Tag: Dedication

Be A Duck

Last Saturday night I was at a wedding, sitting at table 16 next to the dance floor with a clear view of the floor, the DJ booth and the bride and groom. It was a great wedding with fantastic food, music, and atmosphere. It was about 8:00 PM and I’d been awake since 4:30 AM and still had a long drive home and dinner hadn’t yet been served. Nonetheless, I was people watching and enjoying myself. That’s when I noticed the DJ. He wasn’t the M.C., he wasn’t the one to rile the crowd, he was just the guy who played the music. For all intent and purposes, he was behind the scenes.
As I watched the DJ, my already good mood got better. And then it hit me, he was being a duck. I know you have absolutely no idea what that means but I’m going to explain and take you on a small trip back to my days selling radio ads on Long Island. Names and such have been replaced out of respect.
It was the spring of 1999 and I was selling radio advertising on Long Island. I worked for a country radio station and that’s not an easy sell. I used to joke that selling country radio on Long Island was harder than selling rap to the rednecks. Based on some of my current friends I now know a fair amount of self-proclaimed rednecks that really like rap. Hence, another lesson about not making assumptions. But I digress. This one particular client I had, Rich was some type of bad-ass ex-military or covert government employee who had seen and experienced the things we hear about or see in movies. I remember Rich well.  As I got to know him I realized he had incredible insight into people and that’s what made Rich so valuable to the government. I would stop and see him in the course of my travels and we would talk, initially about things like the weather or the seasons but the conversations became deeper and more engaging, the type of conversations I like. There was a point when Rich shared that he wasn’t feeling well, more of a terminal thing so I felt like my time with him was more valuable to him than me and I was happy to sit and listen to his stories and engage in conversations. His stories were fascinating. Of all the stories and the excitement that accompanied each one, I only remember one. At the time, I probably thought it was silly but it’s stayed with me for over 20 years and I think about it often.
Rich had shared that he and his wife had a nice house with a nice backyard, all the accompanying outdoor furniture and an inground pool that was seldom used. He then told me about a duck that had adopted him and his wife. I was puzzled.  What do you mean a duck adopted you? It made no sense. Rich explained that one day when they came home from work there was a duck in their yard who seemed to be dazed, confused and possibly hurt. While they tried to approach the duck, it avoided them at all costs, kind of like a game of cat and mouse, but this was human and duck. They started putting food and water out for the duck and watched it slowly getting better. They never really knew what was wrong but they suspected a broken wing. Over time, as they would sit outside and soak in the sun while sipping on their drinks the duck would sit nearby and watch them, never really joining them but never leaving either. The duck was rather solemn and always peaceful, kind of like that relative that comes to stay and you don’t even know they’re around. Then one day that all changed. It was a nice summer day and Rich could hear a commotion in the yard. As he and his wife went to see what was going on they were astonished. It was the duck. He was swimming and splashing, flapping his wings and making waves, he was quacking and they were convinced he was laughing and smiling. He was bobbing his head in and out of the water, and frantically kicking his feet with joy. Then he’d stop and just float around for a few minutes and start all over again. It looked like he was having the time of his life. I remember asking Rich what the duck was doing and his response was perfect. He’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to do, he’s being a duck and it’s beautiful. I’ve seen kids be kids, leaders be leaders and on Saturday night I saw a DJ be a DJ and it was awesome.
If you are going to do something, anything, find the purpose, find the passion and be a duck. Life’s too short to settle so be happy and kick ass in whatever you do!

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Set Up, Get up, Win!

I hear the word can’t a lot. It’s probably one of the words I hate most. If you think about it, what is there you or society can’t do? For most things, we’ve found a way to accomplish them. I know, I can’t flap my arms, even really quickly and fly like a bird to the corner store. But we have figured out how to fly. We can fly further and faster than any creature. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some things that I will never be able to do and they fall under the category of “Can’t”.  As a man, I can’t give birth, but I can have a baby, even a newborn. I know I can’t lift 1,000 lbs. But I can use equipment or create a pulley system to accomplish the same goal.
My point is this, the old adage, when there is a will there is a way. Sometimes we just need to open our thoughts and think differently or change our perspective.  Not everything has to be difficult if you set your self up for success.  So how do you do that?  First, define success. Then see how others who have achieved the success you want went about it? Figure out how to make it work for you by copying and improving on their method. Next is the harder part, next is putting it into action and setting yourself up for success.
Countless people know what to do, who know how to do it, who have the intelligence, the strength, the capacity, the will power, the resources, and never reach their goal. They never really got set up to get up and win.  Here”s what I mean. They want to be healthy, but their friends and family are all unhealthy and perpetuate poor eating habits and don’t exercise. Therefore the environment is not conducive to success. Can success still be attained? Yes, and that’s where will power and change come in.  Remove the triggers to the bad habits and build triggers to good habits. I.e, do not shower until completing a workout. For every sugary snack that’s eaten,  spend another 10 minutes on a treadmill.  Workout away from home at the same time every day with like-minded people.  This combination is creating a rules structure, and environmental change and positive reinforcement.  This is the set up for success.
Now the “get up”.  That the “do it” part and do it religiously. Get up early and get to work, get up off the sofa and get to work, get up from social media and get to work. It’s easier to get up when you are set up to win, but you still have to do it. You have to commit. It doesn’t matter what we’re talking about. Healthy living, quitting smoking, reading more, doing charitable work, or saving money.  When you define what your success is, (who you want to be), see how others do it, set up a strategy and the right environment to make “getting up” easier.  The winning becomes easier too.
So what are you waiting for? Time to Set Up, Get Up and Win!

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Mikey Likes It

For this of you that remember, there used to be a TV commercial for Life cereal. If you’ve never seen it, you can see it here. Mikey Likes It. I’m sharing this because I want to tell you about the Mikey I know.
For those that know me, you know I like racing and I’m competitive. In early December I’m at a show / swap meet for race cars and parts. While I’m browsing at a table filled with specialty tools, parts and more, amongst thousands of others, Mikey approaches me and says hello. Mikey tells me he’s seen my website and blogs and he finds them inspiring and looks forward to more. I’m honored and humbled that this young man who I’ve known for the majority of his life has found inspiration and wisdom in my words.
I first met Mikey when he was a young boy and his mom and dad brought him to a local kart track to race. It appeared as though his mom and dad gave him every opportunity they could and it was evident how much they loved their little boy. They all tried so hard, stuck with it and continually got better. Racing isn’t easy and it’s very competitive, at any age.
Fast forward to the summer of 2019. Mikey has grown up into a respectable young man, and you can still find him and his mom and dad at the race track every Friday night. They’re not racing karts anymore as they have moved to big race cars. It’s much more expensive, the competition is incredible and the highs and lows are amazing. Mikey usually runs well, but being the first to cross the finish line and get the checkered flags has eluded him, that is until one Friday night this past summer. I, along with so many others, possibly every competitor from every class and every spectator were thrilled for Mikey and his parents. It not because he won, it’s not because he’s a nice kid, it’s not because we’re all nice people, it’s not because his parents are so supportive. Yes, those all played into why we were thrilled for him, but at the end of the day it’s because he was and is relentless. He never quit, he just kept trying, working and getting better. He did and does what we should all do every day. It takes focus, it takes discipline and it’s not easy.
Mikey, you said you liked my stories and found them inspirational. I like how you’re living and the dedication you have. I find that inspirational. Keep working, keep winning and here’s to a great 2020!

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