Why I Support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

In 2014, I’m supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a Telethon VIP. That means I’ll be answering phones in Bloomington, IL during the August 8 WEEK-TV telethon. For an hour. I’m one of thousands of people in my community who will get involved again this year to support operations at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN and its Midwest affiliate in Peoria, IL.

I’d like to share why I’m involved and ask you to support St. Jude through my personal fundraising campaign. Any and all donations help and are put to work immediately.

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The Cost of Anticipation

In the wee hours of May 24, I fought sleep to witness the promised “epic” meteor shower over North America. The predictions were sensationalized news: hundreds (maybe even thousands) of meteors would blaze across the night sky each hour for two hours. Problem was, in the Central U.S. time zone where I live, it was supposed to start around 1 a.m. I was losing steam well before midnight.

But I was determined to see this. I love watching the sky. Sunrises, sunsets, the full moon, storms, clouds shaped like funny things. I wanted to see this rare astronomical wonder. So I stayed up. In the end, the meteor shower didn’t happen. Meteors happened (reportedly), but nowhere near the skyworks promised or to the volume to justify the “shower” label. How disappointing.

But what was lost? It was a clear, mild night in the Midwest. The stars were suspended in the perfectly still and quiet night sky. I was alone, relaxed, anticipating something wonderful to happen. Waiting for the wrong thing.

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On Turning 44, Flipping Switches, and Finding My Voice

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Last month, I turned 44. Yep, I’m that old. 

The past year was surprising and a bit different than others. Stuff happened. Personal stuff and professional stuff. Overall, things changed in a big way. I flipped the switch on a few ideas that have been swimming around in my head for decades. I took risks uncharacteristic of me. I made new friends who helped me think differently about work, faith, and priorities. I laughed a lot (this is not uncommon). I faced some fears and ran from others.

I’ll tell you about all of it on another day.

So perhaps I’m kicking off a mid-life crisis, or simply have my eyes more open to how people and life impact my actions and reactions.

Along my clichéd path of rediscovery, I’ve neglected my blog and personal writing. Oh, I wrote a few things here and there, but it was mostly uninspired and predictable dribble. Blek. I lost track of the thing I wanted it to be.

So I’m finding my voice again and remembering how easy it is to lose. (more…)

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How To Pack for a Trip

Ever find yourself at the airport baggage claim holding your breath as the bags start to arrive? One by one they come, one black bag after another. Before yours rolls out onto that rotating belt, it’s easy to believe it’s likely lost forever.

After years of business travel, I have figured out how to pack for a trip and do everything possible to avoid checking my luggage. For a few logical reasons.

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Stop Making Excuses and Do Something

I’ve just kicked off a project that was a long time coming. Its history is littered with a long list of excuses and misplaced blame. But when the project is completed, a big problem will be solved.

So why did it take so long to get it started? Excuses.

Before a workable solution started to take shape, an ah-ha moment made me realize if I care enough about this, I need to make it happen. By shifting the mindset of our project team, a fix emerged in a format previously unimagined and largely considered impossible.

Excuses are so easy to fall back on. They are an escape from hard work, critical thinking, and problem solving. They give us reasons to avoid tackling the seemingly impossible. They are enablers of procrastination and the damaging outcome of misguided groupthink.

The truth is, excuses are absurd and stand in the way of us changing our circumstances for the better.

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