80 Days or Else…

It occurred to me as we are now close to the end of the first 90 days of  2010, that I can see why health clubs and fitness experts have the understanding that most people won’t make it through April.   In reviewing the book “Around the World in 80 Days”, by Jules Verne, the main characters Phileas Fogg and his friend Passepartout, seek to traverse the globe in under 80 days.   As I now consider the adventure of these two, it is likely that the time constraints imposed by the Reform Club has much to do with the same knowledge possessed by the fitness experts.  Any changes not made within 90 days or less will be excused, tolerated and accepted as unattainable.

Maybe that is why, as we stand at the 81st day mark of 2010, that some of my colleagues are not returning my phone calls…or answering my email messages.  You see, I am not going to allow us to slither back to our previous mediocrity without a fight.  For it is too important individually and collectively to continue to not think, eat and live healthy. No longer can we afford to say, “wait ‘til next year…”  Not when the stakes are this high.  Not when we as a nation, must rise above the pettiness of partisan politics to provide reasonable care for all of our citizens.

What if we truly made time to shop for better and healthier foods, walked the stairs instead of taking the elevator, and ordered veggies instead of fries?  And when that dress and/or pair of pants fit better, you will feel the sense of accomplishment that the fitness experts know is real.  Oh, but we gotta keep going past that 90 days barrier.

I am still committed to sharing this journey side-by-side with you.  But you will have to answer the phone and talk to me…..


Power to the People

It is another amazing day in America.  A day that many of us will remember as the day that another major change took place for our citizens.

What is it that tea baggers don’t understand?  That the price to provide care to uninsured persons in emergency rooms is more than three times the cost of an office visit.  That “we the people” end up paying for that by the increase in premiums from those insurance companies…because they are certainly not going to reduce their shareholders’ dividend. Or their bonuses that are based primarily on cost savings and not lives saved.

Maybe it will take a few tea baggers to lose their homes and marriages, under the strain of a medically induced bankruptcy.  Or see a friend or family member suffer unnecessarily because they can’t get access to early intervention care.  I don’t wish that on anyone, but I do wonder what it will take to bring some sanity to this inflammatory issue.  And express some compassion to people who might not share your pedigree.

We all know that the fox is never going to do a good job of guarding the hen house.  There is just too much temptation and too much of a vested interest in keeping things just as they are.  I would have preferred that one of the major insurance companies step forward and lead the way but, short of that miracle, will follow this new development, in hope that our President will keep a tight rein on spending and insuring care to everyone.

And like the main freedom that we enjoy as Americans, let’s use the power of our vote to certify our approval of the members of Congress who have made history today.  As for the tea baggers….I take mine with honey and lemon.


To care or not to care….that is the question.

Funny how things are shaping up as the United States gets closer to some level of National Health care. In a conversation with my sister today I was reminded of a man whom we, the home care agency I managed in 1982, cared for that suffered from a terrible case of Psoriasis. His insurer had approved him, and I cannot recall the name of that company today, for five hours of coverage a day for five days each week. The Licensed Vocational Nurse would apply the tar/sulphur ointment on his lesions and administer his ultraviolet lamp treatments daily. This allowed him some relief and a sense of normalcy in his daily living.

I remarked to my sister that today, Mr. C. would be denied any level of care for his very physically and emotionally debilitating illness. Back in that time, all I needed was to have his primary physician provide a treatment order for care and contact the patient’s insurance company for approval. Somewhere over the ensuing 20 plus years, insurers are seeking to deny basic and appropriate care to patients with similar circumstances. That is why I state that what is being discussed today isn’t about health care, but non-health care services.

If you are not actively following the debate going on in Washington D.C. regarding this MAJOR issue for ALL Americans…then you better not complain when your insurance company denies your physician prescribed care, because it is deemed unnecessary and too costly.

We are standing on the threshold of a major accomplishment for the citizens of this country. This is not about Democrats or Republicans. This is about your family member with diabetes; your co-worker with cancer; your neighbor with Alzheimer’s. Be informed and prepared to lend your voice to the generations yet unborn who will be either blessed or cursed by our decision. It really is legacy-time thinking.


“What Would You Do If…?”

It was a beautiful Spring afternoon, and I had settled in to have a bite to eat at a local restaurant. The waitress had been actively checking in with me to make sure that I had what I needed to enjoy the meal. Somewhere between bites of my steak and sips of my brew, I ask her the question, “so, are you also a student?” She replied, negative. But she thought that at some time in the near future…she would return to school.

