Chase Your Dream


While speaking to a class of college students, one young man who coveted a career as a musician, asked me “When is it time to give up on your dream?”.

Apparently his father, a college math professor, wanted him to have a career with a more substantial and predictable income stream.  A valid thought for a parent, for sure.

However my answer was: never stop chasing your dream.

But, he replied, “How do I make a living?”

I cautioned not to confuse making a living with following your dream.  Sometimes they are the same.  Sometimes they are not.

As long as we live on this earth and have the ability, why would we knowingly decide to throw our hands up and stop going after that which ignited our passions.

No employer, no mate, no friend, no enemy has the right to prevent us from chasing our dreams. 

Because today’s dreams are tomorrow’s accomplishments.

Dreams help enhance our self-esteem.

And perhaps more importantly, our dreams today lead us on the next great adventure tomorrow.

Say it – display it – embrace it.

“You have to speak your dream out loud” – Kelly Corrigan

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Dealing With Disappointment

If you watched any of golf’s Masters Championship recently, perhaps what occurred to me occurred to you.

How awful it must feel to work so hard to compete in this major event and lose.

The same feeling emerges when a politician we support loses an election, when we fail to get the promotion we have worked so hard to get and so on.

Dealing with disappointment is major because we are disappointed so much.

No one plays to lose, but too few of us play to win because we played.

Participating in The Masters — check off, well done.

Running an election campaign – check success.

Working hard for a promotion that eludes us – chalk one up for being a hard worker who will soon not be denied.

The problem with losing is that we make it worse in our minds than it really is.  Not everyone can win a golf tournament.  Only one person may.

Where did we get the idea that we have the right to be disappointed for more than 24 hours and that’s the special rule I want to share with you this morning.

I allow myself 24 hours to be human and be disappointed – to sleep it off and start over again the next day.

Then resurrect all the good things we’ve done short of getting all that we wanted.

It’s true that to win tomorrow we have to lose today – and build our self-esteem rather than diminish it.

“Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead” – Les Brown.

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  • Rather than putting your head down and plowing ahead, perhaps the lesson that we should take away from this, was displayed by Angel Cabrera and that is to keep your head up, then plow ahead, display the utmost professionalism and celebrate being there by congratulating your worthy opponent.  I gained so much respect for Cabrera, enjoyed the drama of the Masters, the class, dignity, true sportsmanship, as well as the lesson about how to accept defeat when you’ve done your best.

  • Love it J!

Roger Ebert’s Life Lessons

The movie critic Roger Ebert was being remembered last week when he died for all that he accomplished in journalism, television, speaking and digital media.

Ebert embraced the computer as his ability to speak was compromised by cancer that left him with the removal of his chin.

Beyond battling all that, what touched me that I want to share with you this morning is two lessons in living that are invaluable.

When he criticized the film “Brown Bunny” at the Cannes Film festival, the movie’s director skewered Ebert in return in vulgar terms.  But when Ebert saw a recut of the film, he praised the film.

Lesson one:  be gracious enough to offer praise and honest appreciation even in light of bad blood that may have developed between you and others.

Then when Ebert trashed “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo”, he later admitted that star Rob Schneider had sent him get well flowers and a card upon learning of his illness.

Roger said, “although Rob Schneider might in my opinion have made a bad movie, he is not a bad man, and no doubt tried to make a wonderful movie and hopes to try again.”

Lesson two:  see good in others even when you may be critical of them.

The best way to remember someone who has passed away that left a heritage of some sort is to give renewed life to their good traits and let the departed live on through us.

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Why Me?


When adversity hits us or someone close to us, it is human to say “Why me?”.

In 1987 when famed Mouseketeer Annette Funicello, who died recently, found out that she had multiple sclerosis she saw the illness as a calling to help raise money to fight the disease.  She raised millions through her fame and misfortune by establishing the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Diseases.

But it doesn’t take starting a fund to work through adversity.

Women with breast cancer often volunteer their services to help others affected by the disease.  I know of one woman who for years made wigs for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Disease, accidents and misfortune are not on our wish list for sure but often adopting a “can-do” attitude about fighting back not only helps the patient but those around them as well.

It gives life a more defined meaning and a healthy perspective when dealing with misfortune.

“Cancer didn’t bring me to my knees, it brought me to my feet.” 
~ Michael Douglas

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Return From the Stress of Email Hell

One of the best things about constant contact with others on our mobile devices is that we can easily converse with more people and faster than ever before.

One of the worst things is that we can easily converse with more people and faster than ever before.

We seem to know what to do with spam and unwanted email.  There are programs that will shut these things down.  After all, email looks more and more like junk mail – the kind the postal service delivers.

But when it comes to work, our friends, family and new family (Facebook friends and virtual buddies), email is becoming a drain as well as a pain.

Some ideas I’ve adopted seem to help:

  1. Everyone who takes the time to write to me gets a timely response – and happily because as you’ll see prioritizing email responses allows for better, more meaningful communication.
  2. In an age of Twitter and texting, aim for short responses that are as succinct and meaningful as the best tweets.  It works for email.
  3. Manage digital communications with you in control.  That is, a phone call is a tool for talking to some people, as texting is a way to reach others.  There are many tools that add up to communication.
  4. If someone invests a lot of time to write a long email, invest a lot of time to return a meaningful (not necessarily long) response.

Life is stressful and constant contact makes us more stressful.

See these things as tools and not burdens.

You didn’t have to answer the phone 10 years ago and you don’t have to communicate with anyone that isn’t worth a thoughtful succinct response.

Email is becoming outdated because texting and Twitter are tools that many find more useful.  Whatever works, reduce social stress by taking charge of your digital life and using the tools that we all share more effectively.

“I don’t believe in email.  I’m an old-fashioned girl.  I prefer calling and hanging up” – Sarah Jessica Parker

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