December 2, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – December 2, 2016

Two women turn seventy years old, yet each takes a different meaning from the event.  One “knows” that her life is coming to an end.  To her, seven decades of living mean that her body must be breaking down and she had better start winding up her affairs.  The other woman decides that what a person is capable of at any age depends upon her belief, and sets a higher standard for herself.  She decides that mountain climbing might be a good sport to begin at the age of seventy.  For the next twenty-five years she devotes herself to this new adventure in mastery, scaling some of the highest peaks in the world, until in her nineties, Hulda Crooks became the oldest woman to ascend Mount Fuji.

Crooks understood that it is never the environment or the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to these events that shapes who we are today and who we will become in the future.  Beliefs are what make the difference between a lifetime of joyous contribution and one of misery and devastation.  Beliefs are what causes some individuals to become heroes, while others lead lives of quiet desperation.  If we want to direct our lives, then we must take conscious control over our beliefs.  Remember, once accepted, our beliefs become unquestioned commands to our nervous systems, and they have power to expand or destroy the possibilities of our present and future.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider the power of your own beliefs.  Do you see yourself as the seventy-year old lady who is coming to the end of her life and, as a result, needs to get her life in order?  Perhaps instead, you are like the woman who, at seventy, decided taking up mountain climbing would be a good idea.  Too often, people develop limiting beliefs about who they are and what they are capable of accomplishing.  They concentrate on “being realistic.”  The problem with being realistic is that you are really just living in fear, afraid of being disappointed or hurt.  Out of that fear develop beliefs that cause you to hesitate, to not give your all….consequently getting limited results.  I will leave you with this quote from The Buddha: “We are what we think.  All that we are arises with our thoughts.  With our thoughts we make the world!”  What kind of thoughts do you have?  What kind of world are you making?

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

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December 1, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – December 1, 2016

We all have conversations going on inside our heads and no, we are not crazy.  Well, at least I’m not!  We all hear competing voices.  One is a negative critic, and the other is a positive coach.  It is called self-talk and which voice we listen to is a matter of choice.  Like our beliefs and attitudes, our thinking can be a powerful ally.  How we think affects how we feel, and how we feel affects how we perform.  Mental training teaches us to think clearly and use our mind effectively.  Just the way a baseball player learns not to swing at a bad pitch, we must learn not to chase bad thoughts.

One of the greatest changes in athletics over the past couple of decades is a greater focus on mental training.  In reality, everyone who makes it to the upper levels of athletics has great skills.  So what separates the average professional player from the good ones, and the good ones from the superstars?  I believe it is their mental strength and control.  Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golfer to play the game, dominating his competition seemingly with ease; that is until the bottom fell out of his personal life.  Since that time, he has struggled to be competitive.  The cool, calm demeanor we often saw has been replaced by frustration and anger.  He hasn’t lost his ability to play golf, he has lost his mental control….the very thing that gave him his competitive edge.  I love the comment by legendary golfer Bobby Jones who said, “Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course: the space between your ears.”  What you are thinking, what shape your mind is in, makes all the difference in the world.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider your ability to choose the positive coach instead of the negative critic in your own mind.  Which voice do you hear?  Which is louder, the negative critic or the positive coach.  You can choose to listen to the voice that offers and reinforces positive thought.  It has been said that thoughts become words.  Words become actions.  Actions become habits.  Habits become character.  Character becomes your destiny.  It is all a matter of mental training.  How much time are you spending developing your mental strength?

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

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November 30, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – November 30, 2016

Every leader who desires to be effective should ask, “Are my people my most important product?  Are they like a family to me?  Do they care for one another like a healthy family does?  Are the people under my leadership learning principles that can be used when tragedy hits?  Would they describe our workplace as being like a family?”  Author John Maxwell recognized this in his book Developing the Leader Within You when he wrote: “Long ago I realized that in working with people I have two choices.  I can close my arms or I can open them.  Both choices have strengths and weaknesses.  If I close my arms, I won’t get hurt, but I will not get much help either.  If I open my arms I likely will get hurt, but I will also receive help.  What has been my decision?  I have opened my arms and allowed others to enjoy the journey with me.  My greatest gift to others is not a job, but myself.  That is true of any leader.”

