Bruce White

Blog Post #286 WHY and Judgment

A well viewed Ted Talk is by SImon Sinek entitled “Start with WHY”.  The concept is that putting the WHY first (the purpose) before HOW (we are getting their / the process) and the WHAT (the actual outcome), that we make our PURPOSE the most important reason we live and work.

Recently a strange thought has been rummaging around in my head (actually two strange thoughts).  I think I understand the HOW and the WHAT, but the WHY seems to be eluding me. WHY is central to WHO we are and WHO we are becoming.  Socrates said “the un-examined life is not worth living” – suggesting that we need to examine the WHY’s in our lives.

Why do I exercise?  Because it is central to my life.  Yes, I’m okay with the HOW to exercise and the WHAT to exercise – but WHY do I do it?  Do I BELIEVE that exercise is important? Yes I do. But is that enough of a why? Do I feel good after exercise?  Not always – frequently I feel worn down and tired. If it doesn’t feel good WHY do it? Because of a belief system.

Now ‘belief’ is very different from person to person.  And, we do need to evaluate our belief systems from time to time.  For many years, I looked down (I’m sorry to say this) on those with different sexual orientations – gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender.  Maybe I finally saw loving couples (in particular Jill and Cathy) and some others (like Sean and Andy).

I’ve also adjusted my judgments over the years.  I wanted to judge people (GLBTQ) or obese or smokers or criminals or <whatever>.  In my belief system, I’ve come to the realization that I’m not the judge. In my belief system, God is the final judge.  In Matthew 6 we have this:

“Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. For the way you judge others is how you will be judged — the measure with which you measure out will be used to measure to you. Why do you see the splinter in your brother’s eye but not notice the log in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when you have the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite! First, take the log out of your own eye; then you will see clearly, so that you can remove the splinter from your brother’s eye!

I’m not going to judge people.  Yes, I still have to be careful, but not to judge.  So, the spammer who calls saying he is from Microsoft and I need to go to a particular website and share my information is really just making a living (albeit a criminal one).  

I also know that I am not perfect (the older I get the truer that is) – and understanding WHY I am here is important to me.

So, for my two strange thoughts rummaging around in my brain, I need to do more analysis.  One thought is to escape the problem of aging and the large scar in my chest from open heart surgery by becoming somebody else.  So, why do I want to escape?

The second is somewhat related to escaping – (serious) – suicide.  There are day when I feel unneeded and unwanted. I need to find value in life – through my belief system.

So, what about you?  How do you get to WHY in your life?  Can you share your experience at: brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Go for it!! Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

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Blog Post #285 Starting the day

So, how do you start your day?  If you want to be motivated, here are some suggestions.

Get up early.  

In my household there are the two of us – my wife and myself.  I do naturally wake up earlier than my wife (as well as go to bed earlier).  So, it is easy to slip out of bed, head to the living room (and my favorite chair) and start my day.

Focus.

I close my eyes for a few minutes

I like to settle in by clearing my mind.  Sure, on my mind is my agenda and activities for the day, but I need to clear out those thoughts for a while.

Take some deep breaths – fill my lungs with fresh oxygen – clear our the old air – just like clearing my brain out.

Try to find my innermost being – something deep within me.

Relax

Keep taking those deep breathes.  Keep settling into my innermost being.  Just relax – no thinking (and if my brain has to keep thinking and pounding ideas into my head – like – ‘you need to get going and get the coffee going’ – then I put my brain to think about breathing.  Maybe count those breathes; maybe consider the clearing of your brain and your lungs.

Ask:

After maybe five minutes – sometimes longer and sometimes shorter – I can introduce more metaphysical thoughts:

  • Who am I
  • Where am I going (long term)
  • Why am I here
  • What are my vision mission and values

Reflect:

I take time to reflect on those.  Yes, the world will start and maybe I need to think about taking the trash out (Tuesday mornings), or get a load of laundry started, or start the coffee – but those thoughts can wait.  The day will start on those after this morning routine.

Imaging:

While I’m asking myself my fundamental questions, I work on picturing who I am.  At age 70, I am retired – but what will I be like at age 80 and 90. I don’t picture myself with a walker, but walking with a fresh gentle breeze behind me (hint – always picture the breeze behind you!!).  I picture myself erect – not slouching – a gentle smile on my face. I can add my imaging to those questions like who am I. I can picture the affirmations I have written on the card in my billfold where I have answered that.  I know who I am and where I am going. I smile more, I picture myself smiling the roses (or lilacs).

