On my June 8th post I wrote about a chance meeting my son and I had with a young artist who created clay sculptures and ultimately bronze casting of famous blues artists. I indicated that we had met in 2001 at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California and that I had lost the contact information that he had given me.
Well, again, in the words of the late Paul Harvey, “Here’s the rest of the story.”
My wonderful wife, began looking through the web and trying to seek out who this artist might be. We found one that seemed to have the proper credentials and I sent him the following e-mail…
Daniel, I’m curious if you were in Anaheim, House of Blues working on a John Lee Hooker piece for your blues collection around 2001? If so we may have met and I lost the phone and address you gave me. I just wrote a blog about that meeting. Love to know if it was you.
The following day I received this reply…
“Yes, Greg, that was me. You were there with your son?”
Well needless to say I was quite thrilled to have found my artist after all this time, his name is Daniel Edwards, and he has become a very successful artist. He has sculpted many celebrities over the years and so I feel very fortunate to have had this chance meeting with him so many years ago. A meeting that, much like Daniel’s art, shaped me through the experience.
So, now what? What are the messages here?
Pay attention to the thoughts that you have. Often times the ideas that we have come and go and most often we don’t take the time to acknowledge or record the “inspiration”.
The idea for my previous post came to me as I was reflecting on a sculpture that my son had created in high school. It’s a sculpture of a shoe and I’ve always seen it as a metaphor for the idea that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. The “inspiration” came to me and I paid attention to it.
It’s called inspiration, because it comes to you IN-SPIRIT. I believe it’s coming from a higher source and that it’s something that either has significance or leads to something significant.
By writing about my experience of meeting Daniel, I was “inspired” to go searching for him. It became a little mini adventure for me. It created a higher energy within me that was multiplied once Daniel responded that it was in-fact him.
What do we put off that, if we did it immediately would, in the process give us a greater degree of energy?
Who from your historical past have you been wanting to contact but have just put it off? Go do it NOW! There’s no telling what adventure might come from it.
So there you go, The Rest of the Story. Thank you for indulging me in this little trip down memory lane. Stay connected to your inspiration and just remember, we are all pieces of clay. We are being molded each and every day with the challenges and adventures we face and each experience shapes us into who we are now and who we will become.
Choose to be an adventurer and let your life be shaped by those experiences.
Questions to Ponder: What events have molded you into who you are today? Have you taken the time to journal how The Master Potter has been shaping you? What are the gifts and talents that YOU have that you could be using to help shape a better world?
The Master Craftsman meticulously sought out a unique wood that would create a beautifully designed body and instrument. He took time to explore the subtle grain changes that when cut, sanded and lacquered would produce a stunning visual masterpiece that through looks alone would attract people to it’s unique characteristics.
Then the Master Craftsman, the Artisan of sight and sound, put on strings of various thickness and tuning pegs that would stretch the strings beyond a relaxed, comfortable state.
It is in the stretching that each string achieves its’ unique and quintessential sound that is similar but different from the other strings on the beautifully designed musical apparatus.
It is this synergistic relationship between various materials and knowledge provided by the Master Craftsman that when properly tuned and put in the hands of the Master Musician that the instrument comes alive with an energy and sound so beautiful that tears of joy will follow.
And yet, left alone and not cared for or caressed, the beautiful instrument will begin to lose its unique qualities. And soon the strings will rust and become slack and the gorgeous wood will lose its luster.
Hopefully, in time, another Master will come along, see the beauty hidden in a lackluster instrument and begin a process of renovation that will bring back to life the fantastic look and sound originally intended by the Master Carpenter. With age, the wood becomes seasoned and not only retains it’s tone but resonates with a greater quality than when the wood was young.
Sitting by itself in the corner of a room the unique instrument has all the potential to create beautiful music. But it must be picked up and played by one who can make it come to life. Someone who is willing to put on new strings, re-tune each string that plays the unique note and is a synergistic part in the creation of a magnificent song.
So it is with each of us. We are unique beings who have been created by The Master Designer. We have each been given unique talents that must be continuously explored and tuned. Stretched beyond our comfort zones in order to find the sweet notes we were each intended to produce.
You are a wonderful instrument, treasure your gifts and explore life’s possibilities. Stretch yourself and surround yourself with other artists who will stretch you. The Architect of Dreams, has instilled in you the ability to create a symphony with your life that will make people shed tears of joy for having known you.
Questions to Ponder:
Why do we avoid stretching?
Why do we not see the beauty in ourselves and not pick up the instrument and explore its possibilities?
Why do we perhaps begin the adventure but put the instrument in a dark corner or case to collect dust, rust, become slack or fade in color?
Do we let other’s criticism of our playing of the instrument stop/prevent us from exploring its possibilities?
