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Category: Life and Love

I Love You and it’s Supposed to Rain

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I love you and its supposed to rainI have been happily married for 30+ years. Some of my younger friends, who have struggled in their relationships, have asked me, “What is your secret?” My answer, while ripe in simplicity, is “We like each other”. This is the critical factor in a love relationship.

Over the years, saying “I love you”, while well-intended, can become as ritualistic and mundane as saying “Good morning”, “I’m hungry”, “It’s supposed to rain”. That is the reality.

But truly liking someone is the fuel. You will go to the ends of the earth for someone that you admire. You will wake up excited just to be in their presence. It becomes second nature to spontaneously gift them with note, a back rub, a compliment, a joke. It is a reflex and the greatest one of all.

Your partner is a direct reflection of YOU. That is, the most important decision of their entire life was to be with YOU. Thus, in many ways, looking at your partner is akin to staring into your own heart and soul. Embrace that. Covet that. Cherish that. Make their decision even more worthwhile and validate it every day, even in your worst of moods.

It is in the most difficult of times that we are measured, not by the Valentine’s Day gifts and flowers. Be the rock, the foundation, the safety net, even when you don’t feel like it.

Love is very much like a muscle.  The more exercise it gets, the stronger and more reactive it becomes.

Facebook Follies: Social Hilarity Abounds

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I have been on Facebook for close to ten years and what a joy it has been. Seeing the daily happenings of my grown children, catching up with childhood friends, high school buddies, my first love, etc. The most ironic thing about Facebook, though, is that you can "unfollow" some of your "friends". Huh?

This is the equivalent of saying, "You are my friend and I love you. But I have no interest in anything that you have to say". Or, "Honey, if my good buddy Don calls or knocks on the door, DO NOT ANSWER IT". What a fine feature.

My experience on Facebook has not been without its unintentional hilarity and I came to realize the true genius of Mark Zuckerberg, for creating this "filter". Perhaps you have encountered some of these characters, as well..

Check-In Chuck The guy who absolutely must check in from his current location at least ten times a day. "At such-and-such restaurant". "On the way home from such-and-such restaurant". "In line at Walmart". "Dentist's office.. what a drag". Riveting stuff.

Buzzkill Bob No matter what someone posts (cute kitten, newborn baby, engagement), Bob will spurt out something negative. "Kittens make a lot of mess". "Babies are a lot of work". "Another one bites the dust". A real treat.

Mary the Model This girl doesn't post much, other than to change her profile photo 2 or 3 times a week. Mary is seeking praise to which she can reply "Oh thank you, you guys are too kind!" Yes, Mary, they are.

Darlene the Drama Queen Many of Darlene's post are simply, "Sigh", "...", or "Here we go again.." She is fishing for "What's wrong, Darlene?" I urge you to resist at all costs.

Sports Steve Steve feels the need to update the score of the game on FB, every time there is a change. I am an avid sports fan who is actually watching the game at the time. Who, in their right mind, would choose Steve's updates over the game, itself?

Political Paul No matter the content of someone's post, Paul will inject his political views into it. "Freaking liberals!" "Neocons out of control, again!" This is a fun guy at parties.

Live Larry Larry is always "live on the scene", complete with video.. Stuck in traffic, in his back yard smoking, watching TV, etc. A frustrated reporter, for sure, but an "A" for effort and technical skills.

Foodie Fred Fred posts pictures of his lunch and dinner, practically every day. Some of it looks delicious. I believe that a new Facebook policy should be implemented immediately and I have dashed off an email to Mr. Zuckerberg: If you post a photo of a mouth-watering dish, you are required to invite me over.

I am not one to hurt someone's feelings, so these "friends" have silently migrated to my unfollow list. Please don't tell them..

Words in Progress: Random Musings

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Random MusingsRandom thoughts on a Saturday morning: Words can praise, uplift, hurt, etc. But here, they just make you shake your head..

