Take Out Your Own Gall Bladder? How You Gonna Spleen That?

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Totally stupid pun in the title of this article, I know. What can I say… that’s how I operate.  {{{ Rimshot }}}

Starting over, again.  It’s been the topic here lately.  Maybe you’re one of those super disciplined and incredibly lucky people who have never had to walk down the road of “starting over, again.” If you are, then just know the rest of us hate you.  We don’t wish you ill (ok, some of us might wish you a little bit of ill), but it will be hard for you to understand the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual struggles the rest of us go through when we do have those events in our lives that cause us to have to, well, start over again.

So back to the really bad pun in the headline.  There are lots of things we can do for ourselves physically.  We can clip our toenails.  We can use a Flobee and cut our own hair. We can pop our zits, wash our face and brush our teeth.  Important stuff.  But what about when venture too far into the realm of doing something for ourselves that maybe we should have left to the professionals?  For instance, have you ever removed your own ingrown toenail?  I have… and it hurt big time!  What about removing a skin tag or a mole? No?  Minor elective surgery, like removing your wisdom teeth or a boob job… ever considered those as a self-help project?  Probably not… or at least I hope not.

My little brother just had a serious surgery with a chunk of his colon being removed.  I’m happy to report that he’s going to be OK (thank you Jesus and the staff of Baptist hospital).  But consider this.  My brother became aware of a tumor in his colon.  How much sense would it have made for him to keep that information to himself, and refuse to seek out any kind of help?  It would have been foolish!  Instead, they consulted a myriad of physicians and went through a battery of tests, culminating in a team of people working on his body to help move him towards health.

Painful? Yes.  A little humiliating?  If you don’t know the answer to that, then you’ve obviously never had to wear a hospital gown.  Scary.  Beyond belief.  But necessary, even vital to his survival?  Of course it was!

Starting over, again.  It can be the same way.  There are instances where taking that task on yourself might be OK.  Getting back into a routine of exercise, or changing your rest patterns.  Other more sensitive or dynamic issues might require some moderate input or accountability from others.  Losing weight could become a serious health issue need for you, and the assistance and encouragement of some people you trust might just be the ticket. But for some of you, your marriage may be on the verge of collapse, or you find your personal and/or business finances on the edge of financial bankruptcy.  It’s time to send out the alert, run the flag up the pole and request support from the best of resources you can find!  Stubbornness can isolate you to point of extinction; pride can push you completely over the edge.  Don’t be that guy or that girl.  Ask for help if you need.  Ask for help if you don’t need it.  Just ask for help.

And if that doesn’t work… then follow the wisdom of this old adage…  and we’ll talk a little more about it tomorrow…

Advice On Parenting… The Most FOOLISH Phrase in the World

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fatherAnyone who initiates giving you advice on parenting is probably not someone you want giving you advice… so be careful where you accept it.  Even here.  But this advice is not from me, but from people a lot smarter than me, so I think it’s worth your read.

For those considering parenthood, please accept these as blood offerings from those who have gone before you. For those who are parents, please feel free to add your own battle scars of testimony at the end.


  1. Before I married, I had three theories about raising children and no children. Now, I have three children and no theories. John Wilmot
  2. There’s plenty to read about keeping your sanity while raising children, but it’s all common-sense stuff about task division and taking breaks and the relentlessly repeated magic of date night with your spouse. What’s missing is some ‘tude. Jeffrey Kluger 
  3. Our need for certainty in an endeavor as uncertain as raising children makes explicit ‘how-to-parent’ strategies both seductive and dangerous. Brene Brown 
  4. Leave your pride, ego, and narcissism somewhere else. Reactions from those parts of you will reinforce your children’s most primitive fears. Henry Cloud
  5. Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories. John Wilmot
  6. If you have never been hated by your child you have never been a parent. Bette Davis
  7. If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders. Abigail Van Buren
  8. A parent who has never apologized to his children is a monster. If he’s always apologizing, his children are monsters. Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966
  9. The guys who fear becoming fathers don’t understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man. The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent. Frank Pittman, Man Enough


  1. I am endlessly fascinated that playing football is considered a training ground for leadership, but raising children isn’t. Hey, it made me a better leader: you have to take a lot of people’s needs into account; you have to look down the road. Trying to negotiate getting a couple of kids to watch the same TV show requires serious diplomacy. Dee Dee Myers
  2. I think a man and a woman, on a whole array of issues, including raising children, have differences, and then you work them through. Teresa Heinz 
  3. No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I’m not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal. Bill Cosby
  4. Perhaps it takes courage to raise children. John Steinbeck, East of Eden
  5. Raising children is a creative endeavor, an art rather than a science. Bruno Bettelheim 
  6. The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard. Sloan Wilson


