• No products in the cart.
View Cart
Subtotal: $0.00

Thanking Who

Today many of us will sit around a food-filled table with a few friends or family.  Some of us will stop before the meal and acknowledge people and other things we are thankful for in our life.  We also can be grateful to Who made us and continues to faithfully bless those who honor Him in their Leadership and Life.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations

Psalm 100 NIV

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2     Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and not we ourselves [a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    His faithfulness continues through all generations.

Have a joyful day!  

Leadership and Life JournalA new way to look at the important things you already know. Subscribe to Leadership & Life Journal.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Lost and Found

He swooped into Dodge City driving a six-horse wagon and totin’ a full pocket of cash. His aim, and only aim,  was to win Miss Kitty’s heart. He worked all days and nights with all his might and with all his money, but to no avail. The more he pushed, the more she pulled away. Her heart was and always would be in the Long Branch Saloon and with her man, Marshall Matt Dillon.

Finally, fully exhausted and broke, this once-rich man leaves town walking alongside an old donkey with a half-empty knapsack thrown over his sagging shoulder.

This episode of Gunsmoke ended showing Matt, Doc and Kitty all leaning against a hitching post.  Together they watch the man saunter into the sunset. Matt said, “He looks awfully lonely.” Kitty looked up, fluttered her dark lashes and replied, “There is nothing as lonely as a man who’s lost his dream.” 

The year 2020 has been a time of loneliness and lost dreams for far too many people. Recent national surveys report that over 50% of employees say they are burned out. Now, I could list signs of burnout you can look for in people , but if you care enough to pay attention, you will notice that tired and alone look in a person’s  eyes, even on Zoom. I believe that some of this personal exhaustion is self-imposed, but some of it is not.

These days some organizations and senior leaders try to improve productivity by demanding more — pushing people to do more with less — more hours, more projects, more email, and more output. This is truer now than ever, given the global pandemic and economic fallout since. But always focusing on “more” may be a mistake as it can lead to overwork and burnout. As you know, after a certain point, additional hours spent working don’t necessarily translate into additional productivity.

The reason behind the diminishing productivity can be explained by what social scientists call the effort-recovery model. This model emphasizes that recovery is essential after a period of extended effort to prevent burnout. Insufficient recovery can result in diminished performance. Rest provides the fuel necessary for hard work and can help prevent  burnout.

Journal Entry: What do you notice in the eyes of the people you work with and live with every day? Lost Dreams? Loneliness? I hope you don’t see either of these, but if you do and you would like to help this person, consider this: First ask these three questions below to yourself. After you do this, ask the same questions to that person who may be struggling.

  1. What goals did you hope to reach in 2020?
  2. How those have worked out or not worked out?  
  3. What have you learned about what you need to do more or less this year and next?

After you mention these questions, just listen to what he or he has to share without offering any advice. Let them decide what they have lost and found in their leadership or life.

Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”
― Fred Rogers

CLICK HERE to read “How to Foster Resilience & Prevent Burnout”.

Leadership and Life JournalA new way to look at the important things you already know. Subscribe to Leadership & Life Journal.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

This or That?

This or that?  

“It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in this world. The great man or woman is the one who never steps outside his or her specialty or foolishly dissipates his or her individuality.” ― Og Mandino, author 

For the first few years their stage name was The Four Aims. That changed in 1956 when they became The Four Tops, a dancing group that sang. Over those beginning years, they waffled from singing to dancing but, even then, were leaning toward dance. They focused on choreographing their rhythm and swag stage presence and were very proud of it. In 1959, while performing as the warm-up act for a big headliner in a famous night club, they were still dancing and singing. This night club audience responded with loud applause at the close of each song and wanted more. The owner of the club was pleased. But when he met with them after the show he said, “You guys are good, but the only way you’re going to be great in this world of entertainment is to decide if you’re going to be either dancers or singers.” They decided to sing.

After over three decades with singing as their one thing, The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the group #79 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

It’s easy to move away from your one thing. Years ago, when I joined a national consulting firm, I spent my first years working with individuals and teams around clarity and planning. I loved my work. I was soon promoted, however, and paid quite a bit more money, to become a major client’s main contact while managing a group of consultants who were working with individuals and teams around clarity and planning.

