Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas All Year Long

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
 ~ Charles Dickens (1812-1870), English author. From 'A Christmas Carol'.

I was quite taken by this quote from Charles Dickens. This line from “A Christmas Carol” reminds us of the fact that for most people, the true spirit of kindness and giving is with us for only one day of each year. As much as we might like to honour the spirit of Christmas throughout the year, it is not long after December 25th that we return to our old habits and vices...we return to being normal, flawed human beings.

People of many lands have chosen Christmas as a reason to be kind, generous, and warm to all others. Large scale wars all over the world will have cease-fires during the Christmas holiday. People who seldom speak take the time to write and send greeting cards to each other. Everywhere you go people of all races, creeds, colours and genders can be heard shouting, “Merry Christmas!” to almost anyone they come into contact with. Despite the commercial implications of it, Christmas genuinely brings peace on earth and goodwill to all men and women. Smiles abound and anger is put on hold for two or three glorious days. Everyone seems to want to impose the best part of mankind on everyone else during the few days surrounding December 25th. How sad it is that we cannot carry those good feelings, thoughts, emotions and actions with us 365 days of every year.

If we could just remember the deep seated, emotions that flood our hearts, souls, and minds on Christmas morning; if we could only treat everyone the way we treated our friends and family during Christmas dinner; if we could just feel that way and treat everyone with that much kindness all year long, the world would be a glorious place indeed.
Like Ebenezer Scrooge, try to honour the Christmas spirit all year long. You will be rewarded with the gift of joy and the precious present of a peaceful mind.
Merry Christmas to one and all!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Helen Keller Taught Us that Pessimism Is The Enemy Of Ambition And The Killer Of Dreams!

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
- Helen Keller

                                                                         Helen Keller

Helen Keller lived from 1880 to 1968...an incredible 88 years. Although she was blind and deaf from childhood, she played a big part in changing our world for the better. She was a university graduate, teacher, lecturer, author, humanitarian, and political activist. Her life was littered with fabulous accomplishments and her group of friends included such luminaries as Mark Twain, Alexander Graham Bell, and Charlie Chaplin. She also met every United States President from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon B. Johnson. She was an amazing person who lived an incredible life despite her disabilities. Most importantly, even with her handicaps she remained optimistic at all times and worked tirelessly to make the world a better place for others. Who among us can compare the difficulties or accomplishments of our lives with those of Helen Keller?

Are you optimistic? If not...why not? We all need to analyze our current situation and our current frame of mind to determine  what direction our innermost thoughts are taking us. It is quite a simple matter to find out if you are optimistic. Ask yourself the following questions: Do I believe in myself? Do I believe that I will be successful in my career? Do I believe that I will reach the goals set by myself and others? Do I believe that every obstacle can be overcome? Do I believe that I am, or can be as good in my chosen career as everyone else I know? Do I believe that with hard work, good things will come to me? If your answer is NO to any of these, you are not very optimistic and you need to adjust your thinking.

Now, ask yourself the following questions: Am I a loser? Am I of lesser value than other people? Have I ever given up on something, only to find out later that someone of equal or lesser skill went ahead on my path and succeeded? Do other people think less of me than of most of my peers? Do I often say to myself or others that I will never learn how to do something or that something cannot possibly be done? Will I be a failure, or at best mediocre, all of my life? If your answer is YES to any of these questions you are extremely pessimistic and you need some serious soul-searching or coaching in order to get back on track. You need to discover the source of your pessimism and then search your psyche for a way to get beyond it.

Pessimism is the enemy of ambition and the killer of dreams. You can only succeed through positive effort and genuine belief in yourself. Optimism will carry you to great heights...but only if you truly believe in yourself and only when you allow success to find you. Never hide from success by putting up a curtain of pessimism around you. Always be open to opportunity and never believe that you cannot succeed. Now is the time to start believing in yourself the way Helen Keller believed in herself. She believed everything was possible and she went about finding ways to prove it. And prove it, she did!

Here is another quote from Helen Keller: “No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.” So, the next time you are feeling depressed or dejected because of a setback or a failure, rise above the natural reaction to become pessimistic. Do what Helen Keller did; try a new path, start a new project, put a smile on your face and believe in yourself! Optimism and pessimism are solitary pursuits. Only you can make yourself become optimistic...no one else will do it for you. The satisfaction, self esteem, success and happiness you receive from optimism will more than repay the effort you put into finding it.

Life is for living folks!

All the Best

Wayne Kehl

Monday, November 22, 2010

Think Before You Speak

Wise men talk because they have something to say... fools, because they have to say something.

- Plato

Plato lived from 428 BC to 348 BC and even then, one of the largest human problems that philosophers of the day grappled with was a lack of open, honest communication. Nothing has changed in over two thousand years. People then, as now, have trouble saying what they mean and meaning what they say. People just can’t seem to universally embrace the concept of being impeccable with their words. The phenomenon is a human condition that clearly has eons of history to support it and therefore, one that is very difficult to overcome.

Our old friend, Plato knew a thing or two about people. He is quoted far and wide as a philosopher of great wisdom and insight. The quote above indicates that those of us who are wiser than others will withhold our words until we have something of value to offer to a conversation. We will not speak for the sake of being heard and we will not speak negatively; thereby eliminating the possibility of saying something incorrect or lacking in integrity. On the other hand, a fool will speak incessantly without thinking and without giving any credence to the feelings, hopes, ambitions or desires of others. Fools speak for the sole purpose of dominating a conversation and for the pleasure of hearing their own words. The only people that are impressed by the words of a fool are other fools. They are impressed by verbosity and grandiosity rather than depth, wit, and intelligence. When fools speak, the wise recoil while other fools listen. Just as today, it appears that even in 400 BC there were a lot of fools running around saying foolish things.

