Monday, November 26, 2007

It's Just Another Day!

Another year older and another year wiser (so I hope)!

I know that your birthday is suppose to be a special day, but for me today seems like "just another day." Of course, I'm sure it had to do with having to go to work today. Couple that with spending my evening at a coffee shop studying and working on a paper and presentation. (Now, before we decide to lynch the professors that are causing me this work, I better let you know that I do have an art for procrastination)! I know...I know...It's a terrible habit (procrastination, that is), and it's one I hope to break very soon!

But, although it seems like just another day, it's still a day to celebrate! The good Lord has given me another year on this planet. Another year with my family. Another year with my friends. It's been a very good year for me. One full of growth. My family grew by one very special girl (my 4-1/2 month old), and I feel that I have grown both personally and professionally.

So, although today may sound "ho-hum," I've still been able to keep a positive and grateful attitude. Why? Because although every day is just another day, it's still a day to celebrate!

Here's to hoping your days are days of celebration!

P.S>I must send out a "Happy Birthday" wish to two good friends of mine since high school. I've been blessed to share this wonderful day with the both of them.

picture by fadingsunset77, courtesy of

Night Owl or Early Riser?

You’ll remember that I am posting a ___ or ___ question every once in a while, just to mix things up a bit in an attempt to learn more about my readers and fellow bloggers. I’m hoping this will just be a fun little way to learn more about each other as we continue our wonderful journey through the blogosphere.

So, today I’m wanting to know if you are a “Night Owl” or an “Early Riser?” Are you one that likes to stay up late, or would you prefer to hit the sack early so that you can get up in the morning feeling refreshed? Maybe where you currently are on this is not where you would prefer to be!

I am much more of a morning person than a night owl. I can get up feeling rather well in the morning, but I’ll fall asleep during a late night movie 85-90% of the time! My real problem, however, came right after college (when I first started working). See, I had groomed myself in college to be a night owl, but then realized that I needed to switch back to a morning person so I could get to work on time. I’ll tell you this: Being a mixture of both can be bad news. I was staying up way to late, and getting up way too early!

So what about the rest of you? Are you night owls or morning people? Please share! Let’s see where the conversation leads us!

Also, I will be on a short hiatus for a few days. I have found myself a bit overwhelmed as I try to finish up a paper and presentation for a Wednesday night graduate class I take from Tim Johnson, as well as study for an exam for a different graduate class on Tuesday. The deadlines are fast approaching. It’s crunch time, so I’ve got to "DO THIS!" (sorry, just a little motivational pep talk for myself). I’ll try to be back in full force by Thursday.

Other Posts in the ___ or ___ series:

pictures courtesy of and

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blogospheric Tailored Thanksgivings

Happy thanksgiving to all!

As I sit here reflecting on everything I’m thankful for, I have realized that I could go on for hours. I am most thankful for my wife and my daughters, my career, my true friends, laughter, happiness, my current place in life……..and on and on I could go. Really though, my previous post on my belief statement could help serve as a list of things I’m thankful for.

So, instead of laying out everything I’m thankful for, (as that will be reserved for my family gathering on Thursday), I thought I would tailor the following thanksgivings to what and who I have been thankful for over the last two and a half months from a blogospheric perspective.

I’m thankful for…..

Timothy Johnson because he was my inspiration to enter the wonderful blogosphere – and he is a creative mind with a big heart
Troy Worman and all the connections he has created through his compassion and generosity – and for the honor of being called an ON! Blog
Liz Strauss
for opening up her blog on Tuesdays for many to gather for great conversations, Klondike’s, Fat Tires, and fellowship
J. Erik Potter and Bob Loch (two fellow blogging classmates) for continued support, as well as their help and advice on this blogging journey – and for the building of new relationships
Ann Michael for the great discussions we’ve had on her site at Manage to Change
Erika Andersen for initiating our first conversation – and for the inspiration for my “Two Simple, Yet Powerful Words” series
Steve Farber for being the first one to post a comment on my blog (what an honor!) – and for the inspiration I gained from reading his two books
Don Frederiksen’s teachings on how to “lead quietly”
Starbucker’s inspiration for getting me to start to think about my “belief statement”
Drew McLellan’s thoughts on how to begin to change the world – and for his guest lecture in class on social media
Robert Hruzek’s “What I Learned From…..” group writing project and his other thought provoking and inspiring posts
April Groves’ and her passion for children
And, the great conversations, discussions, learning I have been a part of.