I didn’t love my work anymore. I was told I was good at managing and marketing, but the work wasn’t in my area of giftedness. I had stepped outside my specialty for ego’s sake. Fortunately, I had a coach at that time. He noticed I had lost my zeal and asked me this question: “What makes you feel most alive? Consulting or managing? This or that?”  

I walked away from the security of a big organization back to my work of guiding teams and individuals in creating inspiring strategies for their leadership in life. I love my work again.

Journal Entry: We have all known: a confident employee who took a promotion way outside their area of competence; a business team that chased after a new profit center in a market they had no business being in; a husband and wife who bowed to the popular notion that a busy family is a happy family; or a financially successful person who believes that more leisure will bring purpose and fulfillment in life without considering that there might be loving God who put a life-giving  purpose inside of each of us. This or That? We will all be faced with make a choice at some point in time. Do you have a person who will pose the “this or that” question to you in your leadership and life?

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

The Bible in the book of Mark 8:36

Take a listen to The Four Tops HERE  

Leadership and Life JournalA new way to look at the important things you already know. Subscribe to Leadership & Life Journal.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Unseen Battles

Unseen Battles

When I was in my mid-50s, I went through several unexpected life and work changes. They didn’t seem significant, but at some vague point afterward, I slowly disconnected from life and disengaged from my friends and my family. I sat alone, with no energy, feeling like I was walking in a fog. I even recall being so despondent that I hoped the phone would not ring because it might be a client, who was going to pay me to help, and I didn’t want to talk.

With my wife’s encouragement, I got some professional help to work through what I came to realize was unresolved grief. My breakthrough came when I was able to see and find meaning in those loss events through wise counsel, prayer and physical exercise. That was over 10 years ago in a “normal” world, as compared to the constant uncertain angst we are all living through today. 

Workplace Struggles    

In the September 2020 “McKinsey & Company Quarterly Report” there is an article about a silent struggle in today’s  workplace. The article begins with this line: The pandemic is fueling a wave of grief and loss that threatens to derail leaders and hurt organizations. Yet when addressed, grief can be a creative force that turns loss into inspiration. It goes on to say that a third of all leaders in organizations are slogging through their lives and work while being extremely unproductive due to unresolved grief in their life. I could summarize this article, but I think it is best if you read it, because it could be the most important article you will read this year.

Just click on the link shown below, but before you do, here are a few words of encouragement.

“Everyone has unseen battles they are fighting. Be kind and speak truth.” From Roll Up Your Sleeves – Leading and Living in a World of Constant Change

“Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your request to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” The Bible in the book of Philippians 4:6-7

CLICK HERE TO READ McKinsey & Company Quarterly Report – Unresolved Grief in the Workplace.

Leadership and Life JournalA new way to look at the important things you already know. Subscribe to Leadership & Life Journal.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Performance or Purpose

Performance or Purpose

About a month ago, an organization in the utility industry experienced the accidental death of an employee, a young husband with two children. Attending the funeral of a team member amid the stress of the pandemic was about all the people in this organization could take. To make matters worse, a hurricane hit in the Gulf of Mexico. It did not hit them, but as a good neighbor of the company impacted by the storm, this organization was expected to and had always rallied their resources to assist in this type of emergency. But this time, the CEO said no, it was just too much. He felt the stress they were experiencing could distract workers even more, and another accident could quickly occur. He announced this to his team as they stood silent.

The next day, however, a member of the team came to see the CEO. He said he understood and appreciated his concern. Then he said, “But we need to do this. This is who we are. Please let us go.” The CEO thought for a while and then said OK.

The organization pulled together and rallied to see them off. The emergency rescue effort was a success. The workers all made it safely home. The CEO’s intentional step of refocusing on their purpose helped the organization begin to heal its wounds as each employee regained her or his purpose by doing their best work. Productivity is now at its highest peak in years, as together, they all are on purpose, serving others with their skills and talents. I call this Purpose Management.  

Go for purpose, and you get performance thrown in. Go for performance, and you get neither.