In his book, “The Four Agreements,” Don Miguel Ruiz gives some wonderful clues to better human communication. The four agreements that he asks you to make with yourself are these: 1. NEVER MAKE ASSUMPTIONS, 2. DO NOT TAKE THINGS PERSONALLY, 3. ALWAYS BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD, AND 4. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST. They sound quite simple, but think about your own life and ask yourself if you can do all four of them at once.

When you hear words coming out of the mouth of a fool, do you assume that the person speaking is deliberately saying something to harm you or others? Conversely, do you give that person the benefit of the doubt; or do you simply forgive him or her? When you hear negative words spoken in your direction, do you take them personally? Do you assume that the person speaking is trying to harm you or make your life less valuable in some way; or do you simply forgive him or her? When you are speaking, are you always impeccable with your word? More clearly put, do your words and your intonation contain the best intentions? Is what you are saying designed to improve the lives of others or to tear them down in some way? Impeccability may be the hardest agreement to make because we all seem to lapse into sarcasm, deceit or guile from time to time. When we do that, we are playing the fool! Finally, do you always do your best or do you pass off a partial effort or a negative pretence as good enough? When we offer less than our best, we allow others the opportunity to find fault with us, thereby enabling another round of poor communication, sarcasm, deceit, and guile. It is difficult for human beings to avoid playing the fool.

Since reading “The Four Agreements” and taking it to heart, I have become very aware of my own failings as a human communicator. I am aware that I have often made incorrect assumptions and taken things personally that were not directed at me at all. I have not always been impeccable with my word because I often used sarcasm, minor deceit, and guile to win an argument or make a point. Finally, as much as I always want to do my best, I lapse into human slothfulness for one reason or another from time to time and then use deceit and guile to cover up my weakness. I am human and I have played the fool! I am not perfect yet, and I probably never will be, but I believe that self-awareness is the start of a road to a better life.

If you want others to listen to you and follow your lead, always be the best you can be and never play the fool!

All the Best

Wayne Kehl

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Are You Willing To Risk Your Life?

On Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Day it is important for us all to reflect on the sacrifice and devotion to duty shown by so many of our brave men and women all over the world. But, what does the observation of past and present wars mean to you?

November 11th is not about poppies, wreaths or cenotaphs. Those are only symbols to remind us of our brave military men and women. What November 11 is really about is courage and raw, unshakeable allegiance to a country. Veterans of all wars offered something that most of us have never and will never have to consider as an option. They offered their lives. They offered their countries the right to use them as corporeal weapons of war. When they made that offer to their Governments, they knew full well that they might never return from whatever theatre of war they would ultimately enter. They knew the enemy forces they would encounter would show them no mercy and that they too might have to make the definitive, irrevocable decision to end another person’s life.

Because it is neither natural or normal for human beings to deliberately end the lives of other human beings, our Veterans made another sacrifice. They put their integrity, their morals, and their spirituality on the line along with their bodies. They chose to overlook their natural predisposition to saving the lives of others in favour of protecting their fellow countryman from enemy forces. As much as killing did not come easily to them, they did it for the love of their homeland and the people back home they so desperately wanted to protect. Most importantly, they did these incredible things while asking nothing in return.

Members of all branches of the military were (and still are) asked to fight in unbelievably unpleasant and dangerous conditions, thousands of miles from their homes and families. They ate bad food and were paid very little for doing the most dangerous and important jobs on earth. And yet they fought selflessly until the war was over. Each time a war began, our Veterans finished it. Some came home...some did not. Some came back unharmed...others came back broken, torn, shell-shocked, and emotionally distressed. All had offered up the ultimate price...their personal right to life.

“Lest We Forget” has two meanings for me. Firstly, we the non-Veterans of the world must never forget the sacrifices our Veterans made for us. Secondly, we must all accept that our veterans will never forget what they were forced to do in service of their country. Veterans never forget the places they fought, the weapons they fired, or the enemy soldiers they killed and wounded. How could they? No human being could possibly forget the horrors of combat. Our Veterans gave all they had physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.

Wars are started by politicians but they are fought by fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends and family members. We must always remember that our fighting men and women must be honoured for their service and that honour must never be tarnished by politics or protest. Veterans are heroes who do their duty at their own behest and for the most excellent of reasons. They are the best part of war and the best part of our humanity.

My Dad fought in World War II and still carries a piece of German Shrapnel in his back to this very day. He is 87 years old now and he has never forgotten his service to his country. In fact he speaks of the war years with more clarity than perhaps anything else in his life. Unlike my father, I have never had to offer my life for virtually anything. Because my Dad and millions of other Veterans fought for my freedom I have lived a very comfortable and secure life. At age 59, I find myself wondering what I would do if I was in their position and what my life would have been like if I was forced to experience what my Dad experienced. I offer my heartfelt gratitude to my Dad and to every other man and woman who ever risked his or her life for their country. They represent the best of us.

Are you willing to risk your life?


Wayne Kehl

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You only have one life to live!

“Good Times; Bad Times; You know I had my share...”

Led Zeppelin 1968

The above line from Led Zeppelin was written by the famous rockers 42 years ago and yet, it still has meaning today. I am a fan of Led Zeppelin partly because of my age and my love of screaming guitars, but chiefly because of the depth of wisdom contained in many of their lyrics. Think about the line again, “Good Times; Bad Times; You know I had my share.” Who can say otherwise? Who can say that every day of their life contained nothing but joy, achievement and love, all wrapped up in one big package of goodness. Of course, no one can say that because everyone experiences some darkness in their life from time to time. It is how we deal with the bad times that matters.

If you want success, you must always look forward and you must live your life as though the bad times have very little meaning for you. Set-backs are not permanent road blocks...they are merely reminders that nothing in life comes easily and that every worthwhile endeavour contains an element of risk with no shortage of obstacles. If you anticipate challenges before they occur, your path will be much easier to follow. When faced with a stumbling block, go ahead and stumble or even fall...and then get up, dust yourself off and try again. Sometimes you must adjust your method of approach, but if you constantly keep the end goal in mind, your path will be true and your success will be assured.