I now press forward with, “If you were to go back to school, what would you study?”

She thought for a moment, and then stated, “I don’t know what I would want to study.”

It was then that I asked her the question that I ask most of my clients, many of whom are at a crossroads in their professional careers, “What would you do if money and time were not an issue for you?”

And as is typical of a young person who has not been asked a question of that magnitude, says “Just hang out; go to the beach; I don’t know…”

So, I passed her my business card and suggested she call me when she can answer that question with something that would be her passion and calling. For it is when we can do the thing that will occupy us without consuming us, a thing that brings us joy and happiness, maybe a thing that we once did as a child, that we will pour our heart into that endeavor. And the statement is truer today as much as when it was first coined, “If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your doorstep.” Today, the world will beat a path to your web site, blog, virtual domain.

I hope that you will give serious thought to what it is that you would/could do that can put a smile on your face, a song in your heart and some Benjamin’s in your bank account.

If you know of someone who could benefit from this article, who may need to be reminded of their passion, please forward it to them.



Ready for the BIG One….

March 10, 2010

A few days ago a friend of mine sent me an email forward containing the following, which I copy-n-pasted and sent along to family and friends who live in EQ-prone areas. I’m sharing it with you in the hope that this knowledge may save at least one life. PLEASE READ THIS and know what to do during a quake because the “traditional” advice is not adequate . . .


My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world’s most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.

I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries. I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years. I have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene, unnecessary and I wondered why the children were not in the aisles. I didn’t at the time know that the children were told to hide under something.

Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the “triangle of life”.

The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the “triangles” you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.


1) Most everyone who simply “ducks and covers” WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE are crushed to death. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.

2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake… It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.

4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on The back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

6) Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different “moment of frequency” (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads – horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn’t collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people.. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

8) Get Near the Outer Walls Of Buildings Or Outside Of Them If Possible – It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway… The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

Spread the word and save someone’s life… The Entire world is experiencing natural calamities so be prepared!

“We are but angels with one wing, it takes two to fly”

In 1996 we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul , University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did “duck and cover,” and ten mannequins I used in my “triangle of life” survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results. The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions, relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.

There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the “triangle of life.” This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe , and it was seen in the USA , Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV”


Thanks, but no Palsy for me…

I was recalling, in a conversation this morning, an event that changed my perspective about how I could and would respond to the “that’s what THEY say” commentators.
It was September 1995, and I was going through some emotionally challenging times with my wife, from whom I was separated, and finances that were keeping me just above water.

Without any symptoms or premonitions that would foretell any health challenge, I awoke one morning to find the right side of my face was paralyzed. Thinking the worst, I feared that I had or was having a stroke…but all the other body parts were functioning properly. Just that one side of my face was numb and unresponsive.

I went to see my physician the next day and he broke the news to me that I had Bells Palsy. It seems that the stresses in my life had now manifest into this malady. And what is the prognosis? Well, it could vary anywhere from a few weeks to permanent paralysis. Oh my….

It was then that a few of my colleagues and friends would share their knowledge;
“THEY say that you must rub your face to release the muscles”
“THEY say that you might have to have surgery to be normal again…” Me, normal?
“THEY say that you have to…” and the comments just got more hilarious.

What I said inside my head was that it was time to pray….and I did. I surrendered to God and asked that He forgive me for not being a better communicator with Him. For I had only been praying when I needed or wanted something. Now, I was praying with a belief that whatever it was God wanted me to learn from this would be all right by me.

Two weeks passed and upon my return visit to my physician, he was amazed at the restoration of most of my facial functions. And within another few weeks, I was totally back to my old self. When he asked how did I recover so quickly and completely, without hesitation I told him of my belief in the power of prayer. Not that he was surprised as he was a physician who was a true believer and knew that real prayer had enormous power.

What are you praying for in your life today? Better health? Improved finances? Restored relations with a family member? Just believe it with all of your heart and don’t listen to what THEY say…I am walking and talking proof.


That’s What THEY Say!

“You Know What THEY Say”

How often have you heard or said just that? You are involved in a very stimulated conversation, debating the concerns of the economy, what to do with that now empty bedroom in your home, or a number of other topical subjects…when we hit the proverbial iceberg where one of us has no factual foundation for our position, and out of their mouth comes, “that’s what they say….”

