Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Memorial Day Tribute

There is no peace without justice, there is no justice without a fight.

During last few years, under the direction and mentoring in our LIFE personal development business, I have a new appreciation for the sacrifice and hard work it takes to preserve the freedoms we have experienced in the United States.  Unfortunately, we are losing freedoms from the inside of our country as brave men and women fight outside our borders.  This article is a tribute to remember those who lost their life in service of our country and as a reminder that there is no peace or justice without a fight.

Below is an article from a friend of mine, Ed Lump, President and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, as he describes the significance of Memorial Day in his life.

A day for remembering, Memorial Day has special significance:

 I fear that for most Americans, Memorial Day and Memorial Day weekend is a time to play or, as in the case of many in the restaurant industry, a time to work hard serving those people who are playing. Whether playing or working, everyone hopes that this is the beginning of a very enjoyable and prosperous summer season.

All this is good, but we often forget the real purpose of Memorial Day. This is a day set aside to remember America’s fallen heroes—those who died fighting our wars or keeping our peace.

Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day. On this day, Americans went to cemeteries to literally decorate the graves of the fallen.

I was born in 1942, and the earliest memories I have involve the great happiness at the safe arrival home of my father after serving in the Pacific. I also remember the horrible grief at the arrival home of my uncle’s body from Europe.

Forever seared into my memory was seeing my grandmother’s heart break. Recently, I was going through the family archives, and I came across my uncle’s obituary. It was one of six in the December 1944 parish news.

“Mr. and Mrs. Casper Lump . . . have received the sad news that their son Frank . . . has been killed in action in Germany on October 8, 1944. . . . He was inducted into the service on June 10, 1941, and had been overseas two years. He took part in the invasion of Africa, Sicily, France,Belgium and Germany with only one brief holiday which he spent in England.”

The June 11 issue of Mercy News contained the following item: Frank Lump writes from Britain. “We have seen a lot of combat and we sure needed a rest. My pal and I go to confession and communion and mass every Sunday. . . . We have seen a lot of combat and we have been in places I thought we would never get out of. We do a lot of praying. . . . It gets pretty tough up there on the front lines. Jerry is nobody’s dummy. He’s pretty smart but we are just a little smarter. . . .”

I remember going with my grandmother many times to “decorate” Frank’s grave. She planted flowers, we had lunch, we prayed. She cried and at times touched his grave marker with tenderness as if she was touching her baby’s forehead. As the years have passed I have come to treasure this sacred experience and memory.

The famous World War II cartoonist Bill Mauldin reflected on the first Memorial Day ceremony he attended after the conclusion of the war. It took place at a military cemetery and the local commander was asked to address the gathering, which included dignitaries from Congress and soldiers.

He welcomed everyone and then instead of facing the crowd, he turned and faced the graves and spoke to the dead. He apologized for having to give orders that resulted in their deaths and thanked them for their sacrifice.

I hope that on Memorial Day each of us takes just a moment to stop what we are doing to remember the sacrifice the soldiers made and to thank them. They gave up their dreams so we can pursue ours.

God bless them, God bless you, and God bless America.

I pray you enjoy your freedoms this Memorial Day.  As you sip a beverage, eat something hot off the grill, or, splash in the water, remember that those freedoms came at a price.  Freedom always comes with a price and on Memorial Day we remember those that gave their life as that price.

From the men and women in the LIFE business – THANK YOU for your sacrifices!

Lead With Your Best – The MFC And Lessons In The Home

“Your actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying” –Tim Marks

Leaders Lead by Example

Last week I read the article, Give It Your Best, by best-selling author and 2011 IAB Top Leadership Content Award Winner, Orrin Woodward.  It reminded me of a great family lesson I just experienced.

Michelle and I have 3 children – ages 9 through 13.  Each child has a different temperament which amazes me – same house, same message, yet different results with each child.

Earlier this spring my oldest son Adam started to prepare for his inaugural track season with the local track club.  The two of us sat down to develop a goal and game plan on what days each week he would workout and what it was he wanted to accomplish.  I decided I was going to join him!  After all, I’m 16 in a 42-year-old body, and want to work on the 1-pack I have going on in the mid-section, if you know what I mean.  Just the fact that I sat down to develop a goal and game plan is a testimony to the leadership journey we’ve been on the last handful of years.