Performance Management System Paradox

Why would an organization continue to use a system that employees loathe, the majority of managers don’t see value in, and on average a manager spends about 210 hours—close to five weeks—doing each year? Add to that, this system seldom, if ever, has the intended result of forcing poor performers to become more accountable.


The answer involves control, fear, and avoidance. Many managers think that their job is to control people and make results happen rather than inspire people to want to make results happen. There is a fear of confronting a poor performer and speaking the truth to her or him or hurting someone’s feelings. So, we rate a person on a numerical scale, which typically helps avoid a time-consuming awkward conversation, and doing it annually lessens the frequency of this discomfort. Because once an employee sees their force-ranked number or grade, the exchange becomes either too optimistic, somewhat threatening, or mid-range apathetic.  

Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Surprisingly, leaders in organizations keep doing force ranked Performance Management over and over again, in different variations or flavors, with the same disappointing outcome. Is there a better way?

“The ox you are searching for might be the one on which you are sitting.” Ancient proverb  

Pandemic Silver Lining

Over the past six months, most organizations have not held formal performance reviews, but in many places, teamwork, collaboration, and quality performance have reached the highest levels in years. The Mckinsey and Company Short List Report of September 2020 stated, “One silver lining of the COVID-19 crisis has been to show businesses how to manage better and achieve greater speed, quality, and cost control. A wartime mindset—defined by decisive crisis management, scenario planning, and a human reflex attuned to the economic and health shocks affecting employees—has been the hallmark of leaders in the crisis so far. Now, as the world feels its way toward recovery and the new opportunities of the next normal, another risk looms. It is that inertia will set in, along with a longing for a return to the performance management based operating style of the days before COVID-19.”

Not all leaders in organizations experienced notable increases in productivity. Still, it is clear that the leaders of the organizations who have excelled had one thing in common; they are consistently reminding employees of the purpose of their organization and are trusting employees to manage themselves. Either by design or default, they empower people to act independently without the business-as-usual management controls and get their job done. This was driven by each team member’s values and purpose that aligned with their organization’s vision, not by a micromanaging boss or a bad or good performance appraisal. The secret sauce was a steady and straightforward recipe of coaching, caring, and reminding people that we need each other to get through this. Could this discovery open up a conversation about the idea that Purpose Management may produce better outcomes than Performance Management?

Purpose Management System Proposition

Why would an organization not build a system that employees will enjoy? One where managers have seen the value in and can spend one hour or so every two weeks intentionally and systematically reminding people of shared goals, then helping them see and apply their gifts and talents or redesign how they do the work they do so they can capitalize on innate abilities, instead of the manager spending five weeks of working on a report that drains the life out of all involved? 


Because it is hard to do, and most people have never experienced intentional Purpose Management. It’s easier to shell out a mound of money to buy a benchmarked, peer-approved, complex Performance Management System. Seeing is believing, and most managers have never seen one. They read about this idea in the leadership book of the month but never observed this approach modeled by their manager or experienced a purpose-driven environment, or are equipped to facilitate Purpose Management conversation with their team members.

Journal Entry: Do you want to avoid the impulse to abandon the progress you’ve seen in your organization and team during the last six months ? If you’d like to hold on to your learning, here are 3 steps to consider:

 1) Assess: Have your team discuss and note what worked well and what did not so work well over the past few months. Then decide on your top 3 takeaways.

 2) Align: Based on your assessment in #1, identify what needs to stop, start or continue in your culture.

 3) Assign: Decide if you will focus on Performance Management or Purpose Management. Then choose a champion to set up a system to experiment with your decision for a certain timeframe and evaluate. 

If you desire a different outcome, try a different approach to get what you want in leadership and life.    

On point > On purpose


Leadership and Life Journal: A new way to look at the important things you already know. Subscribe to Leadership & Life Journal.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

A Question and A Prayer

Unlike most calls I get these days from executives, this guy’s team was not struggling; as a matter of fact, his division had led the company in production and profits for many years. Everything was still on track even in this current world of uncertainty. When I asked him how he had accomplished this, without the slightest hesitation or posturing, he gave a little credit to “the luck of the draw” on his part, but the lion’s share of the success he attributed to the great work of the people on his team.