I know I’m leaving out so many others. I want to say “Thank You” to everyone who has not only visited this site, but who has allowed me to meander on theirs. Your passion and your writings really do inspire others!
picture courtesy of

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Belief Statement

My original inspiration for this post came from Starbucker's recent post on his belief statement. As I have been compiling my list over the last few weeks, I was "unintentionally" reminded by Drew McLellan's post that it was time to get my belief statement out there. I am confident that this statement will change over the next several months/years as major life events continue to occur, however, it is my hope that this statement remains largely in tact, no matter where I am in life's journey. So, here is my belief statement (in no particular order):

I believe in.........God's mercy and grace, the covenant of marriage, my wife's decisions in everything she does, the authenticity of both my daughters' smiles, constant learning and continuing education, humor as a healer, the ability to laugh at myself, the power of a "thank you", the power of the blogosphere, leading the team in "assists", taking a pitch, a grande-nonfat-extra hot-almond-latte, the perfect 300 game, the strike of a largemouth bass on a yamamoto senko, serving as a role model for others (especially young adults and my kids), a purebread Beagle, a dog serving as anyone's best friend, eternal life, my family, a Cubs world series win in my lifetime, the Iowa State Cyclones, the Drake Bulldogs, empowering others, relaxing on the couch, a hot and steamy shower, the contagious power of a smile, the pursuit of perfection, God's forgiveness, prayer, and the continual search for conversations on leadership and motivation.

What is your belief statement? I'm sure I've let out some things in mine (so I will probably be updating it rather soon!).

Courtesy of Drew McLellan's blog, these are other people and their posts on their belief statements:
Starbucker Ellen Weber Maria Palma Mike Sansone Tom Vander Well Mary Schmidt

Friday, November 16, 2007

Two More Simple, Yet Powerful Words

I’ve decided to kick off a series of posts pertaining to “Two Simple, Yet Powerful Words.” You’ll remember in my previous post that I tackled the words “Thank You.” I suppose you could also go back to another previous post where I talked about “Just Smile.” So, what’s on the docket this week you ask?

We’re all human and we all WILL make mistakes. It’s a part of life. No one is perfect (although I constantly strive for perfection). We all have those times when we let others down. We may fail to follow through on a promise. We may say something we later regret. In business, we may be late on a delivery, err on a decision, or fail on our quality. The point is humans make mistakes, which brings us to this week’s two simple and powerful words: “I’m Sorry.”

I know! It’s tough for some of us to admit fault and to take ownership of our mistakes. But, that is exactly what needs to happen. When you screw up: Accept it, Fix it, and Apologize. People need to hear "I'm Sorry." When they are feeling let down, depleted, wronged (and we are the cause of these feelings), then we need to say these two simple, yet very powerful words. Being able to admit fault and apologize for that fault can help a leader gain respect from his/her followers.

It’s really about accountability, isn’t it? As managers/leaders, we are always taught to hold others accountable. But, don’t we first need to start by holding ourselves accountable? We won’t gain the respect of our peers/subordinates/employees/bosses, until we are accountable for our actions (whether they are successes or failures/mistakes)!

Erika Andersen over at The Simplest Thing That Works has a great post on “Just Say Sorry.”
Here is an excerpt from her post:

"My opinion? Refusing to acknowledge that you're wrong is a sign of weakness. And lame apologies are worse than no apologies at all. Seth Godin has a great list in a recent blog post, of apologies from worst to best. "

"The two kinds of fake apologies I dislike the most are the I-couldn't-help-it-so-it's-not-really-my-fault apology and the it's-really-your-problem apology. "

Erika really nails it on the head doesn’t she? We can’t just say we’re sorry. We have to really mean it. The apology must be authentic!

Did you read Erika’s post? She has a great story on the nicest apology she has ever received? What about all of you? Tell me your stories (both good and bad). Let’s discuss and really show the power of these two simple words!
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Two Simple, Yet Powerful Words!