KEY PONT 1: Adam developed a goal and then set a game plan to achieve a desired result.

A Humbling Experience

Each practice consisted of a warm-up then workout and cool-down or core workout.  No one else in the family wanted to join us and they all chose to watch Dad die alone on the side of the road.  The first practice was not very motivating for me as I realized that Adam has surpassed me in speed and fitness.  In fact, after the last interval around the neighborhood, Adam probably finished 150 meters ahead of me.  I was hunched over with hands on knees and gasping for air.  My neighbor was watching the whole event take place and yells from the driveway, “Matt, that was horrible!  Adam killed you.  That was just horrible!”  Thanks for the vote of confidence :)

She was right on, I was pathetic.  As the next two weeks progressed, I became more fatigued, sore and humbled.  Adam seemed to glide almost effortlessly through the workouts.  My 11-year-old Alex saw how much fun it was beating me that he decided to give it whirl.

KEY POINT 2: Alex joined the group after he saw his older brother lead by example.

The Crossroads

The next practice was no different from the others.  Adam was graceful and smooth; I looked like I “ran funny” according to Adam and, to top it off,  Alex also kicked my tail.  But, I never quit and gave my best effort.

KEY POINT 3: Never quit and give your best effort.

That day Adam was going to do 5 intervals, and old man pappy was going to do 4 (kind of like a handicap in golf).  After the fourth interval, I was spent, my legs burned and I was thankful my part of the workout was done – so I thought.  To my surprise, Adam was throwing in the towel too.  He had enough and was going to quit early.

That was not acceptable to me.  One of our family rules is you ALWAYS give your best effort and never quit because it hurts too much (A lesson I learned through our LIFE leadership training and from my mentors Dan Hawkins, George Guzzardo and Orrin Woodward).  Adam was having nothing of it.

Plan B:  I decided to try building a vision for Adam and how his efforts will produce fruits in the future (for a great example of this read chapter 4 of RESOLVED- 13 Resolutions for Life by Orrin Woodward).

I started to describe to Adam that someday he will be lining up for the last event of the state track meet – the mile relay.  His team will be in the running for the state title, but they will have to win the race and he will have to put in the best race of his life.  I described that he’ll think back to times like today and he will be thankful for working through the fatigue and pain.

Adam bought nothing of it!  He started to dig in his heels, raise his voice and shout “I’m not doing it!”

Plan C:  I started to think about punishment and negative consequences.  Thankfully through all the reading, listening and mentoring over the years I decided to abort that plan quickly knowing it would send everyone into a tail spin.

Leaders Lead by Example

 Plan D:  As I felt my frustration level increase, “Leaders lead by example” ran through my mind.  I had heard it, read it and counseled it many times before and now was an example of how I had to live it.
I decided to complete the fifth and final interval by myself (remember old man pappy was only going to do 4 intervals).  I figured Adam was quitting early because he saw me doing it, so I reversed it and thought if I do the last interval it might motivate him to do it.

I walked away not saying anything except, “I’m going to do that last interval.  I’ll see you when I’m done.”  I told myself “Don’t look back, don’t make him feel bad, don’t say anything, just lead quietly by example and see what happens.”  I started the last interval by myself, still not looking back, and could feel the ache from the lactic acid that had built up in my legs.  I was just going to run this one at a comfortable pace – and all of a sudden, I heard footsteps behind me.  Adam flew by me like the wind and completed his last interval leaving me in his dust.  He was so mad at me for doing that, but at the same time you could see in his face that he has happy he did it!!

KEY POINT 4: Don’t expect anyone to do the things you want them to do unless you are willing to do them yourself.

Take the Mental Fitness Challenge

It’s a little life example, but I think the principles are enormous.

  • Develop a goal and game plan to achieve a desired result.
  • Leaders always lead by example.
  • Never quit when the going gets tough.
  • Don’t expect anyone to do the things you want them to do unless you are willing to do them yourself.

My prayer is that this story, and Orrin’s article, may help you have a better day today or tomorrow.  We just launched the Mental Fitness Challenge (MFC) and
the principles in this article are found in that 90 day challenge.  Log in to the MFC website, sign up for the challenge and get ready to Live the Life You’ve Always Wanted!  Godspeed