Thursday, September 30, 2010

Looking ahead

We can't always build a future for our youth, but we can build our youth for our future. Franklin D. Roosevelt

A Touch of Lemon

A Touch of Lemon

When I met Mr. Jim Lemon, I was a sixteen-year-old freshman at Houston's Jackson Junior High and the chances of my finishing high school were slim. I was a troubled teenager with an attitude, living in a neighborhood that fostered troubled teenagers.

Mr. Lemon taught American history and it was clear from the first day that his classroom was not going to be disrupted. It was apparent, very quickly, that Mr. Lemon was quite different from the other teachers I had known. Not only was he a disciplinarian, but also he was a great teacher. He would never settle for my usual standard of classroom work. Mr. Lemon pushed and prodded and never tolerated the mediocrity that had become my standard.

On the occasion of our first semester report cards, Mr. Lemon called me aside and asked how it was possible that I was a B student in his class and a D and F student in the rest of my classes.

I was ready for that question. I passionately told him about my divorced parents, the local gangs, the drugs, the fights, and the police - all the evils that I had been subjected to. Mr. Lemon listened patiently and when I was through he responded, “There’s a problem with your list Mr. Phillips, you are not on it.”

Then Mr. Lemon explained that the only person responsible for my situation was me. And the only person with the potential to change my situation was me, and that when I personally accepted that responsibility I could make a significant change in my life.

He convinced me that I was failing not because I was a failure, but because I was not accepting the responsibility for my results in those other classes. Mr. Lemon was the first teacher I had who made me believe in myself. He inspired me to become a better student and he changed my life.

Ten years later, I spoke to him again. I was preparing to graduate from Chaminade University in Honolulu.

It had taken weeks of telephone calls to find him but I knew what I had to say. When I finally did get Mr. Lemon on the telephone, I explained what his brutal honesty had meant to me, how I finally graduated from high school, and how I was a proud staff sergeant in the Army. I explained how I had married the most beautiful and wonderful woman of my dreams and how we had a beautiful daughter.

Most of all I wanted him to know that I was about to graduate magna cum laude after going to school for four hours a night, four nights a week for three years. I wanted him to know that I could never have done any of these things if he had not been a part of my life.

Finally, I told him that I had been saving money for two years so that I could invite he and his wife to come to Hawaii at my expense to be part of my graduation. I'll never forget his response. Mr. Lemon said, "Who is this again?"

I was just one of hundreds of students whose life he changed and he seemed genuinely surprised of his impact.

Perhaps none of us realize the impact that we have on other people nor do other people have any idea how much of an impact they have on us. How much, then, should we be aware of our influence on others to make sure that it is for the best? And how much more should we tell those who have had a positive impact on our lives?

--- Copyright © 2010 Rick Phillips

For more inspirational stories go to

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Everyone loves vegetable lasagna but...

Just a reminder to check your attachments when sending an employer your resume.

Catherine, a RN, was unhappy with her job, so she submitted her resignation. She was sure she'd have no trouble finding a new position, because of the nursing shortage in her area.

She e-mailed cover letters to dozens of potential employers and attached her resume to each one. Two weeks later, Catherine was dismayed and bewildered that she had not received even one request for an interview.

Finally she received a message from a prospective employer that explained the reason she hadn't heard from anyone else.

It read: "Your resume was not attached as stated. I do, however, want to thank you for the vegetable lasagna recipe."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Clean Up Your Cyberlife

The month of September has been declared International Update Your Resume Month. However, a successful job search includes a lot more than an updated résumé. Take a look at this article from the Daytona Beach News-Journal. It has some great advice on how you represent yourself online.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The 14 Rules of Leadership

Good Monday morning all! It’s Lori Stone, the CBE’s director of business operations and communications. Years ago, I had the privilege of hearing General H. Norman Schwarzkopf speak at a local event. His keynote address centered on leadership, and I never forgot the 14 rules he clearly laid out for the audience. I particularly like number 14 and hope you benefit from reading these as well.

