Little Things Can Make the Biggest Difference

What can we truly count on to improve our lives without breaking down or requiring anti-virus software?

Here are some of the things I can count on 100% of the time to improve my life.

A spectacular sunset.
The sound of the ocean.
The smell of a baby’s hair.
The first daffodil of the season.
Roses blooming in my yard.
Watching puppies play.
The sight of my grandsons peacefully sleeping.
Watching my husband walk across the farm.
Time around the dinner table with my entire family.
The smell of our cypress trees after the first rainfall.
Watching a cat sleep in the sun.
Red tail hawks gliding overhead.

What are some of the things you can count on to improve your life?


Retirement: A Beginning

When I retired from my job with the University, many asked me how it felt to retire.  Well, it felt exciting.  Still does!  You see, now ALL of my time is my own to do with as I wish.  I can spend all day lazing around the house.  Play with the grandchildren more.  Garden when I feel like.  Travel at will without asking my boss for permission to take time off.  Sleep in or not.  Eat lunch on my schedule.  My time is my own to use or waste.  Do I do some or all of this?  Sure. I retired from a job, not life.  Ask me what I retired to and I will tell you I retired to LIFE.  Living Intentionally For Excellence.  I alone am responsible for all of my minutes so I choose to spend my time maximizing my relationships, health, personal development and effort to serve others.  When you retire, what will you retire to?  Tractor Dudes, in abstract copy

Mirror, Mirror

What does a three year old child see when looking in the mirror? “Me!”

  • There is a sense of awe and wonder about the image in the mirror. “That’s me!”
  • It is fascinating to watch the image move and change expressions.
  • There are great conversations held with the child in the mirror.  “Such a grand playmate!”
  • “Aren’t I awesome!”


What does a nine year old child see when looking in the mirror? “Not enough.”

A bit of the awe and wonder remains but it is quickly squelched by the ever present feeling of “I am ok, but I am not enough.”

  • I am not smart enough.
  • I am not athletic enough.
  • I am not popular enough.
  • I am not pretty / handsome enough.
  • Everyone is more than I am.


What does a teenager see when looking in the mirror? “I don’t matter.”

  • No one cares about me.
  • No one cares if I live or die.
  • No one cares if I show up for class.
  • No one cares to ask me to the prom.
  • No one cares enough about me to give me their time and attention, therefore I must not be worth caring about.

'Gadget,' a long-haired Chihuahua looking in mirror

What does a 21 year old adult see when looking in the mirror?  “I am afraid.”

  • I am afraid of the future.
  • I am afraid of the unknown.
  • I am afraid of making mistakes.
  • I am afraid to fail.
  • I am afraid I may not be good enough to make it – whatever “it” is.


What does a 45 year old adult see when looking in the mirror? “Never.”

  • I am never going to get out of debt.
  • I am never going to amount to much.
  • I am never going to get ahead.
  • I am never going to achieve my goals.
  • I am never going to, so I might as well settle for less.

old beagle looking in mirror

What does a 60 year old adult see when looking in the mirror? “Too late.”

  • It is too late to go after my dreams.
  • It is too late to fix my relationships.
  • It is too late to fix my finances.
  • It is too late to take care of my health.
  • I should’a, could’a, would’a.

Remember, the mirror only reflects our beliefs, limiting or otherwise.

Help each other see a better reflection by acting as a mirror for others.  Reflect the beauty, strength, value, and heart of each person you encounter.

Help them see themselves through kind eyes.