People who face obstacles as complete barriers to success will almost always fail. Their lack of determination and courage will hold them back interminably. Projects will never be done well (or done at all) and sadly, those people who dwell on bad times will never be happy. Great leaders and successful people in all areas of human endeavour focus on the good times. They focus on the fact that a positive attitude coupled with a big dose of endurance, patience and persistence will carry them to great heights. They know too, that the world is watching. The world loves people who persevere; the world loves people with chutzpah and the world loves people who move past the bad times as if they never occurred.

In the Led Zeppelin song, lead singer, Robert Plant’s voice trails off into a searing, Jimmy Page guitar riff as he sings, “Well, I still don’t seem to care...” The lyrics of this song are, (perhaps inadvertently) an anthem for leadership. They represent the best of what great leaders carry with them every day. Leaders do not care about bad times, they do not dwell on minor failures, they do not complain about setbacks, and they do not blame others for their own limitations or failings. Real leaders smile at setbacks and laugh out loud as they sail over hurdles. For them all times are good...bad times are only for those who accept and embrace failure or adversity as an excuse or a reason to quit.

The next time you are ready to quit because the challenges seem too great, think about the words to this great rock and roll song and remember that the good times in your life always outnumber the bad.

Life is for living and with good health a life is a century or so of good times to be had. You only have one life to live, so why not make it a good one?

All the Best

Wayne Kehl

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Anger is a killer but happiness can save your life!

Something I have been saying most of my adult life is, “Anger is wasted energy.” As much as that is true, it is only part of the story. Anger can actually bring on poor health and shortened life spans. We all know that anger can bring on lengthy bouts of distress and strained relationships with those closest to us; and I think we would all agree that the feeling of being out of control that often accompanies anger is almost always regretted after the fact. Yet, despite our universal understanding of the futility of anger, most of us still allow it to consume us from time to time.

Your response to anger might be in the form of simple, curt aggressiveness, passive aggressiveness, or white hot, searing hostility. No matter which form you choose, unless the encounter erupts into violence, your anger will almost always do more harm to you than to the object of your anger. Your anger will stay in your mind and become a festering lesion of stress and anxiety that can take weeks or months to heal. While you are fighting your internal demons, the person you are angry with will probably be out and about enjoying life, oblivious to your concerns. At that point, it is only you that will be suffering from the cause of your anger.

On the physical side, people who are often angry may not produce adequate amounts of acetylcholine; the chemical that tempers the effects of the adrenaline produced during bouts of anger. Because their nervous system is working overtime, their constant anger can be the cause of a weakened heart and hardened arteries. They may also suffer from liver and kidney damage as well as heightened cholesterol levels. In fact, studies have shown that individuals with high anger levels have twice the risk of heart disease and three times the risk of heart attack when compared to folks with the lowest anger levels.

Anger management is one aid to better health, but it only has value if handled properly. Unfortunately, one common method of controlling anger is to keep it bottled up while turning it inward. That method is usually referred to as depression, which is potentially as dangerous as anger itself. The key to anger management is balance...lashing out at everything that annoys you is not good, but dealing with the issues that make you angry at or near the time of your angry reaction is an effective method of controlling anger. If another person makes you angry, you must communicate with them. Let them know that you are angry and tell them why. Speak calmly and always be controlled and reasonable. Listen to their point of view and accept that they have a different perspective. By doing this, you will force yourself and the other person to deal with the source of your vexation. It may not always result in an end to the problem, but it will dramatically reduce your stress level and diminish your anger to something more akin to a difference of opinion or simple confusion...which is much less likely to produce negative physical side-effects.

Science also shows us that anger can be controlled through exercise, meditation, humour, or some other diversion that will move our minds to more pleasing thoughts. Once we have moved to another place mentally, the source of our anger will not seem as daunting or offensive when our thoughts return to it again.

Essentially anger is a human response to an external stimulus that can be controlled by our minds. Make the decision now to think deeply about your anger and work toward a life with as little of it as possible. Your body will thank you!

On the happiness front, I am pleased to report that people with high levels of happiness tend to catch colds and influenza less often and present less significant symptoms, (than angry or depressed people) when they do get sick. Happy people generally have lower levels of stress hormones in their blood stream and lower blood pressure. Interestingly, recent studies have shown that listening to pleasing music can improve blood vessel and heart health...probably because it releases relaxing endorphins into the blood stream.

To end this on a very happy note, I must mention the value of laughter...the ultimate expression of happiness. Laughter lowers blood pressure by causing deeper breathing and increased oxygenation to the blood stream. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases infection-fighting antibodies. Laughter is good for your heart because it increases heart rate and pulse. It works out your diaphragm, abdominal muscles, respiratory system, and back muscles. A good laugh can improve digestion and burn calories. Because it stimulates the left side of the brain, laughter can enable easier learning and better information retention while increasing alertness. In short, happiness can lead to a longer healthier life.

Anger or happiness...the choice is obvious!
All the Best!
Wayne Kehl

Learn more about relationships in my book, "Getting Along With People Is Easy!" available at all online booksellers.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Success through people...Surviving beyond a down economy

Current worldwide economic woes are extremely worrying for a lot of business people...and with good cause. We have seen the demise of a number of major financial institutions and extreme downsizing at a myriad of North American Corporations. Small businesses are dropping like flies on a daily basis. Despite the old adage desperate times call for desperate measures, during this downward spike in our economy we must maintain one major principle: We must preserve a culture of pride, quality and performance amongst our employees. Our people will take us through this current recession and support us while we are down...IF, AND ONLY IF we give them strong reasons for loyalty to us.