1. Think of yourself as a leader. Leaders lead people, not systems, processes et al.
2. Character. Requires sense of duty, ethics, morality – it is not a measure of competence. In times of crisis, people pick character to follow. Have strength of character – a prerequisite to having the courage to do the right thing.
3. Leadership must be respected, even though not loved. Make it happen and take responsibility. You can delegate authority, and still take responsibility. It is more important to be respected than to be loved. Leaders do not seek to be pleasing first.
4. The true rewards of leadership come from leadership itself – not the next promotion or tangible reward. Do not seek rewards; leadership is its own reward.
5. No organization will get better until leadership admits that something is broken. The prevalent can do attitude must be willing to accept you can’t do before you know something has to change.
6. The climate must allow people to speak up.
7. Leaders establish goals for an organization. They must be understood and know their role in reaching the goal. FOCUS is the number #1 goal in the military. The greater the number of goals, the more confusion you get. Creating focus is the number #1 priority for a leader. Excellent leaders instill focus by creating shared goals that are clear and understood; everyone understands their roles in achieving the shared goals.
8. Leaders set high standards; they don’t accept low standards. They set expectations. People go to work to succeed, not to fail.
9. Leaders set high standards and clarify their expectations. They then expect that people will go to work on achieving these standards.
10. Recognize and reward success – it is infectious. Failure is contagious. Leaders recognize and reward success. They understand deeply that both successes as well as failure are contagious.
11. Accept a few mistakes. Provide the latitude to learn. Leaders accept a few mistakes but also, create the latitude and atmosphere to learn.
12. Don’t tell them how to do the job – simply allocate resources, set standards and the results will exceed your expectations. Leaders do not deal with how to get the job done; they surround themselves with talent and then allocate resources and remove roadblocks to enable the talent to excel. Love the troops. Leaders love their troops and let them know in many ways.
13. When placed in command, take charge. Even if the decision is bad, you have set change in motion. It is better than being stagnant. When placed in command, take charge.
14. Do what is right. It is a sign of character. Have strength of character – a prerequisite to having the courage to do the right thing. Do the right thing – have the moral courage to do the right thing.

Excerpts taken from: Norman Schwarzkopf’s14 Rules on Leadership
by Lynn Dessert on May 17, 2010 • 3 comments
in Great Boss Traits,Teamwork

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Warning! Danger! Misuse of Social Media Can Be Expensive

Read the article about “6 Things You Should Never Reveal on Facebook”. It has some good advice in it. Things you may or may not have already thought of.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

10 things teens should know about $$

Wouldn't it had been great if we had known more about saving money when we were younger? Or had listened to the sage advice we did hear? Here is a list of the 10 top things every teenager should know about money.

click here to learn more

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wise and beautiful!

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.

Maya Angelou

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Take A Moment To Relax

Take A Moment To Relax

May 28, 2010, it was a beautiful sunny Florida morning. Not more than 10 minutes of my arrival at work, I hear those dreadful words, " your position has been eliminated due to budget cuts". Within minutes, the day went from sunny to gloomy. Immediately I panic. What am I going to do? I have a daughter going into her sophomore year at Stetson University, another daughter entering her senior year in high school and twins entering their sophomore year also in high school. I had two options, go home and fall apart or I can remain relaxed. I chose the latter and went to the beach with my wife for the day.

Many of us go through similar experiences when losing a job. It is critical that we remain calm. That we understand the importance of being positive. Of course it is much easier stated than done, but if we recognize within ourselves what relaxes us, it will enable you to cope with sudden job loss or any other life changing event. Relaxation differs from person to person. Some like to take a walk, some listen to music and many are discovering the wonders of meditation.

I personally find meditation to be very useful with its various breathing techniques. Meditation is just one tool of many. Below, I have a link that will show you how meditation can help you de-stress your life and relax.

