Unexpected Acts of Kindness

So, just to recap:

  • great passion with no real need = futility
  • great need with no real passion to fulfill it = frustration
  • great passion against a massive need = nirvana

Many of us equate great passion with needing money.

Others of us see great needs as beyond our means to serve.

But we see needs every day, and each one of those needs is probably pretty significant to the one in need.

So imagine a world where our passion was nothing more than providing unexpected acts of kindness for those in need.

If only a fraction of the world focused on this – responding in some way to a need with an unexpected act of kindness – my guess is that your neighborhood, your community, your team at work, your traveling companions, and all the strangers you meet as you journey through this life would be positively and significantly impacted.

And as a fraction of those that you helped in turn paid it forward to help others, the rapidly expanding effect of those unexpected acts of kindness would dramatically change the tone and intent of our actions.

Who knows, maybe at some point after some dramatic effect, even warring political parties could find a way to sit down with the intent of offering unexpected acts of kindness and end the insanity that exists in the debate today.


I think so.

I’m naive that way.

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Dreaming vs. Doing (Again)

Dreaming is easy when you have lots to dream about and lots to draw from to facilitate the dreams.

Doing is easy when you have lots to work with and a pretty clear picture of what you are doing and where you are going from the dreaming.

Nirvana occurs when visionary dreaming transitions to passionate doing.

Can dreamers be trusted as doers, and can doers actually dream?

Of course!

In fact, we’re all dreamers and doers!

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Information Overload

We live in an information flowing world.

We are bombarded with updates, breaking news, monitoring alerts, and spam.

In the midst of all that, we also get a significant number of very significant information items that pertain to the very thing we’re thinking about or working on.

Many of us may react very negatively then to the overload of information that pours into our collection systems (emails, texts, tweets, etc).

Not me.

I glance at and move on from those things I have no interest in.  I ignore those things that from title or author have zero applicability to anything I care about or need for my job or life. 

But I don’t want others to decide for me what is important or relevant.

I want to do that myself.

When I decide for others what they need to see, hear, or experience, I’m denying them their information-age right of deciding for themselves what they want to pay attention to or ignore.

I hate to do that to them.

I hate it even more when they do that to me.

Let the information flow.

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Purpose and Plan

When a transcendent purpose matches with an awkward plan, embarrassment happens.

When an awkward purpose matches with a perfect plan, emptiness occurs.

When a transcendent purpose matches with a perfect plan, ecstasy abounds.

May we each find that transcendent purpose that matches with a perfect plan!


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Passion and Purpose

Passion without purpose creates meaninglessness.

Purpose without passion creates mundaneness.

Passion with purpose provides meaningfulness.

May each of you have passion with purpose!

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Passion and Hunger

When a great hunger is met with no passionate response, desperation exists.

When incredible passion is targeted at no hunger, futility exists.

But, when incredible passion is targeted at great hunger, the world becomes a better place.

May each of us find a great hunger to target our incredible passion!

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How can anything other than “WOW!” be said about the US team’s performance yesterday in the World Cup?

Over the years, there have been many memorable moments for me in sports:

  • John Elway’s pirouette as he was tackled while getting a key first down; Broncos went on to win that Super Bowl in 1998
  • Tiger Woods playing on a bum leg and winning in an 18 hole playoff during the US Open in 2008
  • Kirk Gibson’s coming in injured as a pinch hitter and hitting a home run in the 1988 World Series
  • Doug Flutie throwing the hail Mary to give his Boston College team a win over Miami in 1984
  • Joe Sakic handing the Stanley Cup to Ray Bourque in 2001 after a thrilling game 7 victory

All of these were awesome and etched in my mind.

But yesterday’s feed from Rapinoe into Wambach, tying the game and forcing the penalty kicks to determine the winner, may be the best of all time in my lifetime.

What incredible resilience.

What a powerful statement about overcoming adversity and staying confident in winning.


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Dictionary.com defines a twinge as “a sudden, sharp pain”.

I bet there’s been a lot of twinges in business these past few years.

Changing markets.

Bankrupt customers.

Financial collapse.

All create twinges.

And there’s been lots of them lately.

I grew up believing that twinges weren’t solely from pain, but also from excitement.

And I must admit, I have some twinges now.

Not from pain or collapse or concern.

But truly from excitement.

Don’t know why.

Something’s happening.

Bring it on!

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In the toughest times for a business, the headwinds are extreme.  The headwinds slow down an organization – the thought processes, the decision cycles, the time to execute even the no brainers.

In those times when the headwinds are the highest, some businesses seek a low, wind-resistant profile, hunkering down and marching methodically forward.  Their goal is to minimize risk and protect a greatly reduced yet still forward momentum. 

A very few elite businesses, though, gun the engines, leverage the power to overcome the wind created drag, and accelerate through the storm to get to the desired destination on time and within budget.

For those of you who know me, it won’t surprise you that I prefer to power up and accelerate into the storm.  It just seems natural.

In fact, I struggle with the guy that walks in and starts the conversation with, “it’s going to take longer now because of _____________”.  You fill in the blank. 

That’s his way of saying, “the headwinds are going to make the time to deliver against the previously made commitment impossible”.

On the contrary, I love the guy that walks in and says, “Man, it’s a lot harder now, but I’ve cranked into a higher gear and we’ll get this done”.

It’s a clear choice, and the hunkerers aren’t getting it done, though they certainly seem to be in the majority.

Long live the turbo driven team members who refuse to cower to the headwinds (regardless of velocity) and instead amp up the performance and power through the momentum killing resistance.

Or, to grossly tweak the renowned quote from David Farragut, “Damn the headwinds, get it done”!

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Stashes and Triggers

As I was walking through a village in Alaska north of the Arctic Circle, I smiled when I saw this:

In these villages, nothing is discarded, but instead, things are stashed away just in case they may be needed at some future point either for what they were originally designed and built for or as parts for other things.

In our individual lives we do that as well, not just with goods and materials, but also with things we’ve learned from the past and experiences we’ve gained throughout our lives.  Stuff is stashed away – a particular action we took that yielded a desired result; a special gift we gave that provided very special meaning to the one who received it; a slight we felt when someone we loved or respected gave us negative feedback; some words of wisdom we were given by a respected elder or loving family member.

Everything that is stashed away could be used in the future, but much of that stash is pretty much forgotten until and unless a trigger occurs that creates the navigational clarity to where that particular thing is stored.  Those triggers occur in many different ways – a question that yanks what’s stashed out of the abyss of our minds; a stimulus that forces us to think back to a lesson learned or something valued; a crisis that forces us to dig deep, remember things that helped us before, and ultimately leverage experiences from the past to prevent a repeat of those adverse experiences in the future.

Ultimately, all that is stashed is recoverable, but much of what’s stashed is not.

Our goal should be to leverage as much of the stash as possible, and clear out all that can’t be leveraged.

Then we can stash more for later.

Because the stash is ultimately finite.

And so are the triggers.

So stash away.

Then clear the stash.

And focus on the triggers!

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