Category Archives: Excellence

Hallmark Mom

Tina recently shared an interesting insight with me that came out of shopping for a birthday card for her mother. After reading several cards to find just the right one, she identified attributes that she too would like to possess as a mother. In other words, she was so moved by the many endearing words used to describe mothers in greeting card messages that she aspires to be a mother like that herself, the kind of mother typified in a greeting card. Tina wants it to be a challenge when Megan goes to buy her a card, an experience where every card is such a reflection of her own mother, that it requires careful contemplation in choosing the right one, the one that most closely depicts the exhaustive elements of her mother’s beauty.

What a great ambition. This has inspired me to do the same––to be a Hallmark Dad and a Hallmark Husband. Not to fit some stereotypical greeting card non-sense for the sake of conformity, but to epitomize that which is admirable and upright; to be the type of person that could be the inspiration for a greeting card message instead of the deviation from one; to be the rule rather than the exception; to be a benchmark by which all other fathers and husbands are measured.

How about you? Are you worthy of carrying the Hallmark seal on your back (think old ‘90s marketing campaign of flipping the card over to check for Hallmark branding)?

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Out With the Old, In With the New

For many of us, a new year tends to be a time to think about some of the things in our lives that need a change or improvement. Years ago during my stint in dialysis (I did it for 7 years so I guess it was a little more than just a “stint”), we received thirty brand-new hi-tech machines at the bargain basement price of $14,000 each. Picture an ATM machine with many fancy buttons and features on them used to cleanse the blood of people with kidney failure. The life-saving nature of the machine with its electronic features make it both very valuable and fairly fragile. As you can imagine then, they are shipped in huge, sturdy boxes with plywood bases and fitted with large pieces of styrofoam. They were such that it required a large construction dumpster to dispose of them. During the process, the employees used the dumpster as an opportunity to rid themselves of some old, unused, and unneeded junk that was just cluttering up the facility.

The new year is a similar time in our lives. A time to open the box that holds new possibilities. A time to rid ourselves of the “junk” that clutters our lives and often bogs us down from our true potential. Do you find yourself holding onto the past? Do you have a difficult time trying new things or trying things a new way? Do you carry around extra “baggage” that weighs you down? Do you like your cheese right where it is (Read “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, M.D.)? Do you have ideas in that untapped potential of yours that you have not acted upon? The start of the new year is the perfect  time to fill up a “construction dumpster” with your problems and make room for your potential. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Like Tony Little says, “You can do it!” (Think obnoxious exercise equipment infomercial.)

Commit Yourself

When I was in management, I determined that there are basically two types of people that “succeed” at work (or at church, or on a sports team, etc.)–this could probably apply to any group of people. By success, I mean that they are able to continue in their endeavor indefinitely; it’s a rough definition. To better clarify, there are actually three types of people in a group, it’s just that the third type is functionally irrelevant. They are the ones who aren’t very good at what they do and end up fired from their job, leaving the church, quitting their team, and such. Based on my observations, I developed the following list to describe the former two types of people. See if you identify with either. Maybe you’d be able to add a few of your own? Would like to hear them if you do.

committed

Being compliant is acceptable; you’ll stay under the radar which will “get you by” until the sweet bye and bye if you so desire but your accomplishments will be mediocre at best. Being committed is exceptional; you’ll be all over the radar, elevating yourself to a higher level where your accomplishments will be masterful (that is, full of the Master). Paul knew the value of being committed when he said, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Corintians 9:24) Why walk when the Word says run? Commit yourself today!

The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it. ~Mack R. Douglas, accomplished author

When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient.  When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. ~Ken Blanchard, accomplished author

So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ~Jesus Christ, Luke 17:10