Everyone’s felt it at some point haven’t they? You know what I’m talking about. You do a good deed for somebody, and although you aren’t looking for anything in return, you still feel a little disappointed when you don’t so much as get a “Thank You!” Of course, it shouldn’t be our goal to seek out “Thank yous.” I mean, we really should just do good things for others out of pure love for them shouldn’t we? Even so, I know that many still yearn to hear those two simple, yet very powerful words.

Let’s flip the scenario. I’m sure many of you have experienced this: Out of the blue, you get a thank you note sent to you, but you really don’t know what you did to deserve the thank you. How did you feel? Didn’t it just warm you to know that someone appreciated what you did, even if you didn’t realize it was a big deal to them? Wow! The power of those two simple words.

Now this post really isn’t about you or me receiving “Thank yous.” Again, our goal shouldn’t be to help others purely for the sake of receiving recognition. Shouldn’t it be about all of us being more liberal with those two simple, yet powerful words? What would life be like if all of us started spreading the gratitude that so many people deserve, yet get no credit for? Heck, maybe we should even start sprinkling those two words around for no reason at all. Does someone need to do something for you in order to receive a hearty “Thank You?”

I’ve got to tell you that reading Don Frederiksen’s post on “thank yous” is what really gave me the inspiration for this post! I feel it is extremely important for us to let people know when they are doing a good job, or when they have provided a benefit for us. Here’s a neat story about a man I respected greatly in how he handled his workforce:

Grandpa’s Advice
My grandfather, John Peterson, passed away 2 years ago this last October. However, as he spent his last months in nursing homes for lung cancer, I got to spend many days with him listening to his wise advice on business. You see, my grandfather worked his way up the ranks of Meredith Publishing (which I believe is now Meredith Corporation) and retired as a manager at the print plant that used to be in Des Moines.

The day I will never forget was a day he asked me how work was going. I told him that it was a struggle as there was some tension among my employees. His question to me was this: “Eric, have you thanked them lately?” After explaining that I tried to show my gratitude in various ways, he went on to tell me his way, and why it worked.

My grandfather said that although he wore a suit and tie to work every day, he made it a point to start his day by going out to the shop floor and shaking every single print press operators hand and saying “Thank you”. He thanked them for the work they did, for their dedication to him and the company, and for being a class act individual.

Here’s another key though. He didn’t just thank them and move on. He didn’t just thank them for nothing. No, he really believed in his employees and what they did and therefore believed in those two words. His “thank you” was as authentic of a thank you as those employees could get, because he believed in the work they did.

Wow! Could you imagine having someone start your day every day with a big ol’ “Thank You?” Now that would be something. Of course, you’d probably want to throw in a real and authentic smile too!

~picture courtesy of

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

UPDATED: A Book Meme - Will You Participate?

Books! I've just found a fairly new love! I must say thank you to Troy Worman and April Groves for tagging me for this book meme. Troy was tagged by Phil Gerbyshack, who was tagged by Matthew and back through Karen and Lisa. Troy also tagged April who then tagged me.

I have to tell you that I grew up hating to read! I know....."What a wasted youth" ;) But, when you grow up a sports addict in the video game era, books don't really do much for you. However, in the last half decade, I have really turned things around and realized how much learning can take place from reading. I've been slowly building my knowledge arsenal and the information below has been part of my inspiration. So here it is, a book meme.

The Protocol: Answer 5 questions. Tag 5 booklovers.

The Questions:
1) How many books do you own?
2) What was the last book you read?
3) What was the last book you purchased?
4) What five books are most meaningful to you?
5) What is your most obscure favorite book? Or, favorite most obscure booK?

My answers:
1) Probably 80-100 books - Remember, I just recently found my love for reading!
2) "The Age of Conversation" was read for a graduate class. Talk about a cool book. See my previous post on this book here.
3) The Radical Edge by Steve Farber and The Case For Christ by Lee Stroebel - I'm currently reading these now
4) "God is My CEO," "The Power of Focus," "Enlightened Office Politics," "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," "Fathers Living a Life of Leadership...God's Way," "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People"
5) "ESPN College Football Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Game"

I've got to say thanks again to Troy and April for the tags. Here's who I'm tagging:

Bob Loch, Erik Potter, Timothy Johnson, Ann Michael, Don Frederiksen

YOU'RE IT! Enjoy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pursuing the OS!M

Okay, so I have to pass this on to everyone! Liz Strauss has a a great video posted of Steve Farber explaining the OS!M pursuit by extreme leaders (see Liz's post on "Steve Farber and the OS!M).