Do you believe the instrument was not meant for you? Perhaps another one is, seek it out!
Write your own symphony with the instruments that you’ve been given. You are unique and have talents no one else has ever had or ever will have. Believe in your gifts and make a life of magnificent music. YOU are a wonderful instrument…Play On!
It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning as I sat reading my newspaper (just goes to show you what era this took place in). As I perused the entertainment section, I saw an announcement for the Anaheim House of Blues. The famous blues singer-guitarist, John Lee Hooker was in concert that very night. I asked my young son who was a huge blues fan if he wanted to go to the show. He had become an avid blues, and rock ‘n roll fan after I had jokingly, told him that “punk sucked.”
We arrived at the House of Blues several hours early. It was at Downtown Disney so I wanted to get there in plenty of time so that we could get a good spot to watch the show. This was a fairly new venue in the area and I fully expected to find hundreds of blues fans waiting in line.
As we approached the concert hall, we saw there was only one other fan in line. Being the outgoing individual that I am, I struck up a conversation with the young man and found out he was an artist from the great state of Connecticut. As a photographer, musician and overall fan of the arts, I was intrigued to ask him, “What kind of art do you do?”
He told me that he was a sculptor and that he was working on series of sculptures of the top living blues artists. Well, my fascination grew and went into wonderment when he asked if I wanted to see his current project of John Lee Hooker. Naturally I said, “Heck yeah!”
He dug into his satchel and pulled out an item that was preciously bubble wrapped for protection. He systematically unveiled his clay art revealing a magnificent representation of the great blues man. I marveled at the intricacies of the clay figure, the realism, and the movements he had captured in this unfinished piece of clay. I asked why he carried it with him. His reply was that “I only work on them while they are performing and that’s why I’m here tonight.”
Sure enough, as the crowd slowly entered the venue, I saw that my new friend had worked his way up to the front of the stage. During the opening act, he kicked back and enjoyed the music. But when John Lee Hooker came on stage the transformation began. The artist, unrolled his bubble wrapped clay and began to work on his masterpiece. I was as mesmerized by his working, as I was with the music of the great musician. Two artists performing together with totally unique instruments, with the same end in mind. The creation of special works of art in sight and sound.
Now, in the words of the late great —-Paul Harvey, “Here’s the rest of the story.”
Flashback a couple of hours to my initial meeting with the sculptor. As I stood there admiring the artist’s clay figure, I asked him what he intended to do with the clay. He told me that he was going to create a bronze casting of the series. BUT…”I only cast the clay after the performer has died, because that is the final piece of art.”
Wow! That is a life lesson that has stuck with me for over 15 years and I have used it extensively in my teaching and coaching.
The unfortunate part of this story is that I lost the phone number and address of this fine young artist and so I have not been able to stay connected. So if anyone knows this wonderful man, I would love to make contact.
So here’s the lesson. Each of us is just like that piece of clay. We are given life by The Great Sculptor, with potential not yet realized and throughout our lifetime we are sculpted and shaped by life into whoever we are becoming. We have successes, and we stumble and fall. Each time either adding or subtracting some clay. And it is in this process of being pushed and shaped that we finally reach a point where it is time to cast the final image.
So, the question, in the paraphrased words of Paul Harvey…”What’s the rest of your story?” How do you want your bronze statue to be perceived? I know you want it to be viewed as a masterpiece not a paper weight, right? So what do you need to change? Who or what do you need to eliminate from your life? Who do you need to intentionally become?
The Number One Secret to Your Success? Yep, you read that right and now you’re here to read exactly how improving this one area of your life will allow you to achieve so many of your goals and dreams. I know you are hoping for that magic bullet, we all are, and I think you will find that this information is about as close as you can get. So what’s “The Secret?”
There was a time when I lived with the motto of, “sleep when you’re dead.” Then I had an awakening (pun intended). A couple of years ago I had a hip replacement which was a result of numerous athletic injuries.
Oh my! What an epiphany I had. My body had forgotten what it felt like waking up after a pain free night of 8 hours of solid sleep. I was now a convert and started researching the role sleep plays in peak performers. I found that so many of the people we admire, past and present, get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Many habitually take naps during the day.
Comedian Carrie Snow once said, “No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.”
We all know that we should be getting seven or eight hours of shut-eye each night, and yet many of us fail to make sleep a priority. Some even wear their lack of sleep requirements as a badge of honor. If you’ve clocked too little sleep, naps can be a lifesaver.
Napping has many benefits. Science has shown that a short snooze can help you be more alert, see an increase in creativity and productivity, as well as reduce stress, improve your memory and enhance your learning ability as well.
“Sleep makes us more productive, creative, less stressed and much healthier and happier,” HuffPost President and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington said on NBC’s “Today” last year. “Even a 20-minute nap in the middle of the day can make a huge difference. I grew up thinking that if you work around the clock, you are going to be more effective, and I realize that is not true.”
