Monday, April 27, 2009

If and When Were Planted

By Catherine Pulsifer

How is "if and when" planted? The short stories below are examples of planting "if and when":

Karen, one of my coworkers was stressed about where she was living. She hated the apartment she was in and complained every day about it. One day over coffee, I asked her why she didn't look for another apartment - it seemed like an easy solution to me. Karen's reply to this was, "I will look for another apartment when I come back from vacation."

Sam hated his job. He dreaded getting up in the morning. He hated the work he was doing and it started to take a toll on him. He had a love for photography and was currently taking a two-year course to obtain his certificate. Every night he complained about his work. After listening to his complaints for a month, I asked him why he didn't finish his course and start a small business doing photography on the weekends. His reply, "if only I had more time to finish my course. When I finish my course I will start a business."

Sarah had saved all her life and now was retired and living comfortably. The house she bought had a dishwasher in it; however, the dishwasher was old and didn't work. She hated doing dishes, and every time we visited with her she complained about doing the dishes. One night, I asked her, "Why don't you buy a new dishwasher Sarah." Her reply, "I have been thinking about it, if they would only come on sale I would."

Larry worked for a company that allowed early retirement. Larry had both the years of service and his age, which allowed him to retire, but at a reduced pension. He was having difficulty coping with all the changes that were being made in his work. He had a couple of mild attacks, not a heart attack but similar to one. He called me and we talked for hours. I was worried about the stress of his job and the effects it was having on his health. "Why don't you retire Harry? Do something that you have always wanted to do," I asked. Harry's reply to my question was, "If only I was older then I would get my full pension." I got bolder in my conversation with him, "But Harry, you have your house paid off, you have no bills, the kids are grown up. You could sell your house and downsize, it really is not worth your health is it? Harry then said, "When the summer comes maybe I will."

All of these stories have the same theme running through them. There is a proverb that says it all: "If and when were planted, and nothing grew."

Now a year later,
Karen is still living in the apartment she hates!
Sam is still complaining about his job and still has not finished his course!
Sarah is still washing dishes!
Larry is still working and his health is not what it used to be!

The sad part of all of these stories is that all of these people had a lot of stress in their lives that they could have taken action to reduce. But, all of them defeated themselves by thinking "if" or "when". Life is too short for "if's and when's".

The next time you are in a stressful situation and you find yourself saying or thinking - "if or when" - remember the saying, "If and when were planted and nothing grew!" Change your thinking and take action, so that you can reduce your stress right now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today is Earth Day

In conjunction with Earth Day, I would like to share this poem taken from CanTeach.

Our Earth

The Earth is ours to enjoy
For every little girl and boy.
But we must always be aware.
That all its beauty we must share
With all the children yet to come,
Who want to laugh and play and run
Around the trees and in the fields.

So we must keep our planet free
From messy trash and debris
With air that's clean and fresh and clear
For all to breathe from year to year.
We must never ever abuse
Our sweet Earth that's ours to use.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


by Dr. John C. Maxwell

Perseverance is not an issue of talent. It is not an issue of time. It is about finishing. Talent provides hope for accomplishment, but perseverance guarantees it.

Running Past Failure

As a small child, Vonetta (Jeffrey) Flowers dreamed about being in the Olympics. She ran everywhere she went, and gained a reputation among her school friends for being quick. At age nine, Vonetta learned she had special talent. While trying out for an inner-city track club in her hometown of Birmingham, she shocked coaches by posting the best sprint time for Jonesboro Elementary School - running faster than boys two years older than she was!

Vonetta's immense talent carried her to the University of Alabama-Birmingham on a track-and-field scholarship. While at the university, she continued to pursue her goal of gaining a spot on the Olympic team. She practiced meticulously to perfect her stride, spent hours in the weight room adding strength, and ran grueling intervals to shave seconds off her sprint times. Thanks to her combination of talent and discipline, Vonetta ended her college career as a 7-time All-American, competing in the 100 meter and 200 meter sprints, long jump, triple jump, heptathlon, and relays.

With her college career finished, Vonetta set her sights on the 1996 Olympics. Unfortunately, she failed to qualify for the team, running slightly behind the leaders. The failure stung, but Vonetta was determined not to give up. She found a job as an assistant coach and continued her regimen of training.

For the next four years, Vonetta put her body through punishing workouts with an eye on the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. In her words, "I devoted countless hours to lifting weights, eating right, and staying mentally tough. I knew that my time as an athlete was coming to an end, and I'd hoped that the 2000 Olympic trials would prove to be my year to finally find out what it's like to be an Olympian."

In June 2000, Vonetta lined up again to run at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Unfortunately, Vonetta placed 13th, and she failed to make the Olympic squad. Although one of the fastest women in America, she wasn't in the select group to represent the United States in Sydney. After 17 years of training, she had come up empty in her quest for the Olympics.

Two days after her second painful failure in the Olympic Trials, Vonetta's husband spotted an advertisement for tryouts for the United States Olympic bobsled team. He convinced her to go to the tryouts. Growing up in the South, Vonetta was not accustomed to cold and snow, and she knew next to nothing about bobsledding. However, at the tryouts her unusual blend of speed and strength proved to be ideal qualities for a brakewoman (the person who pushes the bobsled to give it initial momentum and then hops in with the driver). Vonetta was chosen for the team.

