Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Uncle Ray Says...

I first posted this on Ringold.NET back on September 27, 2006. I think it's still relevant so I'm reposting again, with minor modifications....

Every once in a while you meet someone who says something that stays with you for the rest of your life. Uncle Ray is that kind of guy. He's not my Uncle Ray; he's actually my ex-wife's Uncle Ray, but I claim him, because he's cool. He's done a little of everything, and enjoyed it all, knows everything there is to know (just ask him), is one heck of a nice guy, and I think he's been married since they invented it.

A few years back, we were sitting around the picnic table for a 4th of July family gathering, and Uncle Ray stopped chewing on his stogy and said, "You know... a man chases a woman, until she catches him!" He used to do that -- just come up with those unexpected pearls of wisdom, and he was pretty proud of that one. We all chuckled, patted him on his balding head and passed him another hamburger.

A little bit later, he said, "A man marries a woman in the hopes that she will never change; and a woman marries a man in the hopes that he WILL" Hmmm. That was better than the first one, and since his niece was my 3rd wife, I could definitely attest to the authenticity of that statement!

Then, just before dessert, and just after he took those last few puffs on his stogie for the day, Uncle Ray said, "A woman marries a man, and then changes this and changes that, and nags him until he changes. Then she gets mad at him and says, 'you're not the man I married.' "

If I'd met Uncle Ray a bit earlier in my life, he could have saved me a lot of headaches, and three divorces. I was thinking that if I ever decided to get married again, I'd find him and take him to dinner and see if there was anything else he forgot to tell me ;-) But, instead, I happened across this book: All You Need Is Love & Other Lies About Marriage. Stopped me cold! I checked it out. Cool! Uncle Ray in paperback -- but without the cigar (whew!)

Great insights, truths of life, and things I... uh... you might not have thought about, before. In the last year or so, I've bought FIVE copies of this book, and I still don't own one, because people keep taking them from me. Everyone has said, "Thank you," but one person said, "you saved my marriage." That worked for me.

If you're going to get married, it's a must read. If you're already married and scratching your head... it's a must read. If you've been married and you're divorced and now you find someone you like... be SURE to read it before you get too serious again. If you're none of the above... read it anyway -- things can change quickly.

Right now, I'm going to order another copy, and see how long I keep this one.

Have an amazing day !


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm Kelvin. I Solve Problems

I hold a position at a medical facility as an administrative assistant. The job has meant different things in different years, but one thing has remained constant over that period. Excluding patient care stuff, many times when there's been a problem that needed handling, the answer to the question of "how can we handle this?" has often been, "Ask Kelvin." I used to call myself the "shell answer man" of admin assistants, but a while back a practitioner I worked with asked me if I'd ever seen the movie "Pulp Fiction?" As luck would have it... the answer was "no, why?" She said, "You're like that guy in Pulp Fiction. 'I'm Winston Wolfe. I solve problems.' She said, "your name is Kelvin; you solve problems."

I liked that, although based on what little I know of the movie, I don't solve "that" kind of problem. But, all in all and in a growing number of circles, when something needs to be done, someone often says, "Ask Kelvin."

Why is that? Well, it's not that I'm so smart, but I do know how to find answers. And most answers come directly after I've asked a question. And anyone can ask a question, right?

Of course, sometimes it helps to know who to ask, and if you don't know who to ask, that becomes the first question: "Who do I know who might be able to answer this question, or point me to someone who can? "

Never underestimate the power of a simple question. It's how Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity, and the first step in being able to say, "I solve problems."

If you'd like more positive, upbeat, motivating and uplifting food for thought, visit our full edition of Ramblings at

Have an awesome day.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hi, How Are ya? I Didn't Want Anything!

Every once in a while I get the urge to call somebody. Actually, occasionally I get the urge to call EVERYBODY, but that's usually not practical. But one of the things I like to do is call someone -- friend, sometimes someone I've worked with or collaborated with, or who's life I've made miserable with job or business related issues -- and just say, "Hi... How are ya? I didn't want anything, no work to do. You just crossed my mind and I wanted to say hello and wish you a happy day."