Many celebrated historical figures and modern-day successful stories rely on the art of napping to restore their minds and bodies when they’re feeling fatigued.
Here are some highly successful people who are known to rely on naps to power through long days.
Thomas Edison. When he wasn’t thinking and inventing items like the light bulb and phonograph, Edison was big on naps and used to say he got much of his energy from them.
John F. Kennedy
Sleep plays an extremely vital role in our overall well-being. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times helps protect your mental health, physical health, and overall quality of life.
During sleep, your body is repairing itself and preparing you for the next day.
Sleep deficiency can raise your risk of chronic health challenges and it can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.
Healthy Brain Function and Emotional Well-Being
While you’re sleeping, your brain is forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information.
Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning. Whether you’re learning math, how to play the guitar, or how to swing a tennis racket, sleep helps you focus, make decisions, and be creative.
If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.
Children and teens who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel stressed.
Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. Consistent sleep deficiency is linked to increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and obesity.
Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested.
Sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.
Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults. Sleep also plays a role in puberty and fertility.
Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections.
Daytime Performance and Safety
Getting enough quality sleep at the right times helps you function well throughout the day. People who are sleep deficient are less productive at work and school. They take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes.
Lack of sleep can lead to microsleep. Microsleep refers to brief moments of sleep that occur when you’re normally awake.
You can’t control microsleep, and you might not be aware of it. For example, have you ever driven somewhere and then not remembered part of the trip? If so, you may have experienced microsleep.
Even if you’re not driving, microsleep can affect how you function. If you’re listening to a lecture, for example, you might miss some of the information or feel like you don’t understand the point. In reality, though, you may have slept through part of the lecture and not been aware of it.
Sudies show that sleep deficiency harms your driving ability as much as, or more than, being drunk. It’s estimated that driver sleepiness is a factor in about 100,000 car accidents each year, resulting in about 1,500 deaths.
Drivers aren’t the only ones affected by sleep deficiency. It can affect people in all lines of work, including health care workers, pilots, students, lawyers, mechanics, and assembly line workers.
As a result, sleep deficiency is not only harmful on a personal level, but it also can cause large-scale damage. For example, sleep deficiency has played a role in human errors linked to tragic accidents, such as nuclear reactor meltdowns, grounding of large ships, and aviation accidents.
Don’t let your life become a meltdown. Get plenty of sleep, live with passion and let your body repair itself so you can be the best version of yourself possible. Live your life intentionally, SLEEP!
Wow! What a day! You’re driving down the road, enjoying a beautiful Saturday afternoon drive in the country. The weather is spectacular. The flowers are in bloom, the sky is a brilliant color blue and big white clouds explode with a fluffy contrast to blue sky. The emerald green trees sway in the breeze, the temperature outside is just ideal and the warm sunlight washes onto your face as you drive through this idyllic countryside. Then it happens!
All of a sudden your “check engine” light illuminates to break the serenity of your picture perfect day. “What the heck!” is the next sound that breaks the silence and your blood pressure shoots ups! “I knew I should have taken the car in for a service before I left!”
So, what do you do? You pull over and pop the hood to see what the problem might be. You search around for any sign of trouble, but you’re not a mechanic and it all looks quite foreign to you. So you do the only thing that seems rational at the time. You search for the wire that connects the “Check Engine” light and disconnect it. You jump back in your car, fire up the engine and you see that the check engine light is no longer on.
Relief! Now you can enjoy your trip without any further worry, right? NO and we all know better don’t we. We know that we only dealt with the symptom that made us feel better temporarily, but we know that left unattended, the car is going to breakdown and cost us a lot of money to repair the damage.
Amazingly though, the vast majority of people go through life this way. Challenges arise and we deal with “The Symptom” instead of addressing “The Root of the Problem”.
We know we need to get healthy, need to correct our financial instability, or remove ourselves from a toxic relationship. We change a few behaviors for a short period of time, with a bit of success, yet we are doomed for failure because we haven’t gotten to the real problem. We aren’t addressing “The Root of the Challenge.”
The root of any challenge is almost always, YOU! We make a lot of excuses blaming others or circumstances for why we don’t eat right, exercise, make more money, or have time to improve our relationships. All of this is looking at the external factors, when we MUST look at the internal in order to minimize or eliminate our challenges.
All too often the root of life’s grief comes from not having a dream that you OWN. A BIG DREAM that will drive you when things get tough. How much time have you taken to really look at your life and define what you really want to accomplish. Napoleon Hill called it a “Burning Desire”. I love the quote, “If the DREAM is big enough the HOW doesn’t matter”.