Debt Solutions

Money makes the world go around, according to the lyrics of a tune from Cabaret. Therefore, one can imagine that being deeply in debt can put one’s world spinning out of control. In an effort to help restore some balance there are links to a variety of sources that can supply you with debt solution information.
The links below are from an article in the Daytona Beach News Journal of Sunday, September 12, 2010.

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Credit

Personal Debt Article

Monday, September 20, 2010

Healthy Eating is Key During Difficult Times

It’s a given we live in difficult economic times. There is less money on hand to take care of ourselves and, definitely, less time if you are in job search mode. However, we must make it a priority or we will be doing ourselves a disservice and will not be in a position to support those who count on us. Healthy eating when you have limited time and money is still quite possible. Read this article for some great tips:

Friday, September 17, 2010

NPR feature on Florida Back to Work (STEP)Program

On Sept 15th (NPR) National Public Radio ran a story in the five part PM segment about the (TANF) Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund or as is known locally (STEP) Subsidized Temporary Employment Program. It showcased a number of success stories which resulted from individuals participating in the program. The piece also highlighted the program's scheduled expiration date of Sept 30th (end of this month).

NPR left the impression that the bill was pending a vote to extend the funding within the Senate. Unfortunately the facts are that the $2.5 billion extension bill passed by the house has already expired and is not pending in the Senate.

To listen,

Go to click on the link that says “listen “ or do a search on “TANF”

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Getting smarter by listening to smart people

Do you want to rub bellies with really smart folks? Here's your opportunity. You never know what sort of cool opportunities surface from attending these events...

Feeding the Pig

Those who know me well know that I often stress over my parenting skills for my young daughter, Hope. What discipline is right? How do I teach her good work ethic? How do I get her to want to volunteer and give back? How do I teach her about money, when to save, when to splurge? Many of these I know it comes down to modeling the behavior all the time and she will learn through watching but sometimes I wonder: how do I do this?
Looking back I remember the things my parents taught me about finances and money and the topics we never talked about. I learned to save because they wouldn’t buy me a car and that was the only way I was ever going to get one. And that approach worked. I worked weekends and saved so I could buy my first car at sixteen. However my parents never talked about savings, retirement, or donating; I don’t know how much my parents made and they never discussed monthly expenses. Lessons can be learned about how to budget when you know to look at weekly income and outgoing expenses, but in my house these were taboo subjects. They didn’t discuss credit cards, interest or the pitfalls that so many young people make when they first get credit cards. I battled recovering from that lesson well into my twenties.
Now I work with young adults and teach workshops on budgeting. I try to instill into them the skills they will need to know to be financially savvy and it has struck me over the past year how much many of these teenagers don’t know about finances: the simple things and the complex. We broke the subject of finances down to five areas and discuss each individually and in depth: budgeting, writing checks, online banking, credit and taxes. It has been enlightening and fun to teach these skills and has eased some of my anxiety about my own abilities to teach Hope as she gets older. For many these are skills that they are taking back home and using because many of their parents are under or unemployed. Learning to stretch money has been learned through necessity. I hope that for at least some we have been able to help.
I have made a promise to myself that Hope will know how much our household brings in and what bills are paid out monthly. As she grows older and she begins to ask for more and more, I hope that having her help look at our budget and make adjustments for the “extras” will show her that to get she has to give in other areas. For now she is only old enough to just start learning about money. She gets our spare change and loves to “feed the Pig”. She gets to keep the piggy bank in her room which she loves. Yesterday morning when we were “feeding the pig” it reminded me of a web page that we use for one of our workshops. It is fun but provides lots of useful advice about finances. In the current economy as we all struggle to make our own personal adjustments I think any extra information can help. If you have a moment, check it out. I hope it helps you feed your pig.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Volusia Manufacturers Association

Great Info on the up coming Manufacturer's Expo!

It's about who you know!

Please join us for our awesome Professional Networking Groups! Daytona's group meets this Friday, September 17th at 10:00 a.m. at our Daytona One-Stop and Deland's group meets next Tuesday, September 21st at 1:00 p.m.