I asked him what was on his mind. In a few bullet points, he had clarified his vision for the future of the team and the organization – no questions about it. But the next words out of his mouth made it clear that he was also very much at home with the need for asking important questions. “Over the last few months,” he said, “I have been asking myself, what is it about me that is keeping this team from moving to the next level?”

While many executives these days are looking outside themselves asking what is wrong with the organization or their team from a place of pride, this guy was looking inside for a better answer grounded in humility.

What is it about me? This may be the best question of all questions. Put forward, in different words from different angles, by philosophers, poets, and prophets, found in prayers, speeches, and books since civilization began, it is perhaps the one crucial question necessary for growth and  advancement of an organization and society.

In many ancient tribal cultures, the warriors (the leaders of the tribe) are said to have strived to walk as if every step were a prayer. I have yet to learn what those prayers might have actually been or if this only figuratively represented a posture of humility and gratitude. But I believe if there were such a prayer, “a walking prayer,” and that there was a warrior who did indeed pray this prayer on his road to leadership, it might have gone something like the following—a  modern reworking of the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it is me.

Journal Entry: What is your first question and what is your prayer when things get way off track in your leadership in life?

3 Questions Good Leaders Ask Themselves:   

  1. “When people walk away from me, is their potential activated or constrained?
  2. “Who will replace me, and is he or she ready?”
  3. “Do I spend enough time with my team?”

These questions were adapted from an article in The Muse by Jo Miller. Read more from Jo at www.beleaderly.com.

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” – Corrie ten Boom

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  The Bible, 2 Chronicles 7:14

The Work Will Teach You

The Work Will Teach You

Last year I met with a young man in his mid ’30s who want to be a business consultant similar to what I do. I was happy to help him and asked him what he’d been doing to become a consultant. He said that he has been working on his business financial plan, as well as a business name and card. He had completed several courses to be certified to do the work.  He was now focused on a website, brochure,  and wanted me to help him with proposal writing because if he had all this done,  he felt he might be ready to go. So I  ask “ so besides proposal writing ideas, what questions to do you have for me? He said,” How do I learn how to consult?” I said, “ Find one client and start working with them, and the work will teach you.” He seemed disappointed with my answer. I added , “Let me know when you get a client, and I’ll be happy to help you make your work successful .” I have not heard back from him.   

In my consulting work these days, I talk with too many top-level managers who are mentally pacing the aisles and counting the days, hoping for the answer on how to make it through this stress filled time. “ When things get back to normal or something close to it –  then we’ll do something,” they say.  They are clinging to a vision of a safe station where  “ the pressure is off, and we can think again” and hoping that somebody, smarter or more certified than they are,  will give them the answer they need.

On the other hand,  there have been some leaders and their teams who have decided that this shelter-in-place environment is their norm, and it most probably will be the norm for a good long while. But they didn’t just accept this reality; they took this reality as a challenge. A challenge that they believe they are called to figure it out. They have decided  to  just jump in, have fun, and let the work of trying something new teach them their answers.  A few examples are of things theses types of teams have experimented with are:

  • Holding highly interactive team events online with everyone setting in a room together 6 feet apart
  • Bringing in socially distanced ice cream truck each week in their parking lot
  • Walking around as a masked team and applauding employees being essential
  • Asking everyone to master a new skill by year-end and share their goal with a co-worker and
  • One group asked everyone in the organization to read this poem:   

The Station, by Robert Hastings – a reminder that the joy of life is the journey and not the destination.

Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long, long trip that almost spans the continent. We’re traveling by passenger train, and out the windows, we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hills, of biting winter and blazing summer and cavorting spring and docile fall.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. There will be bands playing and flags waving. And once we get there, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So many wishes will be fulfilled, and so many pieces of our lives will finally be neatly fitted together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering … waiting, waiting, waiting, for the station.

However, sooner or later, we must realize there is no one station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.

“When we reach the station that will be it!” we cry. Translated, it means, “When I’m 18, that will be it! When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz, that will be it! When I put the last kid through college, that will be it! When I have paid off the mortgage, that will be it! When I win a promotion, that will be it! When I reach the age of retirement, that will be it!( When Covid 19 is cured)  I shall live happily ever after!”

