Notable Quotables

March 16, 2010

For those of you who know me, have heard me, or have read my blogs, you know how I feel about positive affirmation.  When a person is working on having a positive mindset, few things help them get there like a good positive reminders, and when it comes to positive reminders, few work as well as a good positive quotes.

With this in mind, Kolette helped me design 8 new cards that have positive quote on them for 8 great subjects.  We rolled them out at a recent presentation, and they went over like gangbusters.

Here’s a look a the cards.  If you think they might help you, go on over to the store (or click here) and pick up a pack.  You can use them as a motivator by placing them in places where you’ll see them, frame ones you like, or frame one and change it every month.  They even make great gifts.

The packs go for $5.00 a piece, plus $1.50 S&H.  I think you’ll agree that the quotes are moving, and Ko’s design is flawless.  I hope you enjoy them.



Positive Attitude: The greatest weapon in the fight to be happy is a Positive Mental Attitude.

Drive: Any dream can be your destination; Just pick a direction and go.

Gratitude: There’s not enough room in the human heart for depression and gratitude at the same time.

Creativity: When you take the best of what you have and combine it with all that you can dream – That’s creativity.

Laughter: Few problems in the world can’t be cured by a moment of laughter.

Service: The kindest gift ever given of man, was a kind word and an open hand.

Cooperation: The more you wonder at the good in others, the less you wonder about the good in yourself.

Persistence: Be better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you were today.

Pick a Direction and Go!

October 16, 2009

Football Victory

When I came into the life insurance industry, I was blessed with great success—success that many never thought possible.  Much of that success was due to mentors who took a direct interest in my dreams and goals and worked hard to help me see them to fruition.

One of those mentors was Chuck Cutler.  In college, Chuck was a great wide receiver for BYU, and as such had already won my adoration.  But, it was in his personal interest in me, and my success during my work at Mutual Of New York, that he won my respect.

I learned many things during my time under Chuck’s management, but one of the things that had the most lasting impact came from a story he told me on our way to an appointment.

Now, this wasn’t your regular “across town” appointment.  This sales meeting was at seven-thirty in the morning in the little town of Montpelier, ID—just over three hours away from our offices in Salt Lake City.

I picked Chuck up at our offices at 4:00 a.m. so we could be on time and prepared for the appointment in Montpelier.  We had both been working into the late evening the night before, so in an effort to stay awake we tried to keep the conversation lively.

As we made our way, the conversation eventually turned to his football days at BYU.  With him being a former athlete at the Y and me having been a Brigham Young fan from essentially birth, neither of us was surprised. We both knew it was bound to happen.

Reminiscing about his time playing ball, he came to a story from the early days of his career at BYU.

It was the middle of practice, and what with him being a young wide receiver in a program filled with great receivers, he wanted to make sure to make a statement from the get go.

He lined up in front of one of the team’s senior defensive backs, the quarterback called the signal, the center snapped the ball, and Chuck was off.  As he ran his appointed route he worked hard to juke left and right in an effort to lose the defensive back.

The longer the back stayed with Chuck, the harder Chuck worked to lose him.  He pulled out all his best moves, shucking and jiving down the field. Eventually all this work brought forth some results.

As Chuck moved back and forth, he eventually slipped and twisted his ankle.  The play ended, and the coach walked over to where Chuck was on the field—an embarrassing situation that Chuck had in no way intended for.

The coach pulled him up from off the ground, and simply said (as much as any football coach can simply say anything), “Pick a Direction and Go!”

I think often about this story and it’s message.  Sometimes as we work to gain success in our lives, we end up doing just what Chuck did; we shuck and jive our way through life, trying to go in too many ways at one time, leading to a lot of movement, but little progress.  When try to focus on too much all at once, everything just ends up blurry and we end up with little more than an embarrassing story and a twisted ankle.

Conversely, when we pick our direction and go, our chances for success increase exponentially.  We become dedicated to one destination and with that in mind we are more likely to complete our routes and catch the ball.

Try it; pick one area of your life, then pick a direction—and go. If you will, your ability to succeed will increase, your life will be littered with achievement, and you’ll end up with an “All-American” attitude will make you unstoppable.


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In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night

January 23, 2009


From the time that I was a very young boy I have always been into comic books and their characters in some form or another. Whether it was actually collecting and reading the comic books or simply following the stories with my brother on Saturday morning’s “SuperFriends” I loved to see these larger-than-life heroes with their amazing powers.

In some ways it was like my own personal mythology. Instead of stories of Zeus, Hermes, Ares, Poseidon or Athena, the stories were of Superman, The Flash, Batman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman. I loved the way good always triumphed over evil. I loved the way the writers allowed me to relate to these characters, and I loved the amazing art.

This love affair was strengthened and renewed after my car accident. I was in the hospital for 13 months without anything to do. To fill my time I began collecting comic books again. It gave me something to look forward to each week (Wednesday is the day new comics hit the shelves) and provided me something to pursue.