In my many years as a band director and athletic coach, I have always attempted to create a culture in which my students/players understood that they were my most important product.  Music and athletics were our tools, the means to an end.  The end was to develop quality young people, someone of strong character and integrity; someone who treated others with dignity and respect.  Oh, I cared about winning and putting on great performances, but I cared about my students and how they carried themselves more.  I have always referred to my students as “my kids,” like a father who has thousands of kids and only two of them were my own.  I encouraged them to come to me anytime they needed help or simply a listening ear.  They knew where I lived, they had my phone number, and they had my email address.  Most importantly, they had my heart.  In the end, we didn’t create just a band or a team.  We created a family.  Now, in my retirement, one of my greatest joys is to hear from one of “my kids.”  Some contact me just to say hello and to share with me what they have been doing, while others call because they need to hear a reassuring voice.  In either case, they contact me because they know they will always be part of the family.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider how your employees or students feel about your organization.  How do they feel about you?  Do they come to you in times of need?  Do you give them reasons to do so?  What would make your work or team environment more like a family instead of just an organization?  Every great leader hopes that his or her influence positively affects those under his tutelage.  This influence evolves most naturally in a family environment of caring for one another.  It is an environment that the leader creates.  It is up to you.  Are your arms open….or are they closed?

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

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November 29, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – November 29, 2016

Lying awake this morning, I could hear the sound of the much-needed rain falling on the roof and then moving through the downspouts, ultimately finding its way to the ground.  Listening to this cacophony of sounds, I was reminded of the power water has when it is in motion and when there is lots of it.  I grew up in the Allegheny River Valley and witnessed this power each spring when the ice would melt and the river would overflow its banks wreaking havoc on anything in its way.  It was testimony to the importance of balance in nature.

In much the same way, we need a similar balance in our lives.  When we do nothing, we become stagnant like the water in a pool with no outlet and no new water entering.  Too much unbridled forward motion and we lose our focus, ultimately leaving behind a path of destruction.  Like water, our power is most effective when it is harnessed and released in a controlled manner.  The spring flow of the waters of the Allegheny River were ultimately put in control by the building and managing of Kinzua Dam.  In much the same way, we need a system to help us manage our flow of energy so that we might be as effective as possible.  Doing nothing will bring us nothing, and being out-of-control and unfocused might get us where we are going, but at what expense.   Like nature’s rainfall or rivers, we need the appropriate balance of volume and motion to be our most effective.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider the momentum of your life.  Do you find yourself with little or no forward motion, stagnating instead of growing?  Perhaps instead, you are expending an enormous amount of energy working as hard as you can and pushing through every obstacle you face, only to look behind you to see a path of destruction that has left you no closer to your goals.  Like the river waters, we must find a way to harness our energies and release them in a more focused and controlled manner.  Like nature, we need control within our lives.  Success lies somewhere between stagnation and destruction; in that place called balance.

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

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November 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – November 28, 2016

Our lives fall into three distinct phases: The formative years are filled with constant change in all areas of our lives.  The next phase, our building years, allow us to grow personally and professionally.  The final phase is spent harvesting that which we have sowed and becomes a time to refocus our interests toward making a difference in the lives of others.  We don’t pass through this life without the help and support of others; people who, by word and deed, help us navigate through the three phases of our lives.