Unfortunately, once we get it, then it disappears. The station somehow hides itself at the end of an endless track.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. Rather, it is regret over yesterday or fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot oftener, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.

Journal Entry: What decision do you need to make about how you look at this current situation?  What will you do to make the most of this one station journey in your leadership and life?


Young Again


Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips, and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity,  of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.  This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty.  Nobody grows old merely by a number of years; we grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.  Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.

Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage, and power from men and from the Infinite, so long are you young.

When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.

Author: Samuel Ullman, Educator, Entrepreneur, and Civic Leader.  Birmingham, Alabama (1840-1924)

Two years ago, we had a bad drought in our area. One seemingly healthy tree in our backyard appeared to be dying. We called an arborist to look at it. He did and said it was dead. Immediately we feared that the trees nearby might catch the same thing and die as well.  He said, “ you have nothing to worry about because a virus or disease will not usually kill a healthy tree. These things are floating in the air all the time, and the only reason your tree got sick and died, was because it was under a lot of stress from the drought. So, it wasn’t an outside virus that took the tree. It was the atmosphere that produced stress inside the tree that made it weak and vulnerable to the disease.

“ Class of 2020 -We will Survive” was the banner on the tee shirt worn by a high school senior I walk past last week. “ We just have to get through this” is the language I hear almost every day when working with business teams and leaders.   There is an atmosphere of a drought that is being perpetuated in our world, doing it best night and day to keep people living in emotional and spiritual stress. Still, thankfully each of us can choose to participate or not.

Journal Entry: If you’re tired of living in like this and you want to do more than survive then, here are two things to try:  First – don’t walk away from negative people – RUN! Second- keep running, then start j playing, being silly, and laughing like you did when you were young. Remember your ideals, put your aerials back up, and try riding the wave of Youth in your leadership and life.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will. – The Bible, New Testament the book of Romans 12:2

The top 10 funniest jokes of all time according to kids:

  1. Why was the sand wet? Because the sea weed! (52%)
  2. What do you call a blind dinosaur? Doyouthinkhesaurus (45%)
  3. What did the policeman say to his tummy? Freeze you’re under a vest (44%)
  4. Doctor, Doctor! Help, I feel like a pair of curtains! Pull yourself together then (42%)
  5. What’s the fastest vegetable? A runner bean! (41%)
  6. What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite! (40%)
  7. What’s brown and sticky? A stick! (39%)
  8. What do you call a blind deer? No eye deer (38%)
  9. Why should you be careful when it’s raining cats and dogs? You might step in a poodle! (38%)
  10. Do you want to hear a joke about pizza? Never mind, it’s too cheesy (37%)

Feeling Overwhelmed – The Eisenhower Matrix

Discouragement often manifests itself as personal disorganization – which is rooted in a temporary inability to prioritize.

Last week, I was on a consulting call with a group of managers who were, not surprisingly, feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, as were many of their direct reports. We began discussing how to move yourself and others forward through these times of growing uncertainty.  Our question for the session became “How can we influence others to be more positive and productive when all of us feel stuck in – what is going to change next?”.

I introduced the concept, “your feeling will follow your actions.” That is, doing something will change the way you feel faster than waiting until you feel like doing something. Then we discussed a leadership concept from my new book, Helping another person get through their struggles is the best way to get through yours 1″ Then they began to come up with some ideas to support and encourage their dispirited teammates.

Here are a few of their ideas:

  1. Remember everyone is on an emotional roller coaster
  2. Listen, don’t try to fix – just do your best to understand
  3. Don’t judge how a person acts or reacts now
  4. Have a plan and share it often*
  5. Help people prioritize work tasks *

They realize that the first three ideas are a mindset they needed to hold on to and model every day,  but numbers four and five were actions they could take that could help someone and, in turn, maybe motivate them to be more positive as well. They realized that sharing a plan more often and prioritizing tasks went hand in glove. But how to prioritize and to help others do the same was the challenging part. They asked about a tool. Thankfully there is one invented by someone much smarter than me.

