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Monthly Archives: December 2009

Winters Don’s Last Forever

I was sitting here in sub zero Colorado, thawing my feet and watching my computer flip through pictures in sleep mode, when this picture of me golfing last summer with my grandchildren popped up.  This is the time of year when blowing ice chunks out my nose is just not the novelty it was a couple of months ago.  I haven’t been warm for a month!  I haven’t seen my lawn for a month either and, well, I’m thinking about taking a long winters nap and dreaming up some warm days and hope to wake up to 80 degrees and sunny!

golfing-with-hunter1

Truth is, I don’t golf all that much.  It takes too long and my back doesn’t cooperate much these days… so nine holes every couple of weeks during summer months is about my limit.  Still, when I looked at the picture, some magic filled my soul.

 As I looked at the picture of warm sunny weather and green grass, it wasn’t just the warmth so much as the experience that appealed to me.  When I put my grandkids in the cart to golf, my game really improves.  They appreciate how far I hit the ball- 150 yard drives are monstrous to a five year old!  As they run down the fairway in plastic clogs, taking swings at the ball that leave giant divots in the green, and “drive” the cart, the game of golf just doesn’t get much better. The stuffy shirts at the club who look over from yonder fairway with a haughty sneer can eat my golf balls- this is what life is all about.  Leaving the world behind for a couple of hours and allowing the youth within us to spring forth really does refresh the senses.

golfing-with-gabriela

In all honesty, I’ve had some of my greatest “revelations” about business and life on the golf course.  As little as I golf, and as poorly as I golf, that might not be saying much to those reading; but when we can take two hours out of our busy lives and see life for what it really is, well, that’s a slice of heaven.

 So when our souls are shivering and our hearts are yearning for the warmth of sunny days and family, take a few minutes to remember that the warmth of such memories is just around the corner and that just “remembering” is half the battle.  Winters don’t last forever!

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Posted by on December 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Psychological Duality and Unwavering Faith – A Tribute to Our Farmers

”Psychological duality” is what Jim Collins calls it in his book Good To Great.  Being able to accept the brutal facts of reality (the current situation we are in) and at the same time maintaining an unwavering faith in the end game with a commitment to prevail.  They call this the Stockdale Paradox after Admiral Jim Stockton, who was the highest ranking military officer in a Vietnam prison camp.  The story says ‘he shouldered the burden of command, striving to preserve the lives of his comrades.’  With no definite release date, and no idea if they would live or die, they continued on in unwavering faith.  I refer you to the great book Good to Great, by Jim Collins, for the detailed story.

 In these uncertain times, companies and individuals must look with an eye to the great possibilities before them, regardless of the brutal facts we live within.  I recently had a living example of this “Psychological duality, facing the brutal facts, but yet continuing on with unwavering faith.”

Farm Scene Holiday Harvest If you have faithfully read my blog, you know my family is still involved in farming (with another good friend and family).  This year one of our corn crops matured nicely, with only a slight portion of the hail damage that summer brought, and was ready to harvest by mid October.  Just as the harvest was about to commence, we received very early and wet snow storms.  This cycle of having a crop ready to harvest , and then having to wait until the moisture content was reduced enough to harvest again (snow storms raised the moisture content), and then to have another snow storm come in to repeat the cycle, happened again and again until this week.  We were in danger of losing the entire crop.  I realized that the Farmer practices this principle perhaps more than any other businessman or businesswoman.  We have economic cycles, personnel challenges, competition, ever changing market conditions and similar realities that need to be faced head on, while demonstrating unwavering faith in the eventual outcome.  This cycle may repeat itself every few years for most businesses.  The farmer faces this process every week.  From the need of rain in the spring, to the threat of hail in the summer, the challenge of adequate water, the hope of a delayed winter and freeze, not to mention the financial challenges of credit; after all of this sometimes a crop is harvested at full value and their unwavering faith has been rewarded.

 I’m grateful for the great example of this Good To Great principle farming has taught me.  As we practice this wonderful principle of facing and living in the reality of the brutal facts, while at the same time implementing unwavering faith in an eventual positive outcome- Psychological duality and the Stockdale Paradox, let us give thanks to the Farmers in our communities that live and practice these principles on almost a daily basis.  I’m also grateful to exceptional teachers like Jim Collins for clarifying some of these great concepts.

 Happy Holidays everyone- may your faith be unwavering and your harvest full!

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2009 in Uncategorized