Meditate:

Some days I add more conscious meditation – maybe on a scripture, a prayer, time to connect with the creator, saviour and Holy Spirit in my live.

Return to life:

After reflecting and enjoying the beauty that is in my brain, I can slowly move back to ‘today’.  What am I doing today? What do I need to do today? What deadlines are in front of me? How does ‘today’ match the long term view of ‘where am I going’.

I sit for a few minutes more before starting that coffee.

So, what about you?  How do you start your day?  Can you share your experience at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

 

Go for it!! Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

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Blog Post #284 Friendship

From Ben Franklin, American Statesman  

  • “Be civil to all; sociable to many, familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none”;
  • “Be slow in choosing a friend, and slower in changing”.

Making enemies is not ever a good plan.  Being civil (nice) to all people will tilt things in your favor.    The pyramid that Franklin suggests – civil to all, sociable (friendly) to many; familiar (close) to few; friend to one great friend is laudatory.  Do you have such a pyramid? (Do I have such a pyramid?)

Making a great friend does take time – and keeping a friend is very important.  Franklin suggests we take our time to find and choose a friend.

I have a great friend that unfortunately likes 18 hours of driving away.  But, when we get together, it is like we see each other everyday. We pick up conversations right where they stopped.  We were sociable until fate brought us closer together. Long road trips with just the two of us meant lots of screen time (front windshield time really); prompted us to talk and to grow closer.  We did some really interesting things together – road trips to Omaha, followed to Rochester, Owatonna, Minneapolis, Marshall and Sioux Falls. A long road trip from South Dakota to Texas. Conferences around the United States – and flying first class back to South Dakota from Orlando.  Flooding in San Antonio. Maybe the most inspired (or least inspired) was when the two of us “recalled” the degrees of our students so we could have an alumni gathering. (We can laugh about it now – although the administration wasn’t quite sure when alumni in our major called and said “Tom and Bruce are recalling our degrees”).

So, what about you?  Are you cultivating close friends?  Do you have special friends? Can you share your experience at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Go for it!! Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

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Blog Post #283 Tongue

From Ben Franklin, American Statesman “A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.
I’m pretty sure that all of us have said something dumb that we wished we could get back.  We sometimes say that we should engage our brains before opening our mouth.

The Bible in James chapter 3 says:

“The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.  All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

It is so vital to try to control our tongue.

Many years ago I knew a young lady whose name was Mary Jane Yusinowitz.  Unfortunately the guys had a bad nickname for her last name (you son-of-a-bitch).  I was introducing her to another friend one day and I used the incorrect version – and I was embarrassed and sorry that my tongue (controlled by my brain) was so out-of-control.

So, what about you?  What dumb things have you said?  Can you share your experience at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

 

Go for it!! Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

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Blog Post #282 Laughter

Thinking of laughter today:

Some quotes first:

  • “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.” Audrey Hepburn
  • “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” Charles Dickens
  • “If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.” Robert Frost
  • “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” William Shakespeare
  • “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.”  Maya Angelou
  • “The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”  Mark Twain
  • I love to laugh, and I laugh often.  I also love to make others laugh and enjoy the time together.  To me, laughter is the best medicine.

WebMD has this statement on laughter:

  • “Feeling rundown? Try laughing more. Some researchers think laughter just might be the best medicine, helping you feel better and putting that spring back in your step.

    “I believe that if people can get more laughter in their lives, they are a lot better off,” says Steve Wilson, MA, CSP, and laugh therapist. “They might be healthier too.”
  • Yet researchers aren’t sure if it’s actually the act of laughing that makes people feel better. A good sense of humor, a positive attitude, and the support of friends and family might play a role, too.
  • Sometimes it is corny stories, sometimes something just strikes me as funny.  

From the Bible we have:

  • A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
  • Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! Psalm 32:11
  • You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.Psalm 4:7
  • Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4

I like puns too: How about: “I wasn’t originally going to get a brain transplant, but then I changed my mind”

How about you?  Have you laughed deep and hearty today?  Find some humor, laugh a little (even laugh at yourself sometimes), and let joy and laughter fill your heart!!

So – how about you?   Let me know at: brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Go for it!! Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

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Blog Post #281 Your environment

So, what is going on around you?  

