On February 23rd (which is today as I write this blog), my wife and I should be enjoying a very nice dinner at an all-inclusive resort in the fabulous Mexican Riviera Maya.We were to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. This was to be a time where we would reflect on the last 30 years, both the good and the bad. Our marriage hasn’t always been easy, but it hasn’t always been hard either. Through the grace of God and hard work from each of us, we have taken challenging situations and turned it into a wonderful union. Regardless, 30 years is cause for celebration!th-50

White sands, blue water, 80-degree temperatures and a high UV-Index…SHHHHHH, I can feel the sun on my face and hear the waves crashing. Well, that’s what we should be experiencing…but something horrible happened!


 MY passport did not have 6 months validity past the day of return. 

I looked at my passport several times throughout the last few months and I never snapped to it. Marlene (my wife) and I got my passport out of the safe a couple of weeks ago and thought we were good to go. We ASSUMED everything was good. Here’s the thing, my passport doesn’t expire until March 16th and we were to return on March 2nd. What’s the problem? As a last minute precaution, I decided to ensure that I didn’t need any other documentation before traveling. It was then that I noticed the requirement for a 6-month validity. Marlene began a frantic search for the truth and much to our dismay, we found it to be true!

I began to research options. One, I could expedite my renewal and go to the Regional Passport Center and spend the day in hopes of receiving my passport in time for travel. Or two, we could cancel the whole trip and get back a portion of the money already spent. The predicament was this; the deadline for the resort cancellation was the 19th (the same day we found out about the passport issue). FullSizeRenderSo, if we did not cancel that day, we would lose the full payment, but if we cancelled by 6 pm on the 19th, we would only lose a 2-night penalty. After much discussion, research and prayer, we decided to cancel. This was very difficult and disappointing decision. Imagine being in Oklahoma and only days from spending 8 nights on the beach in Mexico! Come on, anyone would be saddened!

To make the best of the situation, Marlene and I identified some things we learned from the experience. After all, if you’re going to mess up, you should at least learn something.

We did learn some things.  Here they are:


The following points are directly from Marlene-

  • YOU NEVER “ARRIVE” -I thought I was beyond making this kind of mistake. The truth is, we are all susceptible to making careless errors.
  • THERE ARE ALWAYS 3 FINGERS POINTING BACK AT YOU – Don’t be quick to look down on others if they don’t have what you consider to be your strong points. Again, just because I pride myself on being organized and on top of