When I wasn’t reading the comic books themselves I used my laptop to search the Internet for the ones I needed to complete my collection. When big events happened in “Comicdom” then I would work to ensure that I had every piece and part of the storyline along with every cover drawn by every artist. I know there were times when the whole thing drove my family crazy, but it gave me something to think about outside of syringes, catheters, CPAP machines and therapy–and that made it important to everyone.

After my initial 13 months stay I found myself in the hospital repeatedly for the following 11 years. During one such 3+ month stay that was more emergent and serious than the others I asked Colette to put up a poster of Hal Jordan a.k.a. “The Green Lantern.”

The Green Lantern was always one of my favorite characters. I was always enamored with his abilities and the way with which he gained his strength. Hal Jordan was a test pilot who was one day brought to the crash site of an alien spaceship. Inside the ship Hal found an alien named Abin Sur. Abin Sur was a part of a group called The Green Lanterns who oversaw that good and right happened across the universe. He happened to be The Green Lantern for the area of the cosmos that included Earth, and because his spaceship crashed he needed to find someone quickly to be his replacement. Hal was that man. Hal was given the two things he needed to become the new Green Lantern; a green ring, and a battery (also green and shaped as a lantern) that could recharge the ring.

What made the ring special and unique was that it could produce anything its wearer could imagine out of a green energy that would emanate from the ring. If The Green Lantern needed to fight a villain he could imagine a giant baseball bat and the bat would appear and the evildoer would be knocked out of the way. If The Green Lantern wanted to capture his enemy he could simply imagine a jail cell and the iron doors would appear. The ring would continue to do this until it ran out of energy at which time The Green Lantern could place his hand with the ring on it inside the Green battery shaped as a lantern and say the words, “In brightest day, and blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight; Let those who worship evil’s might, Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light.”

The thing that really endeared me to The Green Lantern was the source of his true power. The ring would allow him to create anything he could imagine but it was his willpower that decided the strength and longevity of the items he would create. Hal Jordan ended up becoming the greatest of all Green Lanterns because no one in the universe had a willpower like his.

When I was in the hospital fighting to get my body through its most recent onslaught trying all the while to keep a positive attitude, I would look up at the poster of The Green Lantern and remember the importance of my own willpower.

Although I lacked the fanciful ring and lantern, I did have the ability to fight off my enemies with a willpower second to none. As my enemies of death, disability, negativity, and negligence conspired against me I could win the day if like The Green Lantern I kept my imagination and will strong.

In many ways we are all like Hal Jordan, The Green Lantern. Following the example of this comic book hero we can find ways to endure and find success. Our efforts will wax or wain all based on the strength of our will.  There is nothing that will ever be to difficult to acquire and no obstacle we can’t overcome with dedication and willpower.

For, lo truebeliever, remember “In brightest day and blackest night” we will find glory and honor if we will but keep our will strong and true.


Sunday Driving

October 31, 2008

Growing up, Sunday meant church, family time, a roast with potatoes and carrots for dinner, and every once in awhile, a Sunday drive. On those Sundays when my parents felt so inclined, they would load my three brothers and one sister into the family station wagon and we would go Sunday driving (it was the 70s, so everyone had station wagons, ours was green with wood paneling).

I grew up in Boise, Idaho. Both my mom and dad also grew up in Boise. This meant that the drives on Sunday were usually a drive down memory lane. They would point out the schools they attended, the homes they used to live in, the playgrounds where they used to play, and any other little piece of nostalgia that came up along the way. As a 10-year-old boy the stop I hated above all else was when my dad would pull the car to the side of the road, point out a specific lamp post and say, “Kids, this is where I used to kiss your mother.” At that point in my life, girls were something to be chased at recess but never kissed. Although I knew my dad had some responsibility to kiss my mom, I really didn’t want to hear about it.

On our Sunday drives my parents were in sheer bliss. As kids, we were in utter misery. We had no idea where we’re going, and cared little about getting there. We were bored and tired and the only thing we really look forward to was getting home. The sooner it was over the better.

Conversely, every summer meant a summer vacation. We couldn’t wait. My dad would throw the same five kids in the same green, wood paneled station wagon and we were filled with vigor and excitement. It didn’t matter if we left at ten at night or four in the morning, we were literally giddy. The whole way we were singing. We would sing the Hall family song, “We are the Halls, the Stephen J. Halls, wherever we go, people want to know, who we are, so we tell ’em,” or some version of, “99 bottles of (milk) on the wall” (Being Mormon, we didn’t sing about beer very often.)

What changed? It was the same kids in the same car. How could we be miserable Sunday driving then ecstatic on our way to our summer vacation. The difference was the destination.

En route to our summer vacation we knew where we were going and were excited to get there. Goals that are specific, written down and measurable help us define the destinations in our lives. They help us know where we are going and motivate us to be excited to get their. When we have goals that we have set up properly, keeping ourselves accountable all the way, we not only become driven but we allow that drive to take us all the way to our dreams.

Then, with goals clearly set and destination known we find ourselves excited even giddy about every day. Regardless of our start or how far we have to go we are filled with vigor and joy, singing all the way.