Troubles?  Good things?  Hatred? Love? Storms and cold? Warm and pleasant weather?  Bad co-workers? Great co-workers?

Really we’re talking about your environment (or circumstances) today.

I liked this quote: ““Circumstances are the rulers of the weak; they are but the instruments of the wise.”

Sometimes we let circumstances rule us.  We get a bill for more than we thought; the car breaks down; the pet dog dies; the roof leaks; the neighbors don’t mow their grass.  Whatever goes on around us affects our circumstances / our environment.

Al Capp, legendary American cartoonist, had a character Joe Btfsplk.  Joe walked under a black rain cloud. Wherever Joe went catastrophe was sure to follow.

But, we can choose to let circumstances rule us – or to overcome them.  

Recently Stephen Hawking, British physicist and author died.  For many, many years, Hawking was confined to a wheelchair with Lou Gehrig’s disease.  He used a speech synthesizer to communicate because of his disease.

Joe could have succumbed to the disease – or chosen to ride above it – and he did rise above it.

There are some additional quotes that relate:

Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.

Every cloud has a silver lining

Are you letting circumstances rule your life – or are you finding a way to use them as instruments to rise above them.

So – how about you?  Do circumstances rule you; or can you rise above them??  Let me know at: brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

 

Go for it!!Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

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Blog Post #280 Spring

March 20th was the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere (at 11:15 a.m. Central Daylight Time in the USA).

In High School (many years ago), we sang an English version of Edward Grieg’s Varden (or English – Last Spring) .  The version here is not quite the same but similar enough:

Yes, once again winter’s face would I see to Spring’s glory waning,
whitethorn outspreading its clusters so free in beauty enchaining.

Once more behold from the earth day by day the ice disappearing,
snow melting fast and in thunder and spray the river, careering.

In Grieg’s native Norway, winters are long, the desire for spring even longer.  Spring brings us hope, new life. Winter is like death, dormancy.

Emerald meadows, your flow’rets I’ll spy and hail each new comer;
listen again to the lark in the sky who warbles of summer.

Glittering sunbeams how fain would I watch on bright hillocks glancing,
butterflies seeking from blossoms to snatch their treasures while dancing.

He (Grieg) writes of seeing spring again – emerald meadows, flowers, larks, sunbeams, butterflies.

But he finishes with this:

Spring’s many joys once again would I taste ere fade they forever.
But, heavy-hearted, I feel that I haste from this world to sever.

So be it then! yet in Nature so fair much bliss I could find me;
over and past is my plentiful share, I leave all behind me.

(This version is from: https://www.smule.com/song/edvard-grieg-varen-the-last-spring-english-lyrics-karaoke-lyrics/391422520_393408/arrangement)

It is the last spring for Grieg (at least in the poem).  He is ‘heavy-hearted’ to be ‘severed’ from this world, and he ‘leave(s) all behind me’.

Spring is a joy (even in Texas where winters are not as cruel).  Trees budding, flowers blooming, sunlight shining longer each day.  In the north part of the United States (where most of my life has been spent), is the ecstacy of lilacs, the joy of flowering crabapple trees and daffodils blooming.  It has been long pent up, but bursts forth in beauty.

Like Grieg, we too experience winter and winter doldrums; we too wait for the rebirth of spring; we see the flowers and experience the joy.

It can be like that in life.  We struggle through a project (or several projects), we trudge through the allegorical snow, to find that first flower – that snowdrop, and wait for the grass to appear.  

But, also like Grieg, at some day, we will experience the last spring – and eventually death.  Then we can reflect “Was our life worth something?”; “Did I make a positive difference in the world?

But, for now this first days of spring, we need to “take time to smell the flowers” and to be renewed again.

That last day, last spring will come for all of us eventually.

So – how about you?  Does springtime refresh you?  Let me know at: brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Go for it!!Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

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Blog Post #279 Leadership Principles from Geno Auriemma

Four leadership principles from Geno Auriemma:

  1. Give each player what she needs, not what she wants.
  2. Empower your group to figure it out.
  3. No apologies for high demands.
  4. Own your mistakes.

Taken from: https://mollyfletcher.com/leadership-secrets/

 

Let’s look at those principles:

(1) What a person needs, not what I want.  My granddaughters are learning the word “want” (at age 5).  “Papa I want that”. They can be very persuasive. But, it might not be what they need.  Given a choice between ice cream and broccoli, the ice cream will be chosen 99% of the time.  (Leah might pick the broccoli once).