The first time I did that I thought we'd have to administer CPR because, for that person, when I was on the phone, it almost certainly meant "a problem" needed to be handled, or an issue resolved, or some other stress inducing factor was in play. So the phone rang, they saw my number, took a deep breath, prepared for the payload, "Hello, Kelvin..." and I said, "Hi Jill (not their real name) . I didn't really want anything. I figured I'd call you at least once when I didn't have any work for you to do, just to say hi and thank you for all you've done over the months to help me. You've always been great." And Jill (still not their real name) said, "Really?" I said, "Uh huh." They said, "Oh... wow... how nice. Thank you, I appreciate that."

I do that routinely now; not to the same person, of course, but every once in a while I just a call someone, even if it means I leave a message on their voice mail, and say "Hi... I don't want anything. You don't need to call back. I just wanted to say hi. Hope you're having an awesome day."

A phone call is more personal than an email -- and you know how I love email -- but if email is all you got then that works. But sometimes... your human voice saying "hi... I was thinking about you" has a more healing effect than anything you could possibly write, so every once in a while... just call.

Try it. You'll feel good about it... and they'll feel grrrreat !

Have an awesome day.


Friday, January 11, 2008

So I met this guy...

Who motivates the motivator? Who gets the person moving forward, who's been stuck in the same spot on the treadmill -- like that hamster on the wheel -- so all that sweat starts being the result of productivity, and not just aimless activity? Some say that is totally internal to the person involved: "You make a decision, and then you act on it. There is no decision without action." And I totally believe that to be true.

But sometimes, in doing the assessment that leads to making your decision, you find that there are things stopping you, blocking you from moving forward, and part of your decision might be to find someone -- a guru... a coach ... a mentor ... a compassionate friend, perhaps -- to help you identify the stuff that keeps you from making progress because, after all, if you already knew what was stopping you, you'd do something about it, right? But even then, if you decide to do something about it, what would you do?

Sometimes what turns the key to understanding -- and subsequently action -- is something as simple as a single question, and many times that question has to come from someone outside of ourselves.

So... I met this guy. Actually, he called me (and got my voice mail) to do some networking after a chamber of commerce event that I'd missed. He was just going down the list of absent members, introducing himself and telling us about his coaching business. I liked his style, his presentation, and figured "what have I got to lose? It's networking." So I called him back and got his voice mail, left my message, and after several iterations of that , we finally met.

Now sitting face to face, doing the normal positioning banter, checking each other out to see if each of us is who we "discerned" the other to be via our phone messages -- king's pawn to king 3, etc. Turns out Steve decided he needed to meet me, just to find out WHO the person was who could leave a voice mail message as long as the one I'd left him ! (I do write "Ramblings "... after all)

So, we'd gotten past that and had been talking a while (he mostly listening); I told him what I'm involved in, some of my immediate and intermediate goals, what my time lines are, and he smiled and asked, "so, what's your end game?" Kelvin became silent. I am unaccustomed to people asking me a question that stops me cold... and makes me think that hard... that fast (perhaps that's why he's the business coach and I'm not). Some things we've not equated to such simple concepts that we can pull in a flash, but... that's the real question, isn't it ? What is my end game? So I told him the truth -- more or less: "I'm just now defining that... let me get back to you."

Of course, being who I am, I managed to also ask *him* a question that gave him a bit of pause, though not as long a pause as he gave me, and after 90 minutes of conversation with this man, I felt invigorated, refreshed, challenged and respected -- not a bad mix for a 90 minute cup of coffee.

So who knows. Maybe you have a hurdle or two you don't seem able to get over up to now. Maybe a no-cost consultation will help you see a direction. Who can say? Check him out. Maybe Steve has a question that you need to think about. I don't recommend many people -- I'm hard to impress (smile).

Have an awesome day.