Why does this excite me? Two reasons:

1) I love discussion on leadership, motivation, and other topics, and I am constantly striving for more knowledge, and

2) I've recently been turned into a big Steve Farber fan through a graduate class I'm taking at Drake University (which just happens to be taught by Timothy Johnson).

Anyway, for this class, we have had to read Steve's first book "The Radical Leap," and we are just getting ready to dive into his second book "The Radical Edge." (I'll let you know how that one reads in a few days). If you don't know of Steve, I must tell you that he really is a great mind when it comes to the topic of leadership. His books are set up as business fables, which make them very easy to read, and very easy to comprehend. I would recommend that everyone who gets the chance to, should pick up these books.

There are all kinds of great leaders out there, and from what I've read and heard, Steve Farber is one of them. If you're looking for a bit more information on Steve or his books, you can check out a previous post of mine on true leaders vs. posers. You can also head over to Liz's blog, or check out this post from Terry Starbucker. Better yet though, why don't you check out Steve's Blog for yourself and sign up for his free audio series download?

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What I Learned From My 4-Month Old Daughter: “Just Smile”

This post is my entry into Robert Hruzek’s monthly “What I Learned From..” group writing project. If you haven’t seen or participated in this, check it out here.

I think if my 4-month old could talk right now, she would say “Daddy, it’s time for you to just smile and brighten someone’s day!” I’ll tell you what: she is going to be a firm believer in this smiling concept. That’s all she does. Granted, she may start to get fussy when she’s hungry or sick, but most every other waking moment is spent smiling! It doesn’t matter what kind of day I have had at work; when I get home to that huge smile, it instantly brightens up my day!!

Shouldn’t this be our goal? To brighten others’ days? Maybe it’s our employees, our bosses, our coworkers, our friends, our family. Shouldn’t we strive to put on a smile and really brighten up the day for somebody else? I know, babies are cuter and have really cute smiles. But, is there really a glaring difference? Don’t you just start to feel better (even if only a little bit) when you get a real, authentic smile from someone else? It doesn’t matter if they’re 4 months, 10 years, 40 years, or 80 years old! Smiles are contagious, and they provide an uplifting feeling of goodness!

So, here’s my challenge: It’s time for us to start smiling more! It’s time for us to be that beacon of light for others! Where do you start? How about this:

1) Start by smiling! I’m talking real and authentic smiling. I’ve heard that it takes 21 days to create a habit, so this may take some of us quite a while!

2) Change your attitude! We need authentic smiles and we need them to come naturally. This can only be accomplished by a real and conscious effort to change our attitudes.

3) Fake it (if you have to)! I know this seems to contradict my previous point on authentic smiles, but let’s think about it. Everyone will have those days when things aren’t going right. To avoid our self pity, it’s these days where we may need to fake it. Who knows, maybe faking it for a while will serve as a self fulfilling prophecy, and the true authentic smile will begin to shine!

So, that’s what I’ve learned from my 4-month old: Real, authentic smiles will brighten others’ days! I know this concept isn’t “new” by any means, but it’s definitely a concept that needs to be reiterated! Who knows, maybe this is one way we all can begin to “Change the World!”

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

How Do You Change the World?

How are you changing the world? Okay, maybe “changing the world” isn’t your goal. Then, how are you making a difference in one person’s life? A group’s life? A community’s life? A city’s life? A state’s life? You get the point!

I really do want to know. I am interested in learning what everyone is doing. I know Troy Worman really does a good job of spreading the word about charities and other honorable events/organizations (like this one or this one). So, what does everyone else do?