As I shake my head in disbelief at how to respond, I often find myself asking the question, “Who is THEY?” Is THEY a person? Where do THEY live? What do THEY really do? How the heck did THEY get to be so knowledgeable?”

At this juncture the look of disbelief has shifted from my face to theirs…because how dare I question them about THEY. Surely I should just trust and take at face value the comment that has been shared because THEY provide validation and credibility. All right. It is just that I want to once and for all hear the words directly from the mouth of THEY.

Well, by now you have hopefully gotten a laugh from this and know that I am only poking fun at what happens all too often when we feel the need to be “right.” And maybe in this time of our lives it is less important to be right than it is to be renewed. What if I just acknowledged the fact that I do not know it all, and am now open to new learning. And, that in this ever-changing economy, I am ready to learn new skills and develop a mindset that will cause me to shed some old, outdated habits. What if?

If you are ready to have a new experience in your life, and learn new skills that can translate into new relationships and likely, a bigger bank account, then join me on the journey that will renew our sense of control over the directions our lives are taking.

And if you know someone who can also benefit from our commitment to personal development, please forward this to them. THEY will thank you.



Wise advice from the General

Colin Powell’s Narrative

The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people.

As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are… Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.

Consider this:
Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere…

With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.

“A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.”

The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate – for the good and the bad.

Note: Be not mistaken. This is applicable to family as well as friends. Yes…do love, appreciate and be thankful for your family, for they will always be your family no matter what. Just know that they are human first and though they are family to you, they may be a friend to someone else and will fit somewhere in the criteria above.

“In Prosperity Our Friends Know Us. In Adversity We Know Our friends.”

“Never make someone a priority when you are only an option for them.”
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in
little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude..”..

Colin Powell

Finding Your Cheese

In 1996 the book that took America by storm was Dr. Spencer Johnson’s “Who Moved My Cheese”. It was a 94 page booklet that described the mindsets of two fictional mice, Sniff, and Scurry, and two “little people” Hem and Haw. The story deals with the challenges that they face when life presents them with the inevitable “changes.”

All four beings find Cheese in the same place each day. Gradually, one of the mice senses change. The Cheese isn’t the same. It is of lower quality and there is less. The little people sense nothing. They just keep getting up each morning and expect to find the Cheese in the same place it always is. After all, they are entitled to this Cheese, aren’t they?

Well, one day the Cheese is gone. The mice anticipated change, so they go out into the maze in search of new Cheese. The little people don’t know what to do. Their Cheese is gone! Somebody stole the Cheese! Instead of adapting to the change, the little people just sit there and feel sorry for themselves. Meanwhile, the mice have adapted to the change and are living big time with their newly found Cheese.

Eventually, one of the little people, named “Haw,” ventures out into the maze in search of new Cheese, while the other, named “Hem,” sits home in denial. Get it? Hem and Haw.

Well, in this time of economic resettling, how many of you are still waiting for the cheese to reappear? Or think that someone is going to deliver it a la Domino’s Pizza. History shows us that there was a major up tick of self-starters during the Great Depression. People who were not going to wait on the government or any other entity to fix their situations became entrepreneurs because they had to. And today seems like our generations time of required boot-strap mindset in order to create something that is tangible and market driven.

My question to my colleagues is, “What would you do if money and time were not an issue?: How you answer that may be where your passion and your profits reside. Now, stop hemming and hawing and go find your cheese. Peace.

Walking on a new pathway…

I enjoyed a wonderful Sunday dinner with a long-time family friend yesterday and we discussed the economy, housing markets (she has been in mortgage business for over 25 years), and various other global concerns. And all was going well until we broached the subject about what she was going to do now that she was out of work.

Throughout the conversation, she inevitably reverted back to the “I need to get a paycheck” mindset, and I was subtle yet unrelenting in my saying that in this economy and at our “seasoned and experienced ages”, it might be better to consider being a hired-gun/consultant who gets paid for her knowledge, not for her hours.

She did not pull my plate away from me or kick me out into the rain…but we did discuss how the entrepreneurial mindset is necessary now, more than ever since the Great Depression, in order for persons like us to succeed. You notice, I did not say survive.

She agreed to a plan of action this week to set up a FaceBook account, be online for more than emailing, and to write out what it is that she knows…which could be substantial and lucrative, when packaged properly. My point; we all need to be better at valuing our skills and talents in today’s still-sluggish-economy. There is someone, somewhere who needs what it is that you know and often take for granted.

Working together we can make progress and generate real revenue. Will you join me?


The Silver Surfer