With kids and with adults – even senior adults like me – I want a lot of things.  Hopefully over the years, I’ve learned that wanting something and needing something are very different.

(2) Empower the group to figure it out.  With teams the team members need to work together.  I’ve known basketball teams when one person won’t pass the ball to another – even if the other person is open for a good shot.  They call it “teamwork” for a reason – teams have to work together.

(3) High demands.  I also liked to challenge my students to become more.  I was disappointed in students who were in the class only for a grade.  (I’m remembering one who did a grade challenge to get her grade changed from an A minus to an A.  Even now several years later, I don’t think she worked hard enough for the A. But I caved in when the department chair suggested her request (hmmm – ‘demand’) for a grade change had merit).

(4) Own your mistakes.  I’m made a lot of mistakes over the years.  (Comes with age). It would be nice to have a scapegoat to blame.  But, mostly, I do own my mistakes. Like being late to a meeting – I know I need to get going, but sometimes I just procrastinate a little too long; traffic gets heavy – and I’m late.  Lesson learned – start earlier!!

So – how about you?  Are these four lessons part of your life?  I’d like to know at: brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

 

Go for it!!Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

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Blog Post #278 Teamwork

Many motivators suggest that getting to the top is hard work, built on an individual’s skills.  But, in most businesses and activities, there is teamwork.

I like Geno Auriemma, the head women’s basketball coach at the University of Connecticut.  He has lead his teams to eleven national championships, several undefeated seasons, has been the winning coach of the United States Women’s Basketball team at the Olympics and more.  

YES – Geno has been very successful – he works his team hard.  BUT … he doesn’t win championships – his teams do.

He has a vision that he passes on to his teams; he has a passion that he passes on to his teams; he motivates his teams; he coaches his teams – but they are the ones who take the basketball and put it in the hoop.  Geno has not played one second on the floor. He doesn’t put on a jersey.

Great CEOs of companies build on smart leaders under them.  The CEO may take the leadership team and challenge them to move forward.  He (and understood She) doesn’t physically make the products; he doesn’t physically sell the products to consumers; he doesn’t load trucks and hire line workers.  But, indirectly he does all of those things. He (again also She) sets the visions, he has the passion; he motivates his team; he coaches his people – who do the actual work.

A adage I like is an army of rabbits led by a lion will defeat an army of lions led by a rabbit.  The best leaders can get that army of rabbits to work together; he (she) can inspire his (her) team to do more.  

I have a friend and former student who coaches college baseball.  I have suggested to him to watch Geno Auriemma and other great coaches.  Not much is different from the first place and undefeated team and the last place team without wins.  They both have players and coaches. But what is that essense that makes a last place team into a first place team?  How can one coach and direct a baseball team, a basketball team, or a work team? Vision, passion, motivation, little insights and solid coaching.

Go for it!!

Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

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Blog Post #277 – A look at Succes

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. – From Henry David Thoreau, American writer / philosopher

Years ago, I started out as a teacher (high school for seven years) and then college for 38 years.  I enjoyed being in the classroom and challenging and encouraging my students. (I didn’t like grading papers and tests and assigning final grades).  By my sixth year teaching at the collegiate level, I was getting positive feedback, recommended for teaching awards and more. I wasn’t teaching for the awards, I was teaching for the students.

Today’s quote relates to that.  If I had set my goals to be a outstanding teaching, and worked towards it, I may have missed out; but by looking at the small details – encouraging Lou and Ben; helping Joe (who had a great brain, but poor English skills (and his mother was an  English teacher); getting a grant for specialized equipment to help Ted, a visually impaired student succeed, and more.

One afternoon late in the day, I was in my faculty office at Quinnipiac University, when the Lou and Ben (mentioned before) stopped by to shoot the breeze (that is, just to talk).  After about 10 minutes, Ben (who was president of the student body that year), said “Oh, by-the-way, you were selected as our outstanding faculty member of the year”. I was floored – totally unexpected.  I had been to a couple of faculty meetings, I was the advisor to three campus groups; but it wasn’t because I expected honor and glory; but to help out the kids.

People – service, be patient, understanding, give more than you receive, encourage and who knows – you might be getting the next award!!

Go for it!!

Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

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