Keep in mind that even if your business survives the recession and prosperity returns within a reasonable time frame, it will be followed almost immediately by a worldwide labour shortage. The shortage will be at its worst here in North America where overall birth rates are the lowest. If you plan to continue on in business for the next decade and beyond, you must cultivate the loyalties of your employees by creating a culture of success NOW. Economists indicate that immigration application rates to the USA and Canada are at an all time high, but remember that immigrants require a greater level of training and naturalization than the employees you have now. You might be able to fill the vacancies in your employee manifest with folks from other countries, but if you lose the knowledge base of your current employees, your production will suffer for an indeterminate length of time.

If you are an employee, be aware that the current recession like every other economic crisis, will pass. When that occurs, the best of you will be living in a world of opportunity. Hone your skills now, learn your trade, increase your knowledge and populate your resume’. This is valuable advice whether you expect to leave your current employer at some point in the future or not. The future world will need educated, qualified people with experience and some degree of wisdom. Remember too, that in the future there will also be a shortage of good leaders; people who understand people and possess the ability to get the most out of each and every one of them. If you ever thought that you would like to try leadership, now is the time to start working toward that goal. Take some courses; make your employer aware of your desire to advance; become indispensable!

Employers need to accept the fact that the world is changing. The old ways of doing business will simply not work in the twenty first century. Generation “Y” will not bend to the demands of a dominant boss or an inflexible corporate structure. Many immigrants will not understand your methodologies, your work ethic, or in many cases, your language. Both groups will need a different work environment than that which you developed over the past decades. Business owners and leaders need to begin working for the future NOW. If you really do not understand your younger, Generation “Y” workers, YOU are the problem...not the young workers. You need to stop trying to make them more like you and you need to adopt methodologies they can identify with. Let’s face it, Generation “Y” is the largest generation since the Boomers and they will soon take over the world. There are fewer Boomers in the work-world every day and their grip on the throttle of the world’s economy is beginning to slip. Only those employers who recognize this undeniable truth and are willing to act on it will survive beyond the recession, thereby remaining household names decades from now.

If you don’t understand how to motivate your employees, create loyalty or build a culture of engagement, you need to learn now. If your production is slipping; if your performance is suffering; and/or if your profits are down, you need to learn how to do more with less. I am talking about more production with fewer resources and even fewer employees. The key to more with less is with your current employees. Become an open, honest employer with a transparent management plan. Let your people in on what you are doing, where you are going, and where you stand right now. More than ever in the history of North American business, employees want inclusion and a say in how their workplace runs. Give it to them! Stop hanging on to the old ways of doing business and start giving your employees what they want, no matter how difficult letting go of your old principles might be.

Most business leaders who refuse to let their employees in on things are simply afraid. They are afraid that their employees will take advantage of them, use the things they have learned against them, or even steal from them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Employees are just like people in management...they want to keep score and they want to win. If they do not know where the company is going or what their contribution to it has been, they have no stake in the business and no reason to care about it. Ultimately employees who are not made aware of what their company is all about will either quit or mentally shut down. Either way, production and quality will suffer.

In times when there are more employees than jobs, employers have the luxury of high turnover rates. In the future when the economy stabilizes and there are more jobs than people, that luxury will be the death of many companies. Start working with your people now. They can either make you or break you. It’s your choice!

If you need help putting employee leadership, engagement, communication, or selection plans into place please get in touch with me. I am easy to find and I want to help.

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Big Ego is a Terrible Thing to Waste!

   Why can’t people just get along? Human beings seem to want to fight all the time, don’t they? Why is that? What makes people so quick to involve themselves in arguments and disputes? Why do so many people become angry or defensive when someone directs a joke at them or suggests that they might be wrong about something? Why are some people arrogant, loud and obnoxious while others are consistently nice or perennially silent? Will the entire human race ever change to the point that they can all get along unconditionally on a universal level? Probably not...but it is a great goal to shoot for!

   Human beings regularly fight, dispute, argue, confront, protest, challenge and defy other people because of EGO. All human beings have an ego of some degree or another. Ego can be defined as one’s relative level of self esteem...it is a person’s idea of his or her own importance or worth. Ego determines how a person will control, plan and conform to the present reality of his or her life. If a person has a big ego, they will often become quite angry if they believe their integrity has been questioned. They will have such a strong sense of themselves that they will believe others should listen to them and unconditionally respond to them in a positive way. Those with less powerful egos when questioned or treated negatively will sometimes feel guilty. They will think that they have said or done something inappropriate. Instead of fighting back, they will withdraw to lick their wounds or feel sorry for themselves. Individuals with very little ego often find it easier to get along with others because they simply draw no assumptions about another’s intentions toward them and they take nothing personally, so find no need to become angry or fight back.

   Leaders must be cautious of stifling ego. Ego is what made human beings the dominant species on earth and what caused them to put men on the moon. Unfortunately, it is also what starts arguments, causes bullying in schoolyards, and creates the conditions necessary for one country to declare war on another. The positive side of ego is what we must nurture and protect. People with strong egos usually have strong ambition and an overwhelming desire to succeed. They also sometimes seem brash, impatient, and in a hurry; caring very little for others. Those are the people that can make or break you. When working with someone who is extremely talented but “full of himself or herself” you must not suppress his or her enthusiasm or hold them back. When a person with a strong ego is stifled they will usually react with negative behavior. They may choose to fight you, making their feelings known, but as often as not, they will simply withdraw and do as little as possible to help you. Instead of being the superior performer they are capable of, their ego will tell them to withhold their talent in order to punish you and prevent you from realizing the success they know they are capable of creating.

   People with strong egos like a pat on the back. They need to be acknowledged for their good work. The feeling of satisfaction they derive from praise is like a drug to them...the more they get...the more they want. The more praise they receive, the more likely it is that they will perform at exponentially higher levels. However, if people with big egos are ignored or criticized for their work, they will no longer derive a sense of satisfaction from their work and performance will probably decrease in quality and quantity.

