Leadership + Team

There are all kinds of ways to organize a team. In my experience, groups that invest in growing together, encouraging one another, and holding each other accountable create better products and more fulfilled human beings.

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Self-Knowledge

Self-Knowledge

Brand + Design

Philosophy + Existence

The courage to unlearn
“It takes curiosity to learn. It takes courage to unlearn. Learning requires the humility to admit what you don’t know today. Unlearning requires the integrity to admit that you were wrong yesterday. Learning is how you evolve. Unlearning is how you keep up as the world evolves.” –...
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The challenge of being yourself
“Man, sometimes it takes you a long time to sound like yourself.” – Miles Davis
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The parable of the long spoons
A very old man knew that he was going to die very soon. Before he died he wanted to know what heaven and hell were like, so he visited the wise man in his village. “Can you please tell me what heaven and hell are like?” he asked the wise man. “Come with me and I will show you”, the wise man replied....
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Invent your own life’s meaning
“Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise...
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Turn people into trees
“When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort...
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Our perception vs reality
“Life is rarely about what happened—it’s mostly about what we think happened.” – Chuck Klosterman
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Our questions matter
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts, and be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” – Fred Rogers
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Plutarch’s Ship of Theseus
Throughout the history of mankind, the subject of identity has sent poets to the blank page, philosophers to the agora, and seekers to the oracles. These murky waters of abstract thinking are tricky to navigate, so it’s probably fitting that to demonstrate the complexity, the Greek historian Plutarch...
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Mystery is endless knowability
“Mystery is not that which is unknowable, but that which is endlessly knowable.” – Richard Rohr
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The perfect decision tree for every time optimist and people pleaser
The perfect decision tree for every time optimist and people pleaser
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A special heart that listens
“To be kind is more important than to be right. Many times, what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks, but a special heart that listens.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Finite thinking vs infinite mindset
When we play to win in a game that has no finish line, there are consistent consequences. So, are you trying to win? Or are you playing to stay in the game?
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The moral bucket list
The Moral Bucket List It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful....
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There's more than one way to be human
“If you really want to get along with somebody, let them be themselves.” – Willie Nelson
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What is marketing?
“Marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve a problem. Their problem. Marketing helps others become who they seek to become.” – Seth Godin
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Be the person you’d want to work with
There are all kinds of ways to organize a team. In my experience, groups that invest in growing together, encouraging one another, and holding each other accountable create better products and more fulfilled human beings. Granted, this is easier said than done. We people are like labyrinths and often...
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What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?
I very frequently get the question: “What’s going to change in the next 10 years?” That’s a very interesting question. I almost never get the question: “What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?” And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two. You can build...
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The only constant is change
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” -Heraclitus
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Life is not a journey
Because we simply cheated ourselves a whole way down the line. We thought of life by analogy with a journey—with a pilgrimage which had a serious purpose at the end—the thing was to get to that end success or…heaven… But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing—and you were supposed...
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Apple isn't about making boxes for people to get their jobs done
What we’re about isn’t making boxes for people to get their jobs done—although we do that well…we do that better than almost anybody in some cases.  But Apple is about something more than that. Apple at the core…it’s core value—is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for...
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Stop keeping score
To increase our happiness, we need better questions than “What accomplishments should be on my scorecard?” Let me suggest a few that will lead to answers that can deliver authentic well-being. 1. Who has the intrinsic characteristics that I admire and want to emulate? 2. What do people most need from...
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A pale blue dot
“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.  On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their...
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Spring is coming
“You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” – Pablo Neruda
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Literally
“Literalism is the lowest, least fruitful level of meaning.” – Richard Rohr
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The love of wisdom
Philosophy means, in Ancient Greek, the love of wisdom. But the word wisdom can sound very big and forbidding; what does it really mean to be wise? And how might we consciously strive to be a little wiser? A great video from The School of Life.  Don’t watch it with the idea that this is the definitive...
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The Shaker Design Philosophy
“Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful.” – The Shaker Design Philosophy
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The difference between knowing and learning
This is comedian Pete Holmes giving what I think is a brilliant (and hilarious) take on the difference between knowing and learning.   I’ll stretch it a bit further and say that I think he provides great perspective on how the journey through which we gain knowledge is where we find wisdom....
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A small step taken now
“Success will never be a big step in the future; success is a small step taken just now.” – Jonatan Martensson
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In a 1000 years time
Take all fiction and religion books and destroy them.Take all science books and facts and destroy them.In a 1000 years time …
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The value of urgency
To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time. – Leonard Bernstein
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Listen to understand
“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” – Stephen Covey
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The question of violence
Ava DuVernay shared this important and powerful video on Twitter: “Take time to listen to this short lecture by Gary Younge. He does a strong job of contextualizing the current moment. A primer on this week’s news for those who need. There are triggering images, so take care of yourself as needed.”
