Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Welcome to Fall

I haven't written in awhile, for a number of reasons.  Travel, work, friends, football, golf, activities, work, work.  This thing in life we call work.

We spend so much of our lives working.  It grossly dominates our precious time in so many ways.  It's why it is so important to find something you are passionate about, since we spend so much time doing it.  I often tease my friends that "work is overrated".

In a lot of ways it really is.

As we move into fall I can't help but be a little emotional and sentimental.  The leaves are turning, and so are so many other things.  We meet new friends, new acquaintances, new colleagues, maybe new people that have a huge significance in our lives.  October 9th marks the 3 year anniversary of my Dad's passing, and I also lost my Mom this past March.   I can't help but be touched by events and stories I see on TV, radio, or even a kid's soccer or football game.  It brings back so many memories of my time with my parents.

Those precious times and events are missed dearly.

I read a compelling story this morning about a grandfather's last letter to his grand kids.  It really spelled out what life is all about.  We really need to live each day with passion.  We never know when our number is going to come up.  We don't want to leave God's green earth with regrets, do we?

Last weekend my wife and I had tickets to the Cougar game in Seattle.  Prior to the game we visited with friends at a local watering hole next to the stadium.  One couple was celebrating their 28th anniversary.  They gave away their tickets to a young couple that had their whole lives ahead of them.  Time flies when you are having fun, and what a nice gesture.  We never made it to the game either.  It would be easy to feel bad about not making it to the game, considering the fact I paid $80 a ticket, and the stadium was right across the street.  Even though the Cougars were losing again, we were surrounded by fun friends who were living life to it's fullest, and enjoying each other. 

Who could ask for anything more than that.

Welcome to Fall.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Gutty Reporter

As a former news person who aspired to be a newscaster I am touched by the passing of Kathi Goertzen.  She was such a professional and even more special as a person.

I grew up watching Kathi in the early 80's when I was preparing myself for my time in front of the cameras.  She was working for KOMO 4 News, a place she hung her hat for a long time.  We all have a station that we are loyal to when it comes to news, and growing up in Western Washington KOMO 4 was my choice.  We choose our favorite stations and news teams out of trust.

Kathi was always there.

Watching Kathi through her struggles is one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen.  She was always so positive. "You can't let an illness define you", she said recently. 

It sure didn't define her.

We need to tip our hats to KOMO for hiring such a wonderful person 30-some years ago.  She was a fixture in Seattle and will be dearly missed.  Open up a textbook on how to handle adversity and Kathi Goertzen's picture will be front and center.

Just like she was for many years in Seattle.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Things Missing At the Olympic Games

Tomorrow will mark the five month anniversary of the passing of my Mom.  As I watch the swimming competition at the Summer Olympics in London I can't help but remember all the great times spent with my Mom at my competitive swim meets growing up.

She was always there.

Michael Phelps is the most decorated swimmer in the history of the sport.  It's hard not to admire his discipline and the support he has received from his Mom.  A lot of people just don't realize how difficult of a sport it is, and the drive it takes to achieve at such a high level.

He has done it with style and grace.

We see so many stories about these great athletes and what they've been through to get to this level.  But we very seldom hear about the true significance or the sacrifices of the parents and coaches, and the support they provide.  There is not a better feeling than to look up and see your parents sitting in the stands at a big event. 

We all have great support systems in our lives.  It could be a co-worker, friend, colleague, mentor, or coach.  But none can surpass our Moms.

I sure miss mine.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

5 Tips to help avoid the bad referral

Finding the right fit with a client can be a difficult one sometimes.  We live in the world where the only way to "grow" as a business is to develop new and incremental revenue.  Sometimes we have to learn the hard way when we get referred to someone who doesn't have the positive attributes and values that we may have, but we take them on anyway.

Sometimes we have to learn the hard way.

One of the most difficult things a business person can do is ask for referrals.  I know I don't do a very good job of it.  Today was one of those days where I realize why I don't.

Often times when you get referred by someone you can divide and conquer with your friends and colleagues and find out as much as you can about that particular client.  Do they pay on time?  Do they treat you with respect?  Do they honor their commitments?  Do they let you do your job and what you are best at?  Do they really understand the importance and value of what you do?

And there's those times where you get bad advice, or a bad referral if you will.

Here's some tips on how to avoid getting hooked up with a bad referral.

1.  Go with your gut.  Often times you will know right away if it's a good fit or not.  You can tell right away if the person is controlling, or they think they know more about your business than you do.  If they are seeking you out in your expertise as a professional they can utilize, and they still give you the impression that they think they know more than you do, then you might think about going a different direction.  It's not a good sign.

2.  Ask the right questions right out of the gate.   Don't be afraid to ask hypothetical questions about different situations that might arise.  This will give you a good feel for how that person might react in different situations.  You are running the risk of them telling you what they think you want to hear, but it gives you guidelines to fall back on if the situation does arise.

3.  Try to find mutual friends that may have the inside scoop.  Often times someone may refer you to someone because they really don't want to deal with them anymore.  They certainly aren't going to tell you.  Be careful and try to find as many people as you can that may have the inside scoop or know some people close to the organization.  Hearing one bad story can often raise the red flag to go the other direction.

4.  Talk to some of their clients.  This is probably the best way to find out about this person and how they respond to adverse situations.  Problems can turn into opportunities if they are handled the right way.  We learn more from problem situations than we do from winning ones.

5.  Make sure it passes the sniff test.  It's an old saying but it works.  When you go through these different categories and it still doesn't pass the sniff test then you better think twice about taking on the business.  It's just not worth it.  It's not worth your time, the headache, and the heartache.  There's plenty of business out there to go around.  Don't waste your time on someone who isn't a good fit.

Trust your instincts.  You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Winemaker with work ethic

They say that hard work really does pay off.  I have watched it first hand for the past year or so.  The Blending Room in Manson, Washington is the perfect stop for anyone who wants a nice glass of wine and a comfortable setting.

Angela Jacobs is the winemaker and she does a marvelous job.  Her Wine Girl Wines are something to be proud of, and her hard work is really paying off.  I have watched her work in the trenches for the past year and I admire how hard her and John work at their craft.

So the next time you are in Manson, Washington stop by and see Angela and John.  As you enter Manson The Blending Room is on the right hand side just past the Red Apple Market.  Enjoy some great wine and a fantastic atmosphere.

Who could ask for anything more than that.  I'm sure their dog Quincy would be happy to see you too.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

No unfinished business

Do you ever feel like you have unfinished business that you just can't get off your mind?  On March 2nd I lost my Mom after a short battle with Leukemia.  It was a total shock to the family because it happened so fast.  Many of us are still in disbelief that she's gone.  That Friday morning was a bittersweet day because the family also welcomed Mom's third great grandchild just an hour and a half after she passed. 

I am at peace because my Mom left this world with no unfinished business.  She managed her life so well.  I don't know of many people that have the luxury of being able to experience that.

Mom did everything the right way, and then some.  She was nice to everyone, and she had many friends.  There were dozens of people at her celebration of life from her Garfield High School Class of 1951.  I guess that's what happens when you are the nicest person in the world.

What a tribute.

She always put everyone else above herself.  She would have been uncomfortable with all the hoopla that was happening at the celebration of her life on Friday afternoon.  She would have thought we should have been somewhere else--and she would have let us know too.

That's what happens when you leave this world with no unfinished business.

What a role model.  Miss you Mom.