   If you find the ego of any of your workers offensive to others to the point that performance and production is suffering, you must deal with them. As many coaches and philosophers have indicated, “There is no 'I' in team” and “Stars are just people who play on great teams.” When working with big egos you have to be a coach. You must always explain to a star performer that their results are clearly superior but that they cannot go it alone. They must understand that it is their obligation to assist everyone else on the team to perform at as high a level as they can. You must appeal to their ego by asking for their help and then praising them when their teamwork efforts have realized positive results. They will understand your meaning because a powerful ego is not an obstruction to intelligence. It is merely a different sense of reality that puts one person ahead of another in his or her own mind. If they comply with your wishes and create better results for the entire team, their egos will soar on a blanket of pride and they will want to do even more of it.

   Great leaders do not allow a big ego to stand in the way of success. They take advantage of it by massaging and cultivating it into an indomitable force while allowing it to blend into the fabric of the team. Don’t waste a big ego...put it to work for you!

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

Monday, August 23, 2010

Passionate Choices!

We all need passion in our lives!

As we wander through the short period of time that is our life, we make hundreds of thousands, or perhaps even millions of choices. We make so many choices in a lifetime that at the time just before our passing, we have forgotten all but the most significant of them. We remember our choice to marry and to whom; we remember our first job and what lead us to it; we remember our first drink of alcohol; we might forget our third lover and our second lover but we will always remember our first and last. The majority of our choices simply evaporate into invisible vapor like the morning dew.

The choices that are not easy to make are the most significant of all. Those choices are also the most difficult to reverse and the most heartbreaking when we recall them at the end of our lives. The hardest choices always involve our greatest inner passions. When we fail to follow our heart and pursue our true passion we create unrelenting regret and self-doubt. In time, one passion may be replaced with another, but we will always recall the passions we left behind and make excuses for our decisions not to pursue them.

We all have a personal vision that we dream of. That vision may change occasionally as the years pass, but as we drive down a highway or lay in bed sleeplessly at night, we are often consumed by our personal vision. We see ourselves as singers, musicians, policemen, fishermen, writers, millionaires, or kings. In our vision, we can be beautiful, handsome, sophisticated and bold. We imagine trysts with beautiful women or handsome strangers we meet in passing; we imagine ourselves achieving an award for great work we did on our latest work project or as the coach of our children’s volleyball team. We envision ourselves winning a lottery or inventing something great. We might use our imaginary fortune to purchase a huge house in any country we choose, with a view of any vista we wish to see. Our personal vision is always better than the life we live because until we reach the age when we are mature enough to understand that we have reached our maximum potential, we want what we do not have. That is the nature of mankind and it is what created the world as we now know it. Many of the personal visions of the millions of people before us have become reality. If none of our forefathers had pursued their personal visions we might still be living in caves.

Human beings are humble, yet vain creatures. Despite the natural tendency of most people to avoid being significant above all others, we all need to be accepted and acknowledged from time to time. We need to be patted on the back and told that we are good, or even that we are the best at something. A desire for acknowledgement consumes some people to the point that they make themselves universally disliked. Their overwhelming positive feelings for themselves often create negative feelings in others. And yet, there are people who are so afraid of attention from others that they live a life of misery…frightened that they may be singled out for praise, all the while yearning for it more than life itself. Both types of people need positive reinforcement and both need to be acknowledged and loved.

Bears, spiders, birds and fish feel neither arrogance nor greed; neither pride nor hate; neither embarrassment nor disgrace. Only humans have emotions that are stimulated by communication with others of their own kind. Only humans can make a serious impact positively or negatively on members of their flock with a look or a sigh. Only humans can make one of their kind a success or a failure with just the will of a quorum. An alpha-male wolf must enter into physical combat with all comers in order to rule the pack. There is positive energy in the fight but fortunately that model will not work for civilized human beings. Thanks to our intellect, we are able to find other ways to create positive results, without violence. We have the ability to move beyond instinct and use reason in order to transform palpable negativity into a positive result. Positive passion is what separates animals from human beings.

Always remember that as you follow your personal vision, another is following his and it is probably dramatically different from yours. Just as you cherish your vision, his vision must also be allowed to live. Everyone’s personal vision is different and you must not try to force yours on someone else. Never allow the negativity of anyone, no matter how important they might seem, destroy your dream or pull you from the path you have chosen. Never attempt to dissuade others from their own personal visions as you will risk breaking their spirits or losing them altogether.

You cannot be passionate about something for which you feel no passion. You will never be truly successful with a mate you do not love and you will never be successful in a job you do not like. You will never achieve satisfaction with pure negative energy and you will not motivate others with constant negative reinforcement. If you think positively and exude positive energy while passionately following your personal vision, you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams and achieve happiness beyond your imagination.

In my personal vision, I see myself as a writer; an author of books on leadership. I have pure positive passion for my vision and while you are reading my book you are helping me reach my goal. My vision has materialized and I thank you for that.

I hope when you find your own personal vision, you will follow it relentlessly. Chase it like your life depends on it. You will never regret that choice.

All the Best!
Wayne Kehl

This article is the "Afterword" in my book, "A Passion For Leadership" which is available on Amazon.com in book form and soon to be available in Kindle Format.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My last 9,000 days!

This is the foreword to my book, "Getting Along With People Is EASY!"

As I kneeled to thin out the dead stalks in the rose bushes near my back gate today, I felt a twinge in my back. As I stood up to shake off the twinge, I felt a pain in my right thigh and stiffness in both knees. At that moment, I mumbled silently to myself, “Is this what life is all about?” I realized at that moment that I was feeling my age and things that seemed easy to me in my youth would slowly but surely become more difficult with the passing years. Eventually, one by one, things that I have until now taken for granted, will become impossible. The aging process will progress resolutely until the day of my ultimate passing from this wonderful life. Loss of youth is frustrating but not nearly as daunting as the final curtain and the realization that when my life-light goes out, all that will survive are the memories others have of me. Since I can’t hold the curtain back forever, I want those memories to be predominantly pleasurable for those who outlive me.