In today’s world, we have such an amazing opportunity to live a life of abundance. We can all live out our dreams if we will just take the time to look deep into the root system of our lives and feed our dreams with action and a burning desire to succeed and leave a legacy of significance.
Enjoy the journey my friends!
Questions to Ponder:
What areas of your life, if you became more intentional in exploring the “root challenges” would you begin to work on?
If you were intentional in exploring where you are, how you got there, and who you need to become, how would you feel?
What would your life look like if you lived more intentionally?
I am always fascinated when I hear people in a leadership position say, “It’s lonely at the top!”
My immediate thought is, “If it’s lonely at the top for you, you must not have anyone following you!” Great leaders know that it’s imperative to take others along with them on the journey.
As John C. Maxwell states in his groundbreaking book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, “Nobody does anything great alone. Leaders do not succeed alone. A leaders’ potential is determined by those closest to him. What makes a difference is the leader’s inner circle.” If you want to achieve a dream, you have to have a dream team!
Now, I certainly understand how that “lonely at the top” philosophy originated. Back in my early career I was surrounded by Level One leaders who tried to lead by title alone. Their methodology at that time (way back in the 1980’s-the buzz word was “management) was, “I’m the boss and have the title so I have the authority.” That style of leadership thankfully is diminishing as true leaders begin to realize that effective leadership today is all about team leadership, connecting with your team, and letting your team’s voices be heard. In doing so, the team will feel that they have had ownership in providing a solution to the challenge or project.
Twenty-first century leadership is all built on team leadership because nobody does everything well. It’s vitally important that the leader understand his own strengths and weaknesses, know the strength of his team members and inner circle and allows them to each operate in their strength zones. This is how you create a powerful connection with your team that buys in to the leaders vision.
Mother Teresa stated, “You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things.”
John Maxwell also chimed in by saying, “There are no Lone Ranger leaders. Think about it: if you’re alone, you’re not leading anybody, are you?”
Who are you leading and drawing into your inner circle?
Most people create an inner circle of people. However, they are usually not strategic in doing so. Few people give enough thought to how those closest to them impact their effectiveness or leadership potential. It is imperative that all of us become much more intentional when it comes to building our relationships. What is the purpose, project or mission you are seeking to accomplish? If you take the time to think strategically about the end game, you can then assemble a dream team.
Only if you reach your potential as a leader do your people have a chance to reach their potential. This is why it is so vital that leaders recognize that their own personal growth is mandatory in order to help others grow and as a result help an organization grow.
So, if you believe it is lonely at the top, I would suggest you take someone with you and make the journey exciting. King Solomon of ancient Israel recognized this truth when he said, “As iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other.”
Consider the following:
1. Do you know who your inner circle members are? Take the time to list them now.
2. Can this group of inner circle member get you to where you want to go?
3. How can you develop your inner circle?
4. Do you need to change your inner circle members?
“Life is a daring adventure or it’s nothing” -Helen Keller
Read the full text of the audio here: Special message at the bottom of the page
Hello again, it’s Greg!
Well, it’s another spectacular day! I stopped here because I saw this sign and the sign is telling me what? It’s telling me how far it is to all of these different areas that I’m trying to get to. When I saw the sign I started thinking, “I wonder how many people, either aren’t paying attention to the road signs that are out there or don’t have any idea as to how far they have to go, because they’re not really sure where they’re going.
That’s kind of crazy isn’t it?
If you know where you’re going, and you know where you’re at, then you know how far you have to go to get to where you want to go, right?
The one thing I want to encourage you to do is to take some time, sit down, and find out where you’re at. Find out what you want to be doing. Find out where you want to be going. Find out what that dream, that goal, that big ambition you have is. What is your meaning for life? What is your purpose and start going after it.
Start putting in the miles to get from here, to there. From where you are now to where you want to go. OK?
It just takes a little bit of time. Start developing your life-plan, it’s important. And you know what? The signs are out there that are going to direct you to where you want to go and I’m here to help you in any way that I can.
So, if you like any of these messages that we’re sending out, don’t be afraid to subscribe. Tell your family and friends to subscribe and let’s all go on this journey together.
Life is an adventure and I love it! I’m glad you’re coming with me! We’ll see you soon.
Ponder this: Is there a time in your life, when you knew exactly where you were and where you wanted to go? What did that look like? Did you have a clearly defined objective? What would happen to your life today, if you slowed down and took the time to develop a specific road map to help you create the life you dream of?
On September 27, 2014 you will have that opportunity! I will be leading a day long workshop in the beautiful resort area of Dana Point, California:
HEALTHY and HAPPY: Living The Great Adventure.
Stay tuned for more information. Mark the date on your calendar! See you soon.
Keep on learning, keep on growing and keep on leading. Life is a daring adventure, let’s begin living it!