If you are interested in attending please call Donna Runge at 386-323-7009.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Climb Out of Your Rut

I recently read an article titled Coaching Outside the Box by Dave Krueger, MD. While the article was addressed to career and life coaches, the results of the study Dr. Krueger writes about can be applied to all walks of life.

The study took place at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. The idea was to get people to break their usual habits. Subjects picked a different option each day and behaved according to that option. For an example, if the subject was an introvert they might be required to behave as an extrovert for an entire day. In addition, each subject had to get out of their comfort zone and behave in a way other than their usual life pattern, twice a week – eating or reading something out of the ordinary for them.

Can you guess what the biggest change was for this group of subjects?

After four months it was discovered the subjects had lost an average of eleven pounds. After six months, most of them kept the weight off and some continued to lose weight. The focus of the study was not diet. The focus of the study was change and its impact.

It was determined that requiring people to break their routine causes them to think about decisions instead of choosing their habitual mode without thought. The process of actively making decisions, exercised the idea of choice and people began to extend the idea of choosing to their consumption of foods. As the subject became more and more active in making choices, they could decide what was in their best interest.

The pattern each of us uses to get through each day is the result of self-created programming and conditioning that we have created in adulthood. Think about it! If you are the programmer, then you can rewrite your program.

What can you change about your life? What rut will you climb out of? It could be something as simple as deciding that today I will be positive in all things, there will be nothing negative about me.

Think about how you can create something different in your life and what that something different will be.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Man in the Mirror – Can One Person Really Make a Difference?

By Lori McMullin, APR
Director of Business Operations & Communications
Center for Business Excellence

- Originally posted September 13, 2010

Hi there. My name is Lori Stone and I am the CBE’s director of business operations and communications. We have a blog team and my assigned day is, of course, the ever-hectic Monday!

However, this Monday marks a milestone for my family. You see, 11 years ago today on a Monday morning, my father left this world.

Ron Stone was a strong man who helped lift up family, friends, employees and strangers alike. His work ethic and sense of duty and responsibility were incredible characteristics. In fact, this U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War truly personified character – another topic I recently blogged about. No pun intended, he was our rock.

As the winds of Hurricane Floyd approached, our Lion King went out like a lamb. He fought a strong battle with cancer until the very end. In that instant, I, somehow, became the new family rock. I did not ask for this responsibility – it just happened. In the years that followed Dad’s passing, I became extremely involved in the community and gained more and more responsibility in the workplace.

Lately, I have to admit I wonder if my efforts to try to make the community a better place are in vain. Do I plug away only to have people think, “What a sucker?” Can anything I do really make a difference? What if my energy “well” begins to run dry?

Then, I remember my father and keep going. If I don’t try, how can I expect anyone else to do it? So, I ask you on this day to join me and take a good look in the mirror. Let’s either renew or embark on a commitment to make the community and the world a better place! Enjoy this link and turn the volume up on your computer or phone for some appropriate, musical inspiration. Semper Fi!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Consider this today...

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Albert Einstein

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ideas on How to Save Money

A friend sent me the link to this article. Thank you, Charlotte.
It’s all about saving money and none of the ideas I read are anything outrageous. Reading it made me stop and think about some of the ways I waste money every day. No matter how much money we have, it never seems to be enough. So in these tough financial times, it’s more important than ever to cut any unnecessary spending.

Give the article a read and maybe offer some suggestions of your own on how to cut spending.

Article on Saving Money

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hello my name is Scott!

OK, my name is not really Scott but I really like his awesome websites. Meet Scott!

Scott Ginsberg, aka, "The Nametag Guy," was recognized by CNN, WSJ, FastCompany and 20/20 as "The Authority on Approachability." As an author, speaker, trainer and coach, he teaches people how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business. To watch Scott in action, tune in to his Online Video Training Network,

Scott also has a great blog!

Or see what Scott has to say!