Nuggets of Wisdom

I love to attend Leadership seminars! I find that they are great resources for stretching my mind. I attended one recently where the keynote speakers were a young couple named MacNamara. Here are a few of the nuggets I picked up. I hope they help you stretch your thinking!two dogs holding little apple branches

  • Curiosity is the cure for boredom.
  • 95% of your success and failure is a reflection of whom you associate with.
  • Don’t listen to those who do not have the results you want.
  • Every problem introduces the person to her.
  • It is hard to improve when you have no one but yourself
    to follow.
  • To know the road ahead, ask those who are coming back to guide those coming along.
  • Applied knowledge equals wisdom.
  • Great things happen when we stop seeing ourselves as a gift to others and see others as a gift to us.
  • Leaders encourage 90% of the time and correct only 10% of the time. People already know what they are doing wrong.
  • If you aren’t doing something with your life, it doesn’t matter how long you live.
  • Focus on self-development, not self-fulfillment. Becoming the best version of your self is the goal.
  • Leaders never arrive. They are always stretching and growing.
  • The people who start the journey with you may not finish with you. Their journey is not yours.
  • Small choices lead to big habits.
  • If you are truthful with yourself, you know you can do better than you are currently.
  • If you miss a personal goal, don’t change the goal. Change the target date.
  • A parent’s life is a child’s handbook.
  • Don’t worry about whether or not your child is listening to you. Worry about whether or not your child is copying you.
  • Don’t make promises when you are happy or decisions when you are angry.
  • Debt is selling the future to live in the present.
  • Big wins start with small ones.
  • Detect the lies you tell yourself. Find the ones that are holding you back.

Forging Healthy Relationships

I think all of you would agree that life is a lot smoother when our key relationships are in good shape. How do we build our relationships and keep them in good shape?I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I am a student of experts on the topic. I have gleaned much from John C. Maxwell, Susan Christy, M. Scott Peck, Oliver DeMille, Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady and a host of other experts.

Personally, I find it helpful to have what I refer to as “cheat sheets” for information I can use on a daily basis. Cheat sheets serve as my “external hard drive”. It is too easy in the chaos of the day to lose focus and slip into reactive behavior. Never a good idea when working with people!

This is one of my favorite “cheat sheets”. It keeps me on track when working with my coworkers and clients.

What personality type is the person I am speaking with?
Am I a source of encouragement or negativity?
Am I connecting with people on a professional level?
Am I focused on listening and understanding others?
Am I building trust right now?
Each of these simple questions serves to remind me of deeper questions to ask myself as I go about my day. They allow me to evaluate myself, identify where I could be doing a better job, and focus on some of what really matters.

I sincerely wish to forge healthy relationships. Unhealthy ones make the day miserable, to say the least!

How do you build good relationships?

Celebrate Wins

Celebrate Wins (written for a veterinary clinic, but applies to all)

When someone you work with experiences a success, what do you do? Do you notice? Do you give a brief “good job” and quickly move on? Do you even acknowledge the win or do you treat it as nothing less than what is required of them?

In your busy, busy day, it is very easy to be so focused on the tasks at hand you fail to notice or acknowledge what has been accomplished. But, if you ignore the successes of your coworkers, you miss a critical opportunity to inspire them onto further successes. And you miss the opportunity to strengthen the team.

Celebrate wins. When a coworker places an IV catheter in a difficult vein, sincerely acknowledge the person. When the boss manages to get the additional space or equipment you requested, celebrate his efforts and success. When the receptionist who has difficulty working with challenging clients successfully defuses an irate client, celebrate his efforts. When a coworker completes her night courses and achieves her degree, celebrate.

Celebrating wins does several important things for you and your team:

Celebrating wins reminds your team to keep striving even when things are at the most challenging. Those crazy days where the work never stops, the clients are all crazy, and the clinic is short-handed.

Celebrating wins reminds your team they are working for a winning organization. People want to work for a winning team.

Celebrating wins forces you and your team to focus on the positive rather than the negative.

Celebrating wins must be done in a timely fashion. The annual Employee Appreciation BBQ isn’t enough if it is the only recognition given. Celebrate events at the time they happen. Acknowledge the successes of others within 24 hours of the event.

Celebrating wins promotes a healthy team atmosphere and this results in a great working environment! Who will you celebrate today?