Archive for the ‘Motivation’ category

Pollyanna Pundit Predicts Pervasive Pandemonium

July 19, 2016


Early politicians had it SO easy. They literally stood up on a stump and gave a rousing speech to a couple hundred people, and reporters without a strong bias one way or the other reassembled it the best they could for actual “news” papers. It would take a few months for the story to reach the rest of the country and there was no critical blowback because readers did not have their own printing presses.

Instead, citizens discussed the issues facing their city, state and country in bars, places of worship and actual, not electronic, town halls. The trolls yelling insults from the back of the room were few and inconsequential. I’m sure they had spirited debate but didn’t shoot people over them, and the mainstreamers likely listened to others’ opinions before deciding how to vote.

Eloquent, positive and inspirational words travelled farther and faster than mudslinging, perhaps because people were looking for vision and strength in potential leaders… and could see past the rhetoric and dirty tricks. I don’t know it as a fact, but I imagine people even switched parties occasionally depending on the strength of the candidates and the most pressing issues of the time.

And now we’re doing this.


A simple gesture

June 17, 2016


Dads live with doubt. Even when you see your kids out of the nest and pursuing their dreams on their own, you wonder if you did your best as a parent. Those days my two kids were born were the most thrilling days of my life, and I am so thankful I had 18 years to watch each of them grow into adulthood.

As Father’s day rolls around each year, I am grateful that my dad and step-dad are both still alive and kicking. And I reflect on my own role as a proud father. I made plenty of mistakes in my life and I didn’t always get my priorities straight. Live and learn, they say. But I worked hard and played hard with my kids, and continue to love them and hope for the best for them. Honestly, Father’s Day is an emotional day for me.

So this morning, as I was paying my bill at Perko’s after an awesome Toastmasters meeting, Don the manager said he was paying for my breakfast as a gift for Father’s Day. I tried to refuse, but he said “No, I really appreciate you and the club coming here. And I know you’re a dad because I hear you bragging about your kids all the time.”

For a rather talkative guy, I stood there speechless. I don’t know exactly what it was about that particular moment, but Don’s simple gesture meant the world to me. My eyes got misty. I wished him a Happy Father’s Day and walked slowly to my car with a big smile on my face.

Simple gestures do not cost much… in this case, only 8.99 plus tax. But the value was immeasurable to me. When the feeling hits you to extend a simple gesture of kindness to someone else, go for it.

That ripple may become a tidal wave of goodwill.

Got your back

April 24, 2016


I have watched many gunfights in movies. I have played Halo with my son and his teenage friends. But nothing prepared me for what it would really feel like in a war zone. It was my first time playing paintball and I was asking a lot of questions.

“How many shots do I have in this gun?” I asked the girl at the counter. She replied with a routine and politically correct response, “It’s not a gun, it’s a marker.”

I smiled in disbelief. “What? We’re going to be throwing Sharpies at each other?”

She was not amused. She handed me my oversized goggles and a yellow bandana to tie around my neck. She said, “You’re a first timer aren’t you?”

“Yeah but I shot BB guns a lot when I was kid. I’ll be alright.” She stifled a laugh and moved on to the next player. I walked away singing “I’m a paint ball wizard, there has to be a twist. Paint ball wizard. Just. Will. Not. Get. Hit.”

As soon as the air horn sounded our team was on the move, up the hill through the rocky and tree-covered terrain. I was no dummy. I ran toward the tallest and widest boulder I could find and flattened my back against it. I learned this move watching movies. I got this.

I could hear every short breath inside my mask as I peeked around the massive rock. That’s when I saw the jawbreaker-sized yellow projectile hurling at high speed right at my face. I closed my eyes as I heard the smack of the impact… fortunately on the edge of the rock, not my face. Yellow paint sprayed into the air as I snapped back to my hiding place. 5 minutes ago I was singing and laughing. Now I was 100% focused.

It’s just like when life throws several challenges at you all at once. You get laser-focused on what you need to do to survive.

The soldiers on the other team had my full attention, and I peeked out again from the rock to scan the field of battle for threats. My pulse raced from the adrenaline surge, and then I got this very unsettling feeling. I was scanning 180 degrees of my field of vision to the front, but what if they were sneaking up behind me?

I quickly looked over my shoulder, and there with his back against the same rock was Philip, a veteran player who was covering the other 180 degrees behind me. He literally had my back. And just like that… I relaxed and returned my focus to what lied beyond the rocks in front.

An hour later I walked away from that field of battle with a few bruised ribs and a lot of leftover paint pellets. But more importantly, I had a new sense of appreciation for real soldiers on real battlefields, and a renewed sense of what it means to have someone watching your back. Someone who cares enough to cover you no matter what.

Whether it’s a weekend paint ball game, a challenge at work or a relationship struggle, I am so grateful for the inner circle of good friends who look out for me. And any time they are under fire, they can count on me to defend them without question as well.

Who’s got your back?

Promises, promises

December 7, 2015

2016bWho wants to join me in getting a one month jump on the new year by posting your goals now? This approach helps me focus, and making it public holds me accountable. I also publicly celebrate wins and rededicate my efforts to complete goals I fell short on.