It is a sad truth that in our society the customary time for sharing our feelings of love and gratitude occur in a eulogy.  While the words are sweet and heartfelt, the person to whom they are directed is unable to hear them.  What if we decided to hold those conversations now, instead of waiting until it is too late?  As I reflect back upon my formative years, I can see the impact my parents had on who I would become.  They were hard-working, caring individuals who allowed me to explore my interest in the arts in a community which was built upon carrying on the family tradition of working in the local factory.  During the building phase of my life, I was challenged by Dr. William Simpson and Mr. Richard Powell to become the best I could be; to never settle for less than my best effort.  My professional growth was modelled after two incredibly gifted and insightful men, Michael Kumer and Tim Lautzenheiser each of whom I met as a young professional and who are, to this day, my most trusted friends.  I was also deeply touched by a young man named Kevin Lloyd who initially worked for me before becoming a successful band director in his own right.  I have recently entered the final phase of my life and at this moment am still trying to find my path from this point forward.  I find that I more interested in helping others than I am worrying about “what is in it for me.”  I believe I have much to offer and perhaps, just perhaps, I can become for others what the men mentioned above became for me.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to take a few moments to reflect upon your own life.  No matter what phase you are currently in, there are people who have had a huge impact on you.  Have you taken the time to voice your gratitude; to share with them how you feel?  In my case, I did not take advantage of that opportunity with Dr. Simpson and Mr. Powell.  Each was one of my college professors and at that time, I was not mature enough to recognize and understand the true impact they would have on my life. I am saddened that I never thanked them for helping to mold me into the man I was to become.  Don’t wait until it is too late.  I will leave you with these words from William Arthur Ward who said: “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

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November 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – November 23, 2016

When you stop to think about it, there is no such thing as a future decision.  You face only present decisions that will affect what will happen in the future.  Procrastinators wait for just the right moment to decide.  If you wait for the perfect moment, you become a security seeker who is running in place, going through the motions, and getting deeper in a rut.  If you wait for every objection to be overcome, you will attempt nothing.  Perhaps we should change the word motivation slightly to reflect a personal commitment to take charge of today and make it the best day we can: Motive plus action equals motive-action!

I love these words from author Denis Waitley in his book Being the Best.  Everybody is looking for new ways to get motivated.  Companies and corporations pay sizable fees to consultants who try to make their personnel more productive.  The problem, however, is that a motivated person thinks, “I am going to try it.”  But motivation must turn into motive-action, or nothing will happen.  I am reminded of this challenge in the words of the following poem:

 

I spent a fortune on a trampoline,

A stationary bike and a rowing machine

Complete with gadgets to read my pulse,

And gadgets to prove my progress results,

And others to show the miles I’ve charted….

But they left of the gadget to get me started!

The gadget that can get you started is motive-action!

Today, no every day, I encourage you to find a way to break from the grasp of procrastination.  You simply need to make the conscious decision to try something….to take even the smallest steps toward your goals.  There is a technique called the ratchet effect which is based on good old trial and error, trial and error, and then….success.  Not the mythical state of permanent success, but the exhilarating feeling of accomplishment that gets you ready to go on to the next goal and the next step toward success.

 

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

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November 22, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – November 22, 2016

Risk taking is an indispensable part of leadership.  When we look at leaders who are making a difference, we see that they have the courage to begin, while others are waiting for a better time, a safer situation, or assured results.  They are willing to take risks because they know that being overcautious and indecisive kills opportunity.  It is an irony that we are always in search of novelty, yet we can be deeply uncomfortable with taking risks.

A dictionary definition of risk is “the possibility of suffering harm or loss.”  Sadly, many people take the position of not risking, believing that it will somehow eliminate that possibility of suffering harm or loss.  Perhaps it does, but is also eliminates the personal benefits of risk taking.  One of the greatest personal benefits is that it increases your awareness.  Risk taking opens your eyes and often your mind.  The better you know yourself, the wiser you become.  Awareness of both your limitations and your potential enhances your life.  Another benefit of risk taking is that it can teach you valuable lessons.  Taking risks is the best way, often the only way, to add to your knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.  It is important to know whether the statement “It can’t be done,” is right or wrong.  Finally, risk taking creates a sense of excitement in our lives.  Being involved with people or organizations that are doing exciting, positive things through risk taking can be one of life’s greatest pleasures.  Making a contribution, receiving recognition, and growing are the kinds of excitement that are the prime benefits of risk taking.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to have the courage to risk.  Little risks, big risks, everyday risks, lifetime risks….you face them daily.  Boldness in risk taking is an acquired skill, achieved over a period of time, during which you build self-confidence and wean yourself of the need for self-defeating safety.  In the words of an anonymous adage: “To lose in the name of moderation is no virtue.  If you must lose, do it in the name of boldness.”  I will leave you with these words from the Star Trek television series: Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.  Are YOU ready to go boldly where no one has gone before? Then get moving.  Get risking!

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

Categories: Uncategorized