  1. The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires. Dorothy Parker
  2. One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun. Jane Goodall
  3. Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children. Marilyn Penland
  4. Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected. Red Buttons
  5. Smack your child every day. If you don’t know why – he does. Joey Adams
  6. Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell, the name will carry. Bill Cosby
  7. If your kids are giving you a headache, follow the directions on the aspirin bottle, especially the part that says “keep away from children.” Susan Savannah


  1. We’re not raising children with the love that we need to. Bill Cosby
  2. I think that enduring, committed love between a married couple, along with raising children, is the most noble act anyone can aspire to. It is not written about very much. Nicholas Sparks 
  3. You’ll love your children far more than you ever loved your parents, and – in the recognition that your own children cannot fathom the depth of your love – you come to understand the tragic, unrequited love of your own parents. Ursula Hegi, Stones from the River
  4. There really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child. Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year
  5. Kids spell love T-I-M-E. John Crudele
  6. In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores, child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything. You just need a lot of love and luck – and, of course, courage. Bill Cosby, Fatherhood, 1986
  7. If you raise your children to feel that they can accomplish any goal or task they decide upon, you will have succeeded as a parent and you will have given your children the greatest of all blessings. Brian Tracy
  8. Do not ask that your kids live up to your expectations. Let your kids be who they are, and your expectations will be in breathless pursuit. Robert Brault
  9. Raising children is a creative endeavor, an art rather than a science. Bruno Bettelheim

  10. The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard. Sloan Wilson
  11. If you raise your children to feel that they can accomplish any goal or task they decide upon, you will have succeeded as a parent and you will have given your children the greatest of all blessings. Brian Tracy


  1. Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. James Baldwin
  2. If you can control your behavior when everything around you is out of control, you can model for your children a valuable lesson in patience and understanding…and snatch an opportunity to shape character. Jane Clayson Johnson, I Am a Mother
  3. To bring up a child in the way he should go – travel that way yourself. Josh Billings
  4. Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  5. Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. Robert Fulghum
  6. It behooves a father to be blameless if he expects his child to be. Homer
  7. If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves. C.G. Jung, Integration of the Personality, 1939
  8. Children have more need of models than of critics. Carolyn Coats, Things Your Dad Always Told You But You Didn’t Want to Hear
  9. What a child doesn’t receive he can seldom later give. P.D. James, Time to Be in Earnest
  10. If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others. Haim Ginott
  11. Sometimes, in a moral struggle, we discover the right thing to do – just as, on some cold day long ago, we discovered mittens pinned to our coat sleeve. Robert Brault


  1. Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do. Benjamin Spock
  2. We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future. President Franklin D. Roosevelt
  3. Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil. Walt Disney
  4. Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society. Benjamin Franklin
  5. Always kiss your children goodnight – even if they’re already asleep. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  6. Your children need your presence more than your presents. Jesse Jackson
  7. Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy. Robert A. Heinlein
  8. Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve. Roger Lewin
  9. There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings. Hodding Carter, Jr.
  10. Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children. Charles R. Swindoll, The Strong Family
  11. Whenever I held my newborn baby in my arms, I used to think that what I said and did to him could have an influence not only on him but on all whom he met, not only for a day or a month or a year, but for all eternity – a very challenging and exciting thought for a mother. Rose Kennedy
  12. What you must accept as a parent is that you cannot always be there for your child without sometimes ruining everything. Robert Brault
  13. When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son. The Talmud
  14. It is one thing to show your child the way, and a harder thing to then stand out of it. Robert Brault
  15. What’s done to children, they will do to society. Karl Menninger

Now get out from underneath your bed and go parent!

Any words of wisdom you would offer?

When Only The Best Will Do- There’s ME…

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Vanity… if we’re honest, we’ve all been there.

We’ve looked around our neighborhood, our church, our workplace and surveyed the landscape.  At the conclusion of our perusal, we’re convinced of one thing… “I’m glad I’m me, and not them.”  Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being satisfied in your life, or with yourself.  That’s simply having a healthy and productive self-image/self-esteem in place.  If you do, then good for you!

But what happens when that “feel good feeling” starts to multiply and grow out of control?  It becomes a dangerous, even deadly cancer called Pride, and it can kill your ability to work with others effectively to achieve amazing results, whether that be in your family, social or work life.