Okay, there is also a small ulterior motive (yes, there is something in this for me). I am taking a graduate leadership class from Timothy Johnson, and he has assigned a final paper entitled “How I Will Change the World Through My Leadership?” I know what everyone is thinking: “Taking a leadership class from Tim Johnson is a scary thought;)” Seriously though, the class has been very enlightening!

I’ve got to tell you that I am learning a ton of stuff about my leadership abilities through Tim’s class, through this blog, and through self-reflection at work. I’m also learning a lot about who I want to be and who I want to emulate in the future. But, I’m looking for more firepower, more knowledge, more anecdotes. I want to know how others are making a difference, so that I can begin to make decisions that will make a difference!

So, will you indulge me on this one? Let me know how you are changing the world (or at least making a difference), by leaving a comment for me below. I appreciate any and all help!

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Monday, November 05, 2007

A Must Read: "The Age of Conversation"

I'm reading "The Age of Conversation" for my graduate leadership class at Drake University, and I must say that I am enjoying it quite a lot. It's a compilation of 100 different essays/articles/pieces on conversation. It's a great read. All 100 pieces of work are one page long, which makes it very easy to digest. They are short, sweet, to the point, and they are written by over "100 of the world's leading marketers, writers, thinkers and creative innovators."

The book started out as a dare from the editors, Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan that challenged bloggers around the world to contribute one page on the topic of conversation. It includes massive amounts of information on conversation, dialogue, blogging, branding, and other topics. It truly is a masterpiece! But, here's the real power of the book: ALL proceeds from sales of the book go to Variety, the Children's Charity.

I recently ran across a couple posts that share some information about "The Age of Conversation." You can read Gavin Heaton's here and Drew McLellan's here.

Here's the deal. This is a great book that many people can benefit from. So, I suggest that we spread the word. If you are an active blogger, please mention this post, or one from any of the contributors, or refer them to Drew. I've listed some of the contributors below. Better yet, why don't you buy the book from, for yourself. In fact, buy a few copies and give them out as gifts. The Christmas season is closely approaching!

Happy reading! And, Happy conversing!

Partial List of Contributors to "The Age of Conversation:
Todd Andrlik, G Kofi Annan, David Armano, Steve Bannister, Cam Beck, Jordan Behan, David Berkowitz, Mark Blair, Becky Carroll, Katie Chatfield, Tony D. Clark, Tom Clifford, Mack Collier, Peter Corbett, Chris Corrigan, Rishi Desai, Mark Earls, Anna Farmery, Julie Fleischer, Phil Gerbyshak, Bob Glaza, Janet Green, Ann Handley, Gavin Heaton, Robert Hruzek, Spike Jones, Valeria Maltoni, Drew McLellan, Connie Reece, Sandy Renshaw, Mike Sansone, Greg Verdino, Roger von Oech, Steve Woodruff, Troy Worman

Friday, November 02, 2007

A 2 Month Blogaversary = My Top 5 Posts

As I’m coming up on the weekend of my 2 month Blogaversary (I know, I know, a whole 2 months), I am taking a mental trip back to look at my blogging journey. It all started on September 4th, 2007 with this post. I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and look forward to the unknown that lies ahead. I have been introduced to some very inspiring people and I have learned an unbelievable amount of information about the blogosphere and its incredible community. In the last 2 months, I have:

As I am reminiscing, I have decided that I would list my TOP 5 posts from that last couple of months. Most of these posts are ones that I enjoyed writing, but also may have created great conversation, or may have been ones that early on didn’t receive a lot of readership. I’m hoping that as new readers have been turned on to Leadership and Other Ramblings, that they will find these Top 5 posts either thought provoking, inspirational, helpful, or maybe just plain fun to read. Without further ado, here is my Top 5:

  1. “Sarcastic Leadership” – This created quite the discussion
  2. “The Persistent Pursuit of Perfection”
  3. “A Motivated Couch Potato!?” – I hope you’ll find this thought provoking
  4. “A Toddler Taught Adversity Lesson” – I love to learn lessons from my kids
  5. “Fun & Work: An Oxymoron or A Necessary Marriage?” – I’d really like to know some of your thoughts on this one!

I must say “Thank You” to all that have visited my blog, and “Thank You” to all that allow me to visit yours. I have enjoyed this experience and look forward to forging stronger relationships with many of you!

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