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Did my gift even matter?
Anything you do that potentially leaves a donor asking—“Did my gift even matter?”—must be avoided at all costs.   Always over-communicate gratitude and impact.  
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Why I love Han Solo
In a world obsessed with light and darkness, Han Solo lives in the grey.  But what I love most is that when courage was required—he was a loyal friend and let that love guide his choices.  
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The meaning of being
“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.” – Carl Jung
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The first enemy and the last
“I don’t think it’s our purpose to understand. Except one thing — we’re soldiers. We have to know what we’re fighting for. I’m not fighting so some man or woman I barely know can sit on a throne made of swords…[I’m fighting for] life. Death is the enemy. The first enemy and the last…The enemy always...
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What it is to be young
“Youth can not know how age thinks and feels, but old men are guilty if they forget what it is to be young.” – Albus Dumbledore(Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, “The Lost Prophecy”,Chapter 37)
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The greatest danger
“The greatest danger for us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo
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Adjust your sails
“We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” – Dolly Parton 
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The best portion of a good life
“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.” – William Wordsworth
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Seven bits of wisdom
“1. You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have―musician Bob Marley. Amen.   2. You make the most money in bear markets; you just don’t realize it at the time—investor Shelby Davis. Some of my best changes were in recessions.   3. The heights by which great...
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Jim Collins on motivating people
“Don’t first sell people on a vision.  Confront the reality (the facts).  Don’t decide first and then appear to discuss.  Have a true dialogue, then decide.  Don’t make progress toward the goal invisible.  Show progress, make it obvious.” – Jim Collins
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Pass it on
“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.” – Oscar Wilde
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The annoyance of a good example
“Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” – Mark Twain
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Good for something
“Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.” – Henry David Thoreau
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The temporary vs permanent
“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” – Mahatma Gandhi
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It's you I like
“It’s you I like, It’s not the things you wear, It’s not the way you do your hair But it’s you I like The way you are right now, The way down deep inside you Not the things that hide you, Not your toys They’re just beside you. But it’s you I like Every part of you. Your skin, your eyes, your feelings...
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The priority of things that matter
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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Seize the day
“Either run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
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A metaphor for life
“Adorable video shoes five-year-old Phoenix take on his belt test at Bobby Dixon’s American Martial Arts Academy on May 6 in Orlando. The video clip picks up after all the other students were able to break their boards. Phoenix struggles to get his board to break, growing increasingly frustrated....
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What you get vs what you become
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar 
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The full cost of a low price
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” – Ben Franklin
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What money can't buy
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others’?” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
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The value of together
“The most meaningful experiences in our lives are rarely done by ourselves—or—for ourselves.” – Me in a moment of lucidity. 
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Everything starts with priorities
“All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they are now getting. If we want different results, we must change the way we do things.” – Tom Northup We’ve all been to websites that create a meaningful connection. Websites that leave you thinking, “I wish...
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How to buy happiness
Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can indeed buy happiness—when you don’t spend it on yourself. Listen for surprising data on the many ways pro-social spending can benefit you, your work, and (of course) other people.
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A different path, not the wrong path
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
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It's cliché because it's true
I post all kinds of quotes, collected wisdom, and—certainly—quite a few clichés. But my primary desire in all of this is to have a place to document the big and little lessons I want to pass on to my sons.   Every now and then I like to make a list of some essentials.  Here’s what I jotted down...
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Pete Carroll’s three rules for successful teams.
“(1) Always Protect the Team (2) No Whining, No Complaining, No Excuses (3) Be Early” – Pete Carroll
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Ranked: the fruits
As the definitive, self-proclaimed Fruit Expert™ of my home, here is my current rankings of fruits.  Mango Avocado (nerd alert, it’s a fruit. 🤓) Nectarine Watermelon Strawberries  Honey-crisp Apple Grapes Orange / Tangerines (tie) Banana Lemons / Limes Tomato (oh yeah… also a fruit SILLY😎) Peach Plumb...
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A good outline for any talk or article
Tell a story  Pose a problem   Offer a solution  Show examples Call to action
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Be careful of each other
The Mower The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found A hedgehog jammed up against the blades, Killed. It had been in the long grass. I had seen it before, and even fed it, once. Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world Unmendably. Burial was no help: Next morning I got up and it did not. The first day...
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The two educations
“There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.” – John Adams
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The holy grail of fundraising
It costs more to get a new donor than to keep an existing donor. The holy grail of fundraising is not acquisition—it’s retention. 
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A Christmas toast to family
There’s an old pearl of wisdom that says the reason we have family is so that we learn to spend time with people with whom we would otherwise never spend time with. And while that’s sometimes true, I think it’s also true to say that because of family our lives are deeper, richer, more meaningful—or at...
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The language of kindness
“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain
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It's a feature, not a bug
“Failure isn’t the opposite of success, it’s part of it.” – Ariana Huffington
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The man in the arena