I mentioned the  “7 Deadly Sins That Kill Synergy”… They are:

  1. Wrath(Anger)- I’ve tried to work with others before, and they just end up hacking me off!
  2. Greed(Selfishness)- I don’t want anyone else affecting my project, my job, my stuff… it’s mine….
  3. Sloth(Laziness)- I’d rather just do it myself, rather than hassle with input from other people.
  4. Pride(Arrogance)- I don’t want anyone’s help, or need it. I’m good enough without them!
  5. Lust(Unhealthy Craving)- Leave me alone! It’s my way! It’s my idea! It’s my project!
  6. Envy(Jealousy)- What if I look stupid asking for help, or someone else shows me up?
  7. Gluttony(Selfishness)- If I’m going to work this hard, I don’t want anyone to get credit but ME.

Pride does several things to attack our effectiveness and undermine our success, and all of them have one thing in common… they are all the result of the damage that Pride causes to our ability to SEE CLEARLY… Pride is a Vision Killer…

Pride will hinder and eventually destroy our ability to SEE OUR OWN WEAKNESSES.  If you turn a blind eye to something long enough, eventually that “thing” begins to fade into the background.  If those things you fail to see are your own weak spots, you’re in trouble.  Pride tells you that you are good enough without help or advice from anyone else.  It dims your vision to your own failures, lack of skill and even your lack of objectivity.  Pride pokes a stick in your eye when it comes to putting a critical eye to your own abilities and performance.

Pride can also BLINDS US TO THE SKILLS OF THOSE AROUND US  There are people that we interact with daily that can enrich both our professional and personal lives, but pride clouds our view of the positive impact that their involvement can bring.  What we SHOULD be doing is evaluating them like a coach would the players on his team, determining whose strengths would best be suited for the project, duty or even the moment.  Instead, pride encourages us that we can be the coach, player, team manager, trainer & water boy, and do it all better than anyone else can.  Can you picture a one man team on the field, wearing a self-imposed blindfold, running around the field against a fierce opponent, while there are able, strong and talented players sitting on the sidelines?  It’s ridiculous, but it’s what Pride causes you and me to do!

Finally, Pride will KILL OUR ABILITY TO SEE “WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN”.  One of the primary roles of a leader is to catch and cast a vision for his team.  But is there truly only ONE vision for any given situation or organization?  I say NO!  Thousands of possible visions exist for any particular situation or setting… but a Proud person typically only sees one vision- their own.  And that vision usually involves putting their own skills, talents and performance center stage, with all resources, energies and influence resting in their control.  They are blinded to any vision that involves giving away authority, influence or control to others.  Call it “cataracts of leadership”… the slow build up of a film of pride across their perspective and judgment.  Until they get those “pride-aracts” removed, they’ll never see the wealth of talent and potential that surrounds them… and any synergy that could have been created from bringing those energies together will never be realized.
So how do you help someone whose Pride keeps them from seeing the potential synergy of working with others?
If it’s YOU, and you’ve figured out it’s you, then it’s simple.  STOP IT!!! YOU NEED HELP!!!  Really, it’s that simple!  Realize that you do better, go farther, succeed more often, and accomplish more when you synergize with the talents and efforts of others as a part of the process!  It doesn’t mean that you are not good enough… what it means is that you have greatness within you, and the only way to unlock that leadership is with the key of synergy that others bring with them to the task

Pride... it's a killer of Synergy!


If it’s SOMEONE ELSE that is allowing their Pride to hinder or block their vision to the value of working with others, then the job is slightly more complicated.  Your options are:

1) Just talk to them… lay the problem out simply, but without attacking them.  Share what you see as the value of working with others, and include in that discussion that others are also missing out on successes and growth, because the person in question is not sharing himself/herself with the group.  Remind them that they have much to offer to others.

2) Encourage them to give it a “test run”.  Encourage them to open themselves up to work with others on a short-term project, task or event.  Before this trial run begins, have them break down a list of the potential benefits and pitfalls of working with the group, and then to journal along the way to see if their expectations were correct.  They will most likely be surprised when they see the benefits far outweighing any negatives they might encounter.

3) If you feel qualified, offer to mentor them in this process.  Involve them in a team project that you are leading, and help them see the “play-by-play” issues of delegation, communication, accountability, assessment & reassessment of the task and plan, and so on.  It’s very possible that Pride is simply a mask for the true underlying issue of Insecurity.  It may be that no one has ever modeled synergy for them before, and they are simply afraid of the unknown.

So be encouraged… Pride doesn’t have to be the killer of your organization, of your team, or even of your own career!!! Face it head on, and don’t let it blind you to the unlimited potential that lies ahead!