Meet Me at the Breakfast Bar

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I am neither a doctor nor a nutritionist so I have been following this just on faith. I must admit that it can be somewhat depressing as the day goes on, though, and has actually caused me some social awkwardness. A friend of mine recently called and invited me to lunch. I responded, "Sure, but it won't be as important as the meal I'll have earlier that day." I think I may have hurt her feelings.

Batman has Nothing on this Guy

We were on the beach one day when I overheard another couple's conversation: Wife: "Are you going to take a shower?" Husband: "No, I'm just going to put a hat on". I remember thinking, "Wow, that has to be one magical hat! If I could somehow get ahold of that prototype, I'd never have to work again." I was all set to follow them until my wife stepped in.

Big News for Master Chefs:

During a recent trip to the supermarket, I spotted this fancy looking gadget on the shelf. In big red letters, the box boasted "Grilled Cheese Made Easy!" Is anyone having trouble making one of these?? My goodness, it's one step above making ice. Even I can do it. The recipe is practically built into the title. Short of burning it, I don't know how you can go wrong the "old-fashioned" way. This is one item that we will likely not promote.

When is "Free" not "Free"?

When it's "Super Free", of course. As I navigate the internet, I stop and marvel sometimes at the variations people come up with to enhance the word "free", as if its native form isn't good enough. This is particularly prevalent in our field, personal finance web sites..

"Absolutely Free!"
"Completely Free!"
"Totally Free!"
"100% Free!"

"Free" is one of those words like "perfect". It doesn't need any allies. It can fight its own battles. It's strong, independent, a real butt kicker. In fact, "free" may very well be the #1 word in the English language. It's the "Google" of the dictionary. The king of the hill. This little 4-letter word has worked hard to gain its reputation and I believe that it would take offense to some of this needless "dressing up".

NFL Play for (Big) Pay

Another football season is right around the corner. I am a huge fan and can barely contain my excitement. I may be showing my age here but when I was a young boy, the NFL players made almost nothing compared to today's salaries (minimum $465,000). In fact, many of them had to work real jobs in the off-season to make ends meet, just like you and me. Crazy, but true. Can you envision one of these scenarios in 2017?

Home Depot Manager: "Ok, we have a new man starting today, Tom Brady. Show him how we stack the Rustoleum."

Burger King managers meeting: "This guy Cam Newton is pretty good on the drive-thru, let's bump him up to 10 bucks an hour."

Hopefully, the players are cognizant of their league's history and will give us a season to remember.

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Wacky Workplace Words:

Workplace Words

I have many years of experience being in the corporate "show" and on most days that term could be taken literally. They say that laughter is the best medicine. If that is true, I have worked with some pretty good "doctors" and "nurses" along the way. The stories are real, the names have been withheld or changed to protect the nutty..

Manager: You cannot tell another living soul about this.
Employee: I understand.
Manager: I'm serious, not even your pets. Do you have any?
Employee: I had a turtle but he died.
Manager: Excellent.  See Full Article

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How Business Management Mirrors Parenthood

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How business management mirrors parenthood

I accepted my first managerial position at the tender age of 24, a mere babe, and a full two years before I became a father. Placed in charge of a diverse accounting department of eight employees, it was a daunting period, to state it mildly.

Gaining the respect of people much older and with much longer tenure was a challenge that I accepted with open arms, however.

I have been blessed with an inherent ability to see strikingly different parts of an equation and put them together in some sort of coherent fashion. But that trait in no way prepared me for the personalities, moods and "me-first" nature of some of the veteran staff. Not one to be easily rattled, I decided to go with four basic management "ground rules", in keeping with my upbringing:

1: Lead by example. My work ethic, time spent and treatment of others would shine above all. If I failed, I had myself to blame.

2: Be a good listener. Everyone there knew more than I about the particular industry. It would be wise to ask good questions and make note of the responses.

