or under the threat.

Far more satisfying and life-giving is to not be so concerned about either. It is best to judge not. Either of these places is outside of the present. Both are filled with fear. Desire is wonderful and it should feel wonderful. Let that flow over you along with the peace of now. Laugh. Enjoy. Relax. Enjoy. Allow.

Be Cool. Enjoy Your Travels. Enjoy Your Moments All. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by enjoying yourself and your surroundings as much as possible.

Daily Inspiration 1-23-14

Daily Inspiration 1-23-14

“Complacency accepts what’s 
 not working as a fact of life. 
Contentment accepts what
is 
working as your natural condition.” 

 — Alan Cohen 

Alan has a great way to compare and explain complacency and the alternative of contentment. I had never thought about it quite like this, but I just love how he states that “complacency accepts what’s not working as a fact of life.” I had always thought about complacency as not giving a damn, giving up on it, resigning the effort and so on, but acceptance was not a word I would have thought of. Yet, this is a perfect way to see what complacency is and how insidious it can be.

At the same time, I love how he reflects on “contentment accepts what IS working as your natural condition.” I’ve always thought of contentment as in being with peace, accepting what is as being good, even considering I might have thought otherwise in a different time and space. Yet, accepting what is working is a wonderful way to see contentment, and to accept it as a natural condition of my life is peace in and of itself.

Maybe this quote just caught me on a strange day, or maybe you may have had similar thoughts to mine and now are changed as I am.

There Are So Many Ways To Say A Thing, And Sometimes It Jumps Out And Sometimes I’m Asleep. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by seeking things to appreciate all around you. There are so many–too many to number.

Daily Inspiration 1-22-14

Daily Inspiration 1-22-14

“It makes no sense to worry about 
 things you have no control over
because there’s nothing you can do about them, 
and why worry about things you do control? 
The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized.” 

 — Wayne Dyer 

Here’s another quote to go along nicely with this great quote from Wayne Dyer by Esther Hicks and Abraham: “Hard work is not the path to Well-Being. Feeling good is the path to Well-Being. You don’t create through action; you create through vibration. And then, your vibration calls action from you.”

I think that many times we worry because we feel that we should be doing something and though we cannot actually do something at the moment, we worry about it which indicates we are giving it importance and that helps us to feel as if we actually are doing something about the problem. But the reality is often that we only perpetuate the problem and/or increase the size or importance of it in our lives.

In considering this topic, I have gone backward in time to many of the times I was worrying–even worrying with great stress, and I cannot think of one single time where the act of worrying did anything at all to improve the situation.

The hard work of worrying (and we all must know it is hard work), is not the path to Well-Being or the solution even. Feeling good is the path. From that vantage point, any action we are inspired to take will work perfectly.

By Choosing Good Feeling Thoughts, We Clear The Path To Our Well-Being. 

Spread Some Joy Today–Let go of the rope. Love yourself enough to do so.

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Mesa AZ