Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A lesson from Conner

“Hey dad I think I want to play football this year” Conner made this statement to me towards the end of summer. I was quite frankly a little surprised at his sudden decision to play football given that he had never played before and would start right off on the 7th grade team with people that have been playing for several years. I immediately rattled off many reasons to Conner why I thought this was not a good idea. I was mostly worried that he would be so behind the other boys in skill that he would find himself made fun of or would get hurt. Heck, we did not even own a football and had to go buy one for him.

Now here we are many weeks later with the season coming to and end this evening. Conner once again has amazed me with his tenacity and with his positive attitude. Not once did I hear him complain about the workouts, being on the JV team, struggling to learn or really anything else beyond just basic frustrations. Mostly I saw him and the other JV kids especially get the opportunity to become physically stronger, mentally stronger, and get the feel of what it is like to be part of a team.

What an important lesson for me as a Dad and as a leader. How many times in the past have I heard an idea only to push right back and say reasons why it would not work? How many times have I let my own life experiences get in the way of the possibilities of others? Conner has reminded me once again that we will never fail in life if we never try. Turns out we will never succeed either. Thank you son for the wonderful lesson. I am so proud of you

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dude! Do your parents have jobs?

“Dude! Do your parents have jobs? They seem to be around all the time”

This is perhaps one of my favorite all time quotes from a friend of my son. He asked Conner this one afternoon during a school holiday when he was over to hang out and do other things boys like to do.

My wife and I were both home as we usually are when Conner happens to be out for a day or two from school. Why? We are blessed that Michelle works part time and I am blessed with job that provides way more vacation than I ever seem to be able to use.
More importantly, it is because we know these years with him are fleeting and will be gone soon. We also try to live the mantra that for a child love is spelled TIME as much as it is any other way. We have committed to spend moments with him doing what we can to create positive and lasting memories of us as a family.

(Another favorite quote) “You better enjoy me now Dad before I am a teenager and do not like you anymore”—Conner Copeland; Conner is 12 now by the way.

What about you and your family? Do you go for the quality or the quantity or a little bit of both when it comes to time? What is your T.I.M.E strategy?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Personal Branding Strategy

What is your personal brand?

The definition of Brand from businessdefinitions.com “Entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (good or service) in the consumers' mind…”

You are unique and there is no other you. Have you ever really thought deeply about this fact? No other person in the world has the exact same skills and capabilities as you. Just as companies like Sprint, Coke, Nike and others market their uniqueness, you as a “product” or “service” should be prepared to market your own value as well through a personal branding strategy. How do you do this? Here are just a few tips:

Step 1: Determine your strengths
Step 2: Make the most of your strengths
Step 3: Market your strengths through results
Step 4: Market your strengths through relationships
Step 4: Grow your strengths through continual learning and experience gathering
Step 5: Create a feedback loop to find out how you are perceived by others so you can adjust

So what is your personal Brand? Are you a product/service that another person would be willing to pay a premium price for? Would a window shopping stranger looking over your performance, professionalism, attitude, leadership and results want to take you off the shelf for a try? Why would this person pick you out of the crowd?
Your personal branding strategy can ultimately make a tremendous difference in your career and your life. Try it with a sincere attitude and you may be amazed at the results.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Pool

I recently visited my hometown for a reunion and had the opportunity to visit many of my favorite childhood hangouts. The pool in particular brought back some interesting memories.

I enjoyed the pool except for one object. The high dive. I will never forget that thing. It taunted me every time I went swimming. Down at the shallow end of the pool I would stand and stare at it with awe. It was as tall as any diving board ever erected. The sun gleamed off its light blue surface and somehow seemed to make those who successfully made the climb more beautiful than the rest of us mere mortals.

I could clearly see from my vantage point the excitement of the hero children who flew off the edge of the structure with all the glory of an eagle diving to the surface of some majestic mountain lake to capture its prize for the day. They seemed to live the life of excitement I craved.

Then finally one day I mustard up the courage to make the climb. I was careful not to tell any of my shallow pool friends that this was the time I had chosen to fly. As I stood there at the bottom rung of the ladder I thought how different my life was going to be after conquering the high dive. I would now be among the pool elite. No longer would I be constrained in the shallow depths of my inner fallacies.

So up I went. Step after step. Soon I had made it to the top and walked to the edge of the board. As I looked down, my enthusiasm waned. Now I could see all the way to the bottom of the pool. The dive that just minutes earlier had me nervous about the 15-foot drop suddenly looked more like a 1,000-foot spiral of death.

What to do?! I couldn’t just turn around. By now everyone in the pool was staring at the chubby diving board kid and knew I was nothing but a frightened little boy. Also there were other kids gathered at the bottom just waiting for me to do something. If I failed, everyone would know. I would become the subject of ridicule for all. Stories would be written. Songs would be sung. All would come to know the failure that was David Copeland.

So with all the courage I could muster I jumped.

It was one of the most spectacular belly flops ever performed.

So what happened next? Part of me would like to tell you that I climbed right up that ladder and gave it another try. To tell you the truth, I don’t think I ever jumped again. Within a few years they removed the high dive and took away any chance I would ever have to conquer the blue behemoth.

Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever worked hard to climb the ladder of success or get to the project assignment only to find the view from the top to be more frightening than you imagined?

I have many times and many of my attempts turned into flops. Fortunately, I have begun to learn that when I am faced with these situations I must to give it another try because sometimes it is better to face the pain head or belly on. Walking away only leaves us with feelings of regret. When we return to climb up the latter again, we may find the board to be gone, the project reassigned, or promotion no longer there.

I do not want to miss my opportunities to fly. I want to see the challenge and dive in headfirst. I want to live a life that soars beyond my earthly expectations.

What about you? Would you jump again?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Live Strong!

Today is Livestrong day. www.livestrong.org

Lance Armstrong and the Livestrong foundation are using this day as an opportunity to increase cancer awareness and to celebrate the lives of those suffering from this disease. This morning I quickly jotted down five things I learned through my cancer experience and have tweeted them as the day went by. These are not in any particular order and are just the tip of what I have learned.

1. Relationships matter most. Relationship with my Lord, my family and others
2. Life is not about me. It is about serving and loving others
3. Pain in life is unavoidable but suffering is optional
4. The greatest joys in life are found in the smallest of moments.
5. Cancer changes you forever—even if you are “free” of the disease it never really leaves you

Are you a cancer survivor or have you been impacted in some way by cancer? If so, what have you learned from the experience?