In no particular order, here are my top personal goals for 2016:

  • Help my brother Jeff achieve his goal of raising $20,000 for MMRF as he and wife Ramona climb Mount Kilimanjaro on January 24. You can be part of helping him complete this dream by giving $25 or more at this link. There will be a short film created on their trek and I will share it first with all donors.
  • Complete the Death Ride. Last year I finished 80 of the 129 miles and 3 of the 5 mountain passes. I did not train enough or start early enough in the morning to finish it all. I can overcome both of these setbacks in 2016, and I’m looking for training buddies for high altitude training trips in May/June.
  • Achieve excellence in my job. This IS a measurable goal… my manager can give me an “Excellent” rating on my annual review. More than that I’m going to broaden the scope of the internal talk show I produce and host; learn how to edit video with Premiere and After Effects; and leave a positive and memorable impression with all the executives, engineers and communications professionals I serve.
  • Return to regular blogging. Short Stories with a Point has continued to be an outlet for stories that matter in my life and I really appreciate the dialogue with those of you who comment. I’m shifting the direction a bit to include “business” stories that will be included in my next book. Please let me know what you think!

Focus brings consistency, and consistency leads to results. Every big goal I have achieved in the last seven years began with a public promise. What will you promise yourself to do in 2016?

Jeff and Ramona’s donation page

Mountain moving

October 25, 2015

Jeff_Ramona_KilimanjaroYou’ve seen mountains moved for mining, railroads and building houses with a view, but when is the last time a mountain moved you? My brother Jeff had a childhood dream to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and see the sweeping herds on the Serengeti plains. Now he’s going to live that dream, but it’s NOT as a thrill seeker. He’s joining a team of 3 other survivors living with multiple myeloma, oncologists and supporters taking on the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 19,341 feet.

On January 18th, 2016, the 15 member team will embark on an 11 day journey to Uhuru Peak in Tanzania, Africa. The team will travel through 5 different ecosystems, face high elevations, low temperatures, and high winds, all in the name of finding a cure! The members of Team Living Proof have each committed to raising $10,000 each to support the life-changing work done by the MMRF, accelerating innovative treatment approaches to extend the lives of patients and find a cure.

You can be part of this adventure too by giving to the cause.

Every dollar helps motivate Jeff and his wife Ramona to conquer this mountain in Africa, as well as the mountain called Multiple Myeloma. As you’ll read in Jeff’s brief story, his cancer has returned. After 5 years of relative remission, he is back on therapeutic doses of chemo, which will make it even harder to get his mind and body ready for this adventure.

The trek will be documented with video interviews, but I already know in my heart what Jeff will say. He will exhibit the same courage and fortitude you have already witnessed in the marathons we have run together. This guy does not quit. The researchers are moving mountains to find a cure, and Jeff moves me… sometimes to tears and sometimes to get my ass in gear to raise money.

Thanks for following our story and helping as much as you can. Just passing along this story online may help bring the specific dollar that finally funds the cure. Wouldn’t that be a moving moment?

Make the most of it

July 9, 2015

DeathRide2I’m a big talker. Here I sit roughly 30 hours before the start of the Death Ride. Endurance events require a slow build of training and it takes a lot of time… time that got shifted to other life priorities over the last 3 months. Here’s a recent conversation with my friend Paul…

Paul: “David, are you ready for the 129 miles and 5 mountain passes?”

Me: “No.”

Paul: “Are you still going to do it?”

Me: “Yes.”

Paul: “That makes no sense.”

Actually, it makes perfect sense. Even if I do not finish, I will fail in a blaze of glorious effort. In other words, I will make the most of the experience.

Several cycling buddies recently reached out with public and private messages of support when I posted my doubts in Facebook. These people are the same ones I cheered on, coached and supported before and now it is coming back to me. They believe in me, so why shouldn’t I believe in me?

One thing I have learned from past events… if you plan to quit early, your mind will make sure your body follows through on that promise.

So I am planning to do all 5 passes this Saturday. I will handle the cold, the heat, the smell from the forest fire, the 15000 feet of climbing and lack of oxygen. I will settle in and slog it out. My mother taught me never to talk to strangers, but I will be doing that as well. The only thing that can stop me is an injury or mechanical failure.

Here we go, Mr. Goad. Let’s make the most of it.

Oh geez did I just say that out loud?

December 31, 2014

2015bWhy should you care about my goals for 2015? You could just scroll on by and dismiss me as another loud-mouthed, middle-aged bucket list chaser. Or you could read between the lines and follow the formula that has worked so well for me for over 6 years now… Make a decision. Make it public. Make it happen.

This is the public part. I post my measurable goals on social media and it does two things for me. 1) I feel accountable because others are watching. 2) I get help and advice from all you natural coaches and good friends who care.

Quick recap:  In 2014 I accomplished 2 of my 3 major goals.

  1. I completed the 140.6 mile Lake Placid Ironman in 15:41 and raised over $6000 for MMRF.
  2. I developed not one but 2 speeches for the annual Toastmasters contest.
  3. My third goal was to write a new book, but I did not.  That’s right, a big failure to start. I also skated up a mountain and few other crazy things that were not on my list, but that’s the way life goes. You roll with the waves and make adjustments. So I’m rolling this goal over to next year.

So here we go for 2015, in no particular order:

  1. Complete my second book. Title and content to be announced.
  2. Complete an Ironman 70.3 in under 6:30. (Last time I finished this same Napa race in 7:30, and my only goal was survival. This time I’m training for faster speed and transitions.)
  3. Complete the Death Ride on July 11. It’s 5 mountains. 129 miles. 15,000 feet of climbing. The goal is survival. Nuff said.
  4. Maintain an excellent rating in my job at Cisco.
  5. Develop two speeches worth hearing for the Toastmasters contest. I just can’t not do this 🙂

I’ve already started training for the athletic goals, and I even think I have the concept for the book already. No time like the present to pursue what you want. Now comes step #3 of my formula. Make it happen.

I appreciate you following my journey and throwing advice at me, whether I ask for it or not. Nothing I have ever achieved was accomplished alone. Have an awesome 2015, my friends!