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Archive for December, 2008

Live Life in Crescendo!

Friday, December 19th, 2008

am now 76 years old and could easily retire. But I’m not retired and I don’t plan to retire. I don’t believe in retirement. Why people ask me? Simply, I have a life motto. It is: Live life in crescendo!

Living life in crescendo to me means that my most important work is always ahead of me, never behind me. I believe that “where much is given, much is required.” I have a sacred stewardship to contribute and not to retire to leisure. Also, the greatest way to serve my 50 grandkids is not just to love them and tend to their interests and needs, but to be an example of someone who is constantly making a difference in the world.

Start living your life in crescendo–and remember your most important work is ahead of you, not behind you! There is so much more to do, to learn and contribute.

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The One Thing I Would Do Differently as a Parent

Monday, December 15th, 2008

This holiday season is a great time to reflect on our lives and particularly on our families. As a husband, father and grandfather, I am so thrilled with my family. They are my greatest blessing and my greatest joy.

I’ve wondered over the years what mistakes I have made in my role as a father. There are mistakes along the way; the important thing is to get back on track. I think one of the things I would differently as a parent is spending more time developing informal win-win agreements with each of my children. Doing this consistently and over time, covering the different phases of their lives would have been beneficial.

Because I traveled a lot I felt that I often indulged them and went for lose-win too often. Instead I would have liked to pay the price to take the time to build relationships through win-win agreements.

Think about your own relationships with your children. What can you do to create more win-win? Would you like to try creating win-win agreements with them to involve them more in decision-making, problem-solving and being accountable? Find a problem or issue you want to work on. Talk to your child about their needs or desires (their win). Explain what is a win for you. Then come up with ideas for meeting your child’s needs in a way that will also meet your needs. Set up specific expectations, to-dos and outcomes. You even can put this down on paper and you both will sign it so you can always go back to it in case of questions. This also creates accountability.

The more you create win-win with your children, the more trust you will build with them—and you’ll model and teach them one of the most important skills they need to have to thrive in their relationships not only in the family but in all their relationships, now and in the future.

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Most Important Habit?

Friday, December 5th, 2008

I am often asked if there is one habit out of the 7 Habits that is more important than the others. Of course, all the habits are important and they form an inter-connected whole or a continuum. For maximum effectiveness, you have to build from one to the other and apply them consistently. From that perspective, Habit 1: Be Proactive provides the foundation for all the other habits. Habit 1 is, undoubtedly, the foundation for leadership at home or at work because it begins with the mindset “I am responsible for me, and I can choose.”All the other habits are dependent upon being proactive and choosing to master and practicing principle-centered living.

The key to being proactive is remembering that between stimulus and response there is a space. That space represents our choice— how we will choose to respond to any given situation, person, thought or event. Imagine a pause button between stimulus and response—a button you can engage to pause and think about what is the principle-based response to your given situation. Listen to what your conscience tells you. Listen for what is wise and the principle-based thing to do, and then act.

Being proactive (Habit 1) becomes much more powerful when connected and related to the other habits. The key to the habits is the power of their combined synergy and meaningful purpose. Leaving one habit out is like having a four-legged chair—when you remove one leg the chair is out of balance.

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