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I’m Ready

My Daddy was a hunter. Every year, on opening weekend of bow season, you could find him in a tree, in his camo at sunrise.

As the years went by, he traded his gun for a camera and instead taught his kids and grandkids how to enjoy the hobby he loved.

ready150Last week, two days before he died, Daddy met his buck. It was gorgeous, a 10 point with six spikes on one side and four on the other. He came to the window where daddy was sitting in his favorite chair and looked in, right at him. A few minutes later he was on the porch, literally nudging the handle to try and get in.

Daddy stood up, in a rare surge of energy for those final days, opened the door and held his hand out. And that deer, which he’d never seen before… (more…)

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Dear Dad – She’s Pregnant

A father passing by his son’s bedroom was astonished to see that his bed was nicely made and everything was picked up.

Then he saw, propped up prominently on the pillow, an envelope that was addressed to “Dear Dad.”

With the worst premonition, he opened the envelope and started reading the letter:

“Dear Dad,

It is with great regret and sorrow that I’m writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because… (more…)

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Are You Serious?

When I entered the business world I had a goal. A goal to make a lot of money. I succeeded and thought I was rich. Yay. Success !!!

But then soon – all too soon – I found out there was more to the story. What Rockefeller and Kennedy knew and taught their kids is once you have it, the rest of the story is to keep it.

New Year’s Resolutions are like this. To make goals to change our lives is just the first half of the story. Antoine de Saint-Exupry stated it well: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Am I serious? I am now making my New Year’s Resolutions. One is the goal I had a long time ago when I entered the business world, to make a good amount of money. For me. For my family. For others to help build their lives. But I know it is just a wish if I don’t create a firm plan to make it happen.

A plan that is concrete. That identifies exactly what I need to do and break it down step by step. To monitor these “baby steps” a day, a week, a month at a time and make changes in my path as wisdom and patience dictates.

There is a old cliché that says this well: “Plan our work and work our plan.”

I am serious. I plan to change my life in 2018.

Are you serious? Will you make goals and put them in a drawer? Or will you keep your goals on the table? Focusing on them and making them a reality step by step.

Let’s change our lives in 2018. Do it for us. Do it for our family. Do it for others to help them build their lives !!

~ The author is C. F. Sandy Pofahl ~

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Spitzer vs. Reagan

Eliot Spitzer, former Governor of New York, offers such a sad illustration of the opposite of humility. As I have discussed this tragedy with friends on Wall Street and others, I hear an interesting theme repeated regularly.

Most are not troubled by his actual bad behavior but rather by the contradiction of his behavior given Spitzer’s crusading style and judgmental actions toward others. The former Governor railed against corporate evil doers and even spoke out against prostitution rings. He referred to himself as a ‘steamroller’ and threatened to take down any and all who stood in his way.

My friend and mentor, John Whitehead, experienced the wrath of Mr. Spitzer in an unpleasant exchange. Whitehead, former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs among his many accomplishments, stood alone on Wall Street for his integrity and kindness. The fact that Spitzer would attack and threaten John for urging the prosecutor to be measured and careful lest he destroy good companies and reputations, tells much about Spitzer.

As a young White House staffer during the Reagan years, I found myself one day in a smallish room off of the oval office. Present along with President Reagan were the troika, Chief of Staff James Baker, former attorney General Edwin Meese and the late Michael Deaver, head of White House Communications, and for some inexplicable reason, I was there.

What struck me most profoundly about that hour was the kindness and lack of judgment of President Reagan. Anytime one of his political enemies, such as Senator Kennedy, was mentioned in some less than flattering way, the President would strongly speak up and point out their virtues and fine traits, and in Kennedy’s case, how that remarkable family had suffered.

I counted at least four times that he acted so nobly. I wandered back to my office with the thought in my mind,

‘I want to be like that.’

The Spitzer moments offer a teachable opportunity for me. May I look within, change myself first. Our nation is a contradiction on so many levels. One that jumps out is that fact that we are the most permissive society ever, and yet we are the most judgmental.

Change must begin with me. The bar is high. Judge not, lest you be judged. A lot to think about.

Thanks, Eliot, for the reminder.

~ The author is J. Douglas Holladay who was a general partner in Park Avenue Equity Partners, LP and a Senior Fellow of the Case Foundation. Prior to Park Avenue he was a senior officer with Goldman, Sachs and Company and prior to this he held senior positions in both the State Department and the White House. ~

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“If” by Rudyard Kipling

if160In 1883 Rudyard Kipling was a Junior Editor who would with the Editor’s assent intersperse his poems in the left-over spaces of the weekly gazette. After three years he gathered his poems together and republished them with his book being an immediate success.

Then it was one book after another from 1886 until his death in 1936 with the poet’s pen being seldom idle. His books become popular because his poetry expressed the deep soul-sense of men to live up to a standard set by their forebears.

He was by far the most widely read, and the best-loved, poet writing in English at the beginning of this century; every cultured person in the English speaking world was familiar with at least some of his poems. In 1907 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Below is an example of one of his classic poems. You read it in high school, but now read it carefully again:

“If” by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

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