Vonetta's decision to join the bobsled team came with a price - two more years of a strict diet, sore muscles, and countless hours dedicated to attaining peak physical fitness. It also meant delaying her dream to be a mom. However, her years of perseverance paid off. Not only did Vonetta achieve her lifelong goal of competing in the Olympics, but she also became the first African-American to win a gold medal in the winter Olympics!

Perseverance punctuates talent

Vonetta's talent seemed almost limitless, but it wouldn't have carried her to the Olympics without an admirable measure of perseverance. Life seems designed to make a person quit. For even the most talented individual, obstacles abound, and failures are commonplace. Only when a person matches talent with perseverance do opportunities become avenues of success.

Perseverance means succeeding because you are determined to, not destined to

If Vonetta had seen her Olympic dream as a matter of destiny than she likely would have given up after her second failure to make the track and field team. After 17 years of training, the results signaled that her dream wasn't meant to be. She had no natural reason to be hopeful about her prospects. However, she pressed on, determined to find a way to take hold of her goals, and in the end, she was rewarded with success.

Perseverance means stopping, not because you're tired, but because the task is done

Perseverance doesn't come into play until a person is tired. A year or two after college, Vonetta still was riding the excitement of her collegiate track and field championships. She was young, energetic, and optimistic about the future. Nothing was telling her to stop, and consequently she needed nothing extra to keep going.

However, after a taste of disappointment at the Olympic Trials, fatigue and discouragement crept up on Vonetta. The mountain of work in front of her began to look more and more daunting, and her dream began to be a little harder to imagine. Nonetheless, Vonetta persevered. She kept believing, she kept training, and she kept running until she finally caught up with success.

Dr John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The 7 Keys to Success

Click here to watch the mini movie for a bit of inspiration on the 7 Keys to Success.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Four Candles

The four candles burn slowly.
The ambiance was so soft you could hear them talking.
The first one said “I am PEACE! but these days, nobody wants to keep me lit. I believe I will go out.”
Its flame rapidly diminishes and goes out completely.
The second one said “I am FAITH! Nowadays, I am no longer indispensable, so it doesn’t make any sense that I stay lit any longer”
When it finished talking, a breeze softly blew on it, putting it out.
Sadly, the third candle spoke in its turn, “I am LOVE! I haven’t got the strength to stay lit. People put me aside and don’t understand my importance. They even forget to love those who are nearest to them.”
And waiting no longer, it goes out.
Suddenly, a child enters the room and sees three candles not burning.
“Why are you not burning? You are supposed to stay lit till the end”.
Saying this, the child starts to cry.
Then the fourth candle said “Don’t be afraid. While I am still burning, we can relight the other candles, I AM HOPE!”
With shining eyes, the child took the candle of hope and lit the other candles.

The flame of Hope should never go out from your life, so that you will always have Faith, Peace and Love in your life!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The House of 1000 Mirrors

(Japanese Folktale)

Long ago in a small, far away village, there was a place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the house, he thought to himself, "This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often."

In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, "That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again."

All the faces in the world are mirrors. What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the people you meet?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Teacher

Jean Thompson stood in front of her fifth-grade class on the very first day of school in the fall and told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same, that she would treat them all alike. And that was impossible because there in front of her, slumped in his seat on the third row, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were unkept and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy was unpleasant.

It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then marking the F at the top of the paper biggest of all. Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, no one else seemed to enjoy him, either.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's records and put Teddy's off until last. When she opened his file, she was in for a surprise. His first-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright, inquisitive child with a ready laugh." "He does his work neatly and has good manners...he is a joy to be around."

His second-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."

His third-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy continues to work hard but his mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."

Teddy's fourth-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class. He is tardy and could become a problem."

By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem, but Christmas was coming fast. It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stoddard.

Her children brought her presents, all in beautiful ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy's, which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper of a scissored grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents.

Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of cologne. She stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume behind the other wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed behind just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to."

After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing, and speaking. Instead, she began to teach children. Jean Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called "Teddy."

As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. On days where there would be an important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember that cologne. By the end of the year he had become one of the smartest children in the class and...well, he had also become the "pet" of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.

A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he'd had in elementary school, she was his favorite. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy.

He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still his favorite teacher of all time.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson she was still his favorite teacher.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still his favorite teacher, but that now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.

The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that Spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering...well, if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually reserved for the mother of the groom. And guess what, she wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And I bet on that special day, Jean Thompson smelled just like...well, just like the way Teddy remembered his mother smelling on their last Christmas together.

You never can tell what type of impact you may make on another's life by your actions or lack of action. Consider this fact in your venture thru life.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Mountain Story

A son and his father were walking on the mountains. Suddenly, his son falls, hurts himself and screams: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"

To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain:


Curious, he yells: "Who are you?"

He receives the answer: "Who are you?"

Angered at the response, he screams: "Coward!"

He receives the answer: "Coward!"

He looks to his father and asks: "What's going on?"

The father smiles and says: "My son, pay attention."

And then he screams to the mountain: "I admire you!"

The voice answers: "I admire you!"

Again the man screams: "You are a champion!"

The voice answers: "You are a champion!"

The boy is surprised, but does not understand.

Then the father explains: "People call this ECHO, but really this is LIFE. It gives you back everything you say or do. Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.
If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart.

If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence.This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life; Life will give you back everything you have given to it."