If I live to the age of eighty, I will have lived slightly more than twenty nine thousand days. At this moment, still assuming I will live until I am eighty, I have approximately nine thousand days left. It is at this point in one’s life that almost involuntarily, a grand reassessment begins. I know what I have done so far in my life and I know which bits of it added value to others, and to myself. I am aware of the good that I have done and I am grudgingly conscious of the bad. In this last third of my earthly existence, I wonder what my future purpose is. What shall I do? Should I become a recluse and hide from all of the problems of the people who annoy me? Shall I spend the balance of my earthly sentence thinning roses and mowing the lawn, oblivious to the world outside…or, alternatively, should I become a supporter of causes that help other people while working tirelessly to make the world a better place? All have their benefits and all appeal to me in their own unique ways. The wonderful glory of these options is that I have choices. I can do whatever I want. That is the beauty of being human and living free.

One choice I have made is to awake on every one of my last nine thousand mornings with a smile on my face. Every day I have had until now has been a privilege and every day I have from this day forward will be a precious gift. I have come to the irrefutable conclusion that I cannot keep my smile alive without the help of other people. If the folks in the world who are going to join me in my last nine thousand days do not share my dream of daily happiness, I will fail. When you have only nine thousand days to live, you tend to want to make the best of them. With that in mind, I intend to make sure the other folks on my nine thousand day odyssey, only see the best of me. If I get along with them, they will want me to be happy. If they enjoy my presence, they will do everything they can to make me smile. If I make their lives as pleasurable as I possibly can, they will reward me with kindness. In short, selfishly I intend to get along with everyone I meet. It will take a modicum of extra effort, but it will be worth it. The alternative is not getting along with other people, but that surely will not bring a smile to my face…or theirs.

Life is all about options and choices. I choose a life of fulfillment and joy. I choose getting along with people… I choose happiness! You can too!

Wayne Kehl

Hey folks! I succumbed to the powers of the internet and published my book, "Getting Along With People is Easy!" on Kindle. You can get the e-book edition here for $5.99. And remember you don't need a Kindle reader to read a Kindle book. You can easily download an app for free that will allow you to read it on on your laptop, PC, Ipad, Iphone or what have you. All the best! Wayne


Friday, July 23, 2010

Live your life the way you want to

"I’m the one who’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to."
Jimi Hendrix

I never thought that I would be quoting Jimi Hendrix some day, but it turns out that during his lifetime, the famous rock and roller said some things that were quite profound. The quote above speaks to me of the human need to go along; to acquiesce; to succumb to the pressures of the groups, communities or families that we find ourselves being members of. Human beings are “pack animals.” We feel a need to live amongst others in order to fulfill our destinies. In order to get along in our “pack” we tend to do what the leader of the pack and the other members tell us to do whether or not we agree with it, whether or not it makes sense and whether or not it is totally contrary to our own way of thinking. We wear fashionable clothing that we find uncomfortable, we work at jobs we do not enjoy, we are polite when we would rather be outspoken, and we do whatever our Governments and bosses tell us to do regardless of how foolish or misguided those things might be.

Jimi Hendrix on the other hand, was not politically correct for his time and although he had a reputation for being kind and polite, his gentility was on his own terms. He chose not to buckle to society’s customs or its moral idiosyncrasies. He wrote and performed brilliant music that was not only ahead of its time, but was considered by many to be so objectionable that it could not be classified as music at all. Jimi Hendrix was the epitome of the word “individualistic.” He lived his life on his own terms and as short as it was, he lived it to the fullest, doing what he wanted to do every step of the way.

Jimi’s quote speaks to me of our collective right to live our lives as we want to. We should realize that on the day of our death, we will not be joined by most of the people we followed during our lives or by any of the people who guided our actions during life. Death is a solitary thing and our mentors, lovers, teachers, legislators, and family members will not be there to tell us how to live our deaths despite the fact that they constantly told us how to live our lives during our time above ground.

I always enjoy meeting people who are free spirits and who are not bound by conformity. I like mavericks, free thinkers and non-conformists. I laugh at people who say things that society does not want them to say. I love people who find humor in taboo subjects, and I enjoy spending time with people who dare to try things they have never tried before or that others think they have no business trying. Above all, I admire people who are authentic and true to themselves; the people who do what THEY want to do despite criticism from others.

What is success? Is it money? Is it possessions? Is it status and recognition?...or is it the happiness and the satisfaction that comes from doing the things that we truly want to do? Happiness is the only commodity that can truly make our lives worthwhile during our short time on earth. There is nothing sadder than the death of a person who has never lived!

Live your life to the fullest, folks. Live it the way YOU want to!

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Electronic Hit and Run

If you are alive and breathing, you have probably noticed that a lot of folks seem to think it is okay to criticize other people for their actions. They criticize them behind their backs and they criticize them in public. The boldest people criticize other people to their faces in an effort to embarrass and hurt them. They believe that somehow, their criticism will bring about a positive change. They think that their negative opinions of others will make a positive difference in the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. Negativity begets negativity just as positivity begets positivity. Which is better...a growing multiplicity of positive thoughts and actions or the drudgery of a continual, never-ending exchange of negative energy? The question does not require a lot of consideration...the answer is clear. Positivity is always better!

Lately, I have been witness to a preponderance of criticisms on various social media websites. These sites broadcast their words, literally worldwide, so that almost anyone with a computer in virtually any country can read the venom displayed there. People are saying things on the world-wide-web that they would never say out loud and in person. I have witnessed relatives criticizing other relatives, friends insulting friends, people unrelated in any way finding fault with others continents away in the so-called newsfeeds of Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and others. Sometimes it appears that the individuals involved are simply making desperate but poorly executed attempts at humour. However, in many cases, the humour is lost in the insulting words they have chosen. In other cases it is clear that there is no humour intended at all and the only motive his to cause harm to the victim. I call it electronic hit and run!