3: Be firm, when necessary. Regardless of age, experience or the skills of the staff, I would make it clear that I was the final word, even though the process would include discussion and valued opinions.

4: Reward or discipline, according to performance and behavior.. and be consistent.

It took months before I felt that I had molded a great staff, some by heart-to-heart talks, some by re-training and some by replacement. The personality skills that I was able to hone along the way, however, were immeasurable and highly transferable to being a parent. It is a human being's basic nature to look out for #1, first, and be part of a team, second. We are wired this way. This notion gave me a solid head start and plan going into parenthood, with the goal of molding my own children into the best human beings that they could be.

Rather than be a "dictator", I would take great pains along the way to explain the rewards for positive behavior and the consequences for bad. And follow up. And follow up. Though it was difficult to see at the very early stages, I knew that this would be the best approach for the future, when my kids would someday be out on their own.

I learned from my dealings with my new staff, particularly, those many years my senior, that this would be the best approach. That experience was a free glimpse into the future, if you like.  There was no way, for example, that I was going to allow my children to become the "Stomp and you'll get your way" type, or of the "Everyone feel sorry for me, a bad break came my way" variety. Instead, I would attempt to mold the best characteristics of the staff into my own household. Team players, aiming for the common good, stating differences respectfully would be the way to go. But I (and my wife) would be in charge, lest there be any doubt.

By carefully applying the golden rules that I set above for management, coupled with my newfound (and sometimes surprising) knowledge of daily interaction with underlings (many simply seeking their own satisfaction), I crafted a plan of action. This plan, together with a wonderful partner/world-class mother, turned out to be the ticket. My children are grown, happy, successful, well-adjusted and self-sufficient.  As we interact now, as "friends", it is enjoyable AND quite funny to reminisce about their triumphs, setbacks and groundings, on their journey to adulthood.

The "simple" child-rearing advice that my parents passed down to me became sage words, indeed, and valued beyond measure:

Start on day one.

Lead by example.

Be consistent.

Reward or discipline, fairly.

Love, laugh and cry together.

Don't fear for showing your weaknesses, but never let that be an opportunity for your kids to act out.

The most important life lesson that I will ever learn is that your children are a direct reflection of you (and your partner) and the time and effort spent on their well-being..beginning on day 1.

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Love Her Today, Find One Hundred Ways

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Love her today, find one hundred waysI met my wife way back in 1981. She was my first older woman and she had it all (still does): Brains, beauty, kindness.. and her own place. At that stage of my life, I would describe myself as a "cute goof", with a carefree "live for today" attitude and not much focus on tomorrow.

That all changed when we met and though I was somewhat apprehensive at the notion of having to work hard to get and keep this "dream girl", a magical helper came along.

A very inspiring song, written by Quincy Jones and sung beautifully by James Ingram, was released at that same time. This single tune has been my "relationship guide" throughout my 30+ year relationship and I still listen to it a few times per week.

The song tells of "investing" yourself,  through real action, every day, in fact (obviously), in many ways. It is through this "investment", that we gain "rewards" and true fulfillment. How true. Music, is one of, if not the most, powerful memory trigger in existence. The lyrics, beat and vocal performance can mentally transport you back in time to another dimension.

You are brought face to face with your former self and can clearly see the origin of your relationship, such as in this case. What an immense help this is, as life throws you bad and mundane situations along the way.

"Your song" keeps you cemented in time, inspires, refreshes and motivates you on to even greater heights. Personally, I use this at every opportunity, particularly when I feeling down. It screams "Get up! Here's where your were, here's why you started this, remember?"

If you have not experienced this wonderful song, it's not too late to hear it and grab it for yourself. More importantly, to live it every day.

One Hundred Ways lyrics

One Hundred Ways: performance by James Ingram

Wacky Workplace Words

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Workplace Words

I have many years of experience being in the corporate "show" and on most days that term could be taken literally. They say that laughter is the best medicine. If that is true, I have worked with some pretty good "doctors" and "nurses" along the way. The stories are real, the names have been withheld or changed to protect the nutty..