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes...
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Be a person of action
“Well done is better than well said.” – Ben Franklin
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Mortality makes meaning
“Everything we love is about to die, and that is why everything must be summed up, with all the high emotion of farewell, in something so beautiful we shall never forget it.” – Pablo Picasso
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Empathy enables understanding
“You are not your donor. You don’t think like them, you don’t assess value like them, and you don’t make decisions like them. If you (the fundraiser) are not constantly trying to understand and empathize with your donor, then all the other rules do not apply.” – Tim Kachuriak
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The importance of trying
“It is far from easy to be a good man. In fact, as one gets older, it becomes more and more difficult to know what a good man is. Yet it also becomes increasingly important to at least try.” – Rudolph Wegener(Man in the High Castle: “A Way Out”, Season 1, Episode 10.)
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Worry sap
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only saps today of its joy.” – Leo Buscaglia
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Know when to say "no"
“Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying no to all but the most crucial features.” – Steve Jobs
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What good have I done today?
Here’s an image of Ben Franklin’s daily schedule.  I love the question, “What good have I done today?” 
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Return on impact
Donors aren’t expecting a return on their investment—but they are expecting a return on impact.
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Enough.
Between mass shootings, gang violence, domestic violence, and suicide — America doesn’t have merely a single gun problem, it has several.  But while deaths continue to mount, we see little progress in putting sensible reform around policies that administer access to deadly weapons.   It’s shameful...
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The captain of my soul
Invictus Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance  My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and...
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A Christmas blessing
Love is our greatest treasure. May we celebrate. May we share. May we never tire of doing what is good.  And let us always be thankful for the time we have together.
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Think different, do better
“In big and small ways, we believe people can change the world for the better. And those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do.” – Steve Jobs
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The monster inside of US
Donald Trump is a monster.  He brings shame to this country. This isn’t a new or surprising revelation.  This is who he’s always proudly been.  But it’s breathtaking to see the American president in 2017 be so brazenly careless, irresponsible, and bigoted. Unfortunately, President Donald...
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Software as a service, emphasis on the service
The critical “S” to remember in SaaS is the second S. If you provide excellent service and work to build a relationship with your client many issues with the first “S” can be managed. Remember the value prop in SaaS is annuitized income. If your churn is high the investment community will be skeptical...
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The labyrinth is thoroughly known
The Hero Path We have not even to risk the adventure alone for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known… we have only to follow the thread of the hero path. And where we had thought to find an abomination we shall find a God. And where we had thought to slay another...
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This is water
“This is Water” An excerpt from an address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College by the late David Foster Wallace. It takes my breath away with every listen.  If you are curious about the type of living that I pursue and aspire to – this is it. 
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Different answers to the same questions
It’s not always necessary to part company when our answers to the same questions differ.  But we must always be in pursuit of the wisdom to understand the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, truth and lies.
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You don’t notice privilege until you feel oppression
I didn’t write this, but it’s spot on and wanted to share it: “The reason some white people don’t understand or see how they’re privileged is the very reason they ARE privileged. If you live through the day without thinking about your race, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status, you are privileged...
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Beautiful is being loved—and loving in return
My wife sent me this article today: A Picture My Son Took Changed My Ideas About Body Image   It’s absolutely lovely and powerful.  A powerful line:  “I want (my kids) to think that beautiful is being loved — and loving in return.”
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Affirmation without action is meaningless
Read: I Don’t Discuss Racism With White People  Profound, convicting, and poignant.  I owe these truths more than mere acknowledgment, agreement, or even shame.  It took me a long time to even arrive here—but affirmation without action is meaningless. The world cannot become a better place...
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Shorten the distance
“Laughter is the closest distance between two people.” – Victor Borge
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We are all different and that is beautiful
Why are we so quick to see the ugly…when we stand before the beautiful?
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Contribute a verse
Oh me! Oh life! Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle...
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The purpose of business
One of my favorite business quotes from Peter Drucker, who said: “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” – Peter Drucker
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Talking vs doing
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
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The reward for conformity
“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” – Rita Mae Brown
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This is my doctrine
“This is my doctrine: Give every other human being every right you claim for yourself.” – Robert G. Ingersoll
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My favorite Christmas songs, for the record.
🎄 In no particular order…  Blue Christmas I’ll Be Home for Christmas Silver Bells White Christmas Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Silent Night   The Christmas song     Merry Christmas Baby Please Come Home for Christmas The Christmas Waltz And yes… All I Want for Christmas...
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Truly understand something
“If you want truly to understand something, try to change it.” – Kurt Lewin
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The Four Things That Matter Most
In his book, The Four Things That Matter Most, Dr. Ira Byok writes about the four things we need to say to the most important people in our life: “Please forgive me”  “I forgive you”  “Thank you”   “I love you”  Just about the most powerful words we can say to one another. No regrets....
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Give thanks
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward
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How to understand
“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” – Chinese Proverb
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