I have actually witnessed individuals criticizing their own religious leaders publicly on these electronic venues. It is amazes me that a person who considers himself or herself a devout believer in any organized religion would believe that public criticism on a world-wide scale is a way to improve their situation or that of their church. Whatever happened to “turn the other cheek?” I have witnessed religious leaders criticizing members of their congregations or members of a “friends group” or a “followers group” due to their lack of understanding or failure to agree on a particular religious doctrine or dogma. That doesn’t help the world either. Negative energy simply and unavoidably creates more negative energy no matter what the reason or source. We all have an obligation to drive negativity from the world and replace it with positive energy and positive actions.

Before you hit the enter key next time, read your tweet or your status update again. Is it something you would like to read about yourself? Before you reply to a tweet or a post, read what you have written and decide how you would feel if your message was directed at you by someone else. When you put negative commentary out to the world-wide-web, your lack of integrity will be on display for the world to see. Let’s not forget about the embarrassment, despair and stress you might be causing those who might believe your negativity is directed at them. Human beings simply do not have the right to harm others emotionally, psychologically or physically. Social networking is not so different from regular mail except that its poison pen letters are available to the entire world. You might think that you have gotten away with something because when you wrote the post, tweet, or update, no one could see you, when in fact you have just been found out by the entire world!

Just for fun, send some positive, uplifting comments to people you know, and those you don’t...remember, whatever you write on a social network website is totally public and available everywhere in the world. Wouldn’t you rather be caught being kind, optimistic, or funny rather than rude, dour, or pessimistic? The world-wide posting of kindness and fun is a good thing! Stop the electronic hit and run and instead, use your access to the world-wide-web to improve the planet in some small way. Every little bit helps.

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Women should be revered by all!

The following is an actual excerpt from my new book, "A Man on Women"

Daughters are future mothers and mothers created and perpetrated mankind. They deserve respect and they deserve everything their fathers, husbands and brothers are able to give them. Here are some interesting and telling facts about mothers.

Firstly there are approximately 2 billion mothers in the world.There are more than 82 million mothers in the United States. In the 1950’s mothers had an average of 3.5 children each; in the eighteenth century it was 7 to 10 kids, and in the twenty first century it has reduced to an average of 2 children per mother. On the child-raising front, women average 7,300 diaper changes by a baby’s second birthday; preschoolers require mom’s attention every 4 minutes or 210 times a day; mothers do approximately 88% of all North American laundry which amounts to 330 loads of laundry and 5300 articles of clothing per mother each year.

Despite the fact that there appears to be very little time left in a day for mothers to work outside of the home, 72 percent of all North American mothers with children have outside jobs to earn money to support the household. Those working mothers average a 13-hour workday when the outside work and homework are combined. I understand completely why mothers feel the need to work since the cost of raising a child from birth to age eighteen in North America is approximately $250,000.00…that is a quarter of a million dollar per child!

On a very positive note, the busiest telephone usage day of the year is Mother’s Day. Surveys tell us that approximately 122 million calls to moms occur on that day. It seems that mothers are  generally appreciated on Mother’s Day since in addition to the  phone calls, 50 percent of North American households give Mother’s Day cards, which amounts to approximately 152 million cards annually.

Many mothers miss out on education and career opportunities due to maternity. Studies have proven that the highest birth rates occur amongst women with the lowest educational attainment. It naturally follows that those with less education will have less opportunity to acquire or advance into high paying jobs.

American women with college degrees can be expected to have a total of 1.6 to 2 children. American women with no college diploma and up to 8 years of education can be expected to average 3.2 children; those with 9 to 11 years of education can expect 2.3 children; high school graduates with no college degree will have an average of 2.7 children. This explains why birth rates are dropping as more women become educated and take on more lucrative jobs.

Now that you have read my treatise on mothers you might have a better idea why I wrote this book. Think about some of the earlier chapters and consider whether or not the mothers of the world are getting a fair shake in a male dominated world. Optimistically, I believe there is a quiet but determined equality movement bubbling under the veneer of North American culture. I also believe that now is the time for men and women to start working a little harder at understanding and accepting the obvious differences between them while respecting each other’s rightful place in society.

With plummeting birth rates not likely to abate, the next generation of working men and women are going to have to work side by side to maintain their lifestyles and enjoy all the world has to offer. If women and men will honestly seek out, define, and attempt to understand their fair and effective roles in our world now, the next few generations will have a much easier time of it.
Order the book or e-book and get the entire story here:

All the Best!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

You have not lost until you have given up!

It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.

-John Wooden

Great college basketball coach, John Wooden passed away recently after almost a century of life. His legacy is a world of success and a plethora of incredibly intelligent and well- considered quotations about the human condition. The quote above speaks to me of the perseverance, tenacity and courage of every average man or woman.

Anyone involved in team sports will tell you that virtually every team of every kind is made up of stars and everyone else. You remember the stars...you remember their names and you even remember their faces. You remember Bobby Orr, Joe Montana, A-Rod, and Magic Johnson...but what of the other players on the teams? What are their names; who are they; what do they look like; where did they come from; what position do they play; have they ever scored; have they added anything to the success of the team??? Who cares???

The fact of the matter is that a star is just a highly skilled player with a great support staff. Without support, there can be no stars. Without an entire line up of players, there is no team and there is no possibility of winning. Human beings tend to want stars in their lives to inspire them to do greater things...to have more success. Children and adults alike are thrilled to the core at just the thought of shaking hands with a sports star. An entire team of hockey players could walk down the streets of New York City unnoticed, but if Wayne Gretzky was one of them, he could not get ten feet without being hounded by autograph seekers and paparazzi! However, the “Great One” would be the first to tell you that his skill on the ice was only as good as the team he played for; he would admit that he only helped his team to succeed...he could not have done it alone.