Manager: You cannot tell another living soul about this.
Employee: I understand.
Manager: I'm serious, not even your pets. Do you have any?
Employee: I had a turtle but he died.
Manager: Excellent.

Manager: We are looking for someone to come in early and work long hours. Does this interest you?
Job Applicant: Oh yes. I'm usually the first one at work. The GM gave me a key to the back door. I got the nickname "back door girl".
Manager: This is a construction-type business, I'd keep that one under your hat.

Manager: Can you please send this to Mr. Johnson.
Adm. Asst: (who happened to be a close relative of the owner): Can I do it tomorrow?
Manager: What's wrong with today?
Adm. Asst: I wanted to see if I could go an entire day without doing a stitch of work. Not one stitch.
Manager: Well, technically, answering your boss's question is considered work. I think you blew it.
Adm. Asst: Damn it! Give it to me.

Saleslady: I am so excited to get to meet you. We’ve talked on the phone so much, now I finally get to see you in the flesh.
Manager: Well, I can’t promise anything like that. Let’s just see how it goes.

Vendor Rep: Mr. Jackson is not available, he died.
Employee: Oh, I’m so sorry.
Vendor Rep: Yes, he is too.

Young Adm. Asst: Hey, guess who did my hair?
Boss: Stevie Wonder?
Young Adm. Asst: I don’t know who she is. No, the crazy roommate I was telling you about!
Boss: Yeah, that makes more sense.
Young Adm. Asst: Holla!

Manager: I'm afraid that we're going to have to let you go. You just don't have the skills, personality, work ethic or attendance record that we need.
Employee: What are you getting at?

Manager: We have a John, a Paul and a George here today. All we need is a Ringo.
Young Employee: What’s a Ringo?

Employee: My boyfriend is a little upset that you're taking me to lunch.
Supervisor: Well did you tell him that I'm old enough to be your father?
Employee: No, I just told him that you're super nice.
Supervisor: See, I would have gone the other way on that.

Manager: Can you please file these for me.
Young Adm. Asst: Yeah, for shigity.
Manager: You're going to have to develop a more professional vocabulary if you're going to succeed here, understand?
Young Adm. Asst: Like totes!

You CAN Have your Cake and Eat it too

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You can have your cake and eat it tooHas there ever been a more ridiculous phrase uttered or reiterated by so many people? With the exception of "free gift", perhaps not. "That's right, Johnny, Santa won't be sending you a bill tomorrow, enjoy that bike!"

I would wager that the founder of  "You can't have your cake and eat it too" did not like children.. or birthdays. Imagine if that mindset were to be expanded even further: "You can't have a pretty wife and kiss her too". You can't have a nice car and drive it too". The possibilities are endless.

The fact is, you can have a bite of that cake, or two or three, until you're full. I have spent a great number of years surrounded by "Negative Nellie's". The trick is to fire up your competitive juices, to use these folks as springboards to achieve greater heights for yourself. They are your "inadvertent life coaches", your "reverse trainers", if you like. Treat them as such.

Make the mental transition to convert their negativity into your motivation. These are the golden opportunities to rise up and take the game. Adopt the "I've never been a follower and I'm not about to start with this lot" attitude. These "backwards cheerleaders" are roaring you on. Get out there and score.

The Proper Mindset for Success:

You will see the word "mindset" throughout our site. This is the critical element that separates success from failure. One's mindset is the fuel to action. It is the reason that many athletes with lesser God-given skills can outperform those with greater talent. Many successful people have previously failed miserably, multiple times. But what makes them stand out is the action of not laying down, giving up, "calling it a day".

This applies to any and every endeavor. When life has kicked you down, the choices are to stay on the mat or dust yourself off and fight another day. It is through the "beatdowns" that we develop and build on our "perseverance muscle". What is actually done with that muscle is the key to future goals, accomplishments and happiness.