The inventor of the Tool 

The Eisenhower Matrix is named after Dwight David Eisenhower – an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he was a five-star general in the United States Army and served as Supreme Commander, who prepared the strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe.

Eisenhower made tough decisions continuously about which of the many tasks he should focus on each day. This finally led him to invent the world-famous Eisenhower Method, which today helps us prioritize by urgency and importance.

The management group had seen and used this matrix before but never realized the Eisenhower connection.  They like most of us when we get stressed, tend to forget the simple things that could make our life easier. Some of them are trying this Tool now. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Journal Entry: Is this a good time for you to apply this matrix, with its principles of prioritizing, delegating, and scheduling, to help yourself and others get out of a funk and start becoming more productive and positive in leadership and life?

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning

1 Seasons come and go. Life is a series of transitions in which you decide to either loathe the change or learn to love yourself more and serve others willingly. Helping another person get through their struggles is the best way to get through yours. Observation # 8-  Roll Up your Sleeves – Leading and Living in a World of Constant Change by Michael Alan Tate 2020  

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”. Book of Proverbs 3:5-6 – The Bible

Bad Joke for the day:

What’s a horse’s top priority when voting? A stable economy.

Leadership and Life Journal  – A new way to look at the important things you already know”

Catastrophizing or Looking the Other Way

In the United States, people spend an average of 444 minutes every day looking at screens, or 7.4 hours. That breaks down to 147 minutes spent watching TV, 103 minutes in front of a computer, 151 minutes on smartphones, and 43 minutes with a tablet.


Over 20 years ago, Graham C. L. Davey, Ph.D.*, knowing that the proportion of negatively-valenced emotional material in the news was increasing, conducted a study looking at the psychological effects of viewing negative news media. There were three groups: One saw all negative news reports, one viewed only positive news, and one saw no news. The most impressive insight gained from this study was the
revelation of the effect that watching negative news stories had on peoples’ personal
concerns or worries. He said,” We asked each participant to tell us what
their main concern was at the time, and we then asked them to think about this
worry during a structured interview. We found that those people who had watched
the negative news spent more time thinking and talking about their worry and
were more likely to catastrophize their worry than people in the other two

Catastrophizing is when you think about a worry so persistently that you begin to make it seem much worse than it was at the outset and much worse than it is in reality—a tendency to make mountains out of molehills!

Henry’s Awful Mistake**

One of the many pleasures in my role as a grandfather is to read to my young grandchildren. Each child always has a favorite book and wants me and others, adults, to read it over and over.

Now, I’m not quite sure whether this repetition happens because the child likes the story so much or because there is a message which they, in their innocence, know that we adults need to remember.

The favorite story of one of my grandchildren was Henry’s Awful Mistake by Robert M. Quakenbush. It is a comical story about a duck named, you guessed it, Henry. Henry is preparing a meal for his friend. The doorbell rings. As Henry goes to greet his guest, he sees an ant on the wall. He swats at the ant and misses it, and it takes off across the room, with Henry close behind. Henry chases the ant around the house, upending all the furniture. The ant finally runs into the pantry. Henry dives after it, throwing all the food containers out.

At long last, Henry spots the ant. He grabs an iron skillet, swings to squash the ant, and misses. The skillet goes through the wall and breaks a water pipe. The house fills up with water and is washed away, along with Henry, the ant, and his guest.

The last few pages of the book show Henry a year later with a new house and a hot meal on the table. The doorbell rings, and as Henry goes to welcome his friend, he sees an ant. The last line? “… and Henry looked the other way.”

Journal Entry: What if you decided to invest 50% or even  25% percent of those 7.4 hours looking the other way? You might have time to read a story, listen to someone to tell you their story, even climb a real mountain, or stroll around a molehill. Is today a good time to cease catastrophizing? Stop making Henry’s Awful Mistake and intentionally focus on a few things you can do something about in our Leadership and Life.  

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened. Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.“- Mark Twain

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

“A cheerful heart is good medicine,  but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” – Proverbs 17:22


*Graham C. L. Davey, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at the University of Sussex, UK. His research interests extend across mental health problems generally, and anxiety and worry specifically. Professor Davey has published over 140 articles in scientific and professional journals and written or edited 16 books


Scroll to top