If you are not a “Great One,” in any area of your life; if you are not famous and no one thinks of you as a star, take heart! You are a support player and you will finish the game. Long after the stars have faded because their skill has failed them or they have lost their edge, you will still be supporting the next star or stars just as you did the last ones. Your greatness is evidenced by the fact the stars cannot live without you. You are special and you matter! Being a star is a tough business. It is fraught with the fear of failure and an absolute unrelenting requirement to succeed every day in every way. Being a support player is not easy, but it is less hazardous, and with a positive mindset, it can be just as rewarding as stardom.

Know yourself, pick your path, and stay your course. If you are not a star, be the best support player you can be and remember that your stardom rests in the fact that you never give up and you are always there to make sure that your team finishes the game. Be comfortable in the knowledge that you did everything you could to win. You have not lost until you have given up, so never give up!

Everyone who finishes the game is a winner. Everyone on a winning team is a star. You know who you are and that is all that matters!

All the Best

Wayne Kehl

Monday, June 7, 2010

Have fun and live longer!

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

George Bernard Shaw

Famed Irish playwright and essayist, George Bernard Shaw lived from 1856 to 1950. He generated many quotes during his long life, but the one above is my favourite. I am drawn to the quote because like most people, I don’t want to grow any older than I already am, and now that I am in my fifties, I have finally realized that when I take myself too seriously, I do not enjoy my life. On the other hand, when I am playing, I am generally happy…and when I am happy I feel healthy and amazingly, younger!

There is no law that says that adults must be serious all the time! There is no rule in civilized society that says grownups cannot be silly from time to time! There certainly is no regulation that prevents laughing anywhere, except maybe in a library, a confessional, or during a funeral. Come to think of it, modern funerals are often called celebrations of life where enjoyment and laughing are actually allowed!

Personally, I believe that celebrations of life should not be reserved for the dead. I think we should celebrate the wonder of our lives on this incredible planet every day we spend above ground. The next time you go into a business meeting, a union meeting, a parent-teacher meeting, or a meeting with a tax assessor, try smiling, laughing, or telling a joke. You will be amazed at how a lighter attitude will lift the weight of the drudgery you would usually experience during any serious event. If you let the people around you know that you are in a playful mood, they will want to join in and have some fun with you. Soon, the meeting will turn from drudgery to pleasure and it will be over before you know it. In fact if you have fun during a business meeting, a strange phenomenon often occurs…you don’t want it to end! Imagine that!

Try it at home too! Before you sit down to have a serious conversation with your wife, husband or children, think of a way to lighten up the mood. Those closest to you will appreciate your light-hearted ways more than anyone else. People who bring a smile or a laugh to others are usually considered lovable, and most folks want to be loved by their family members so take a chance and have some fun with them! The next time you need to have a discussion about the family budget, the dent in the new car, or the dreaded subject of teenage sex, do it with a smile and a laugh. You cannot make difficult situations disappear by being serious, so why not have some fun and at least try to make them less serious and therefore more acceptable.

Of course, there are times when a serious attitude is more acceptable than a light-hearted one, but try to keep them to a minimum. Remember what George Bernard Shaw said, “We grow old because we stop playing.” There is much documented medical evidence to support the concept that fun and laughter are beneficial to a healthy, long life...but just the joy and sense of well-being that you will experience is evidence enough.

Be a leader, take a chance and show others your fun side! Play every chance you get no matter how old you are. Your life will be better for it and you will find that you have more friends and even, more fans. The bonus is that you will live longer and you will thoroughly enjoy every one of those extra days!

Start playing today!

All the Best

Wayne Kehl

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Leadership can be an unpopular business

“Leadership can be an unpopular business. The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”

Tony Blair (former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom)

The above quote from Tony Blair led me to the theme for this week’s edition. Throughout my career in leadership I have had to accept this one inescapable truth: 

I will not always make decisions that will make me universally popular. However, make them I must!

Here is the conundrum: When leading, we must always put our followers first; we must always consider what is best for our team members; we must always be servant leaders. However, in the course of business, as leaders we will occasionally find ourselves in a position where in order to do the best for our team members we must first make hard decisions that are not readily understood or agreed to by them. We must not allow our resolve to weaken because of pressure brought by those who would have us bend to their wishes! 

We are the leaders; we must lead; we must not follow; we must be strong.

 In order to lead, you must maintain the integrity of your team.Without the team, you will have no one to lead. However, you must also do everything you can to maintain the profitability of your division and your company. To that end you will invariably have to make unpopular decisions. In fact, if you are in a leadership position and never find yourself making unpopular decisions, you are probably not doing a very good job for your company or your team.

"How can I do both?" you might ask. You must clearly and concisely communicate the reasons for your difficult or unpopular decisions to your team. Only through open, honest, timely communication can you gain the trust from your team that will carry you through a myriad of difficult decisions. 

Never lie or mislead and always disseminate difficult information to the team as soon as you can. 

Because of your strong communication efforts, most will understand that you are doing the best thing for the team and they will shower you with trust-in-the-moment and trust-enduring.

"But, I am afraid they won’t like me!" you might say. Please accept that a leader who is indecisive, inconsistent, dishonest, misleading, or a pushover will be much more unpopular than one who is open, honest, decisive, and courageous. Team members need to know that they have a strong leader; a leader they can trust to fight for their best interests. By the way, please don’t confuse strength with gruffness or rudeness. Difficult information must be shared cordially; not dictated brusquely. 

Don’t be afraid; powerful servant leadership will make you popular beyond your wildest dreams!

Great Leadership is hard work! Are you up to it?

By the way: If you are not in a designated leadership position, remember that we are all leaders from time to time. Feel free to pass this article along to your managers...they might thank you!

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

My website: http://www.dlionline.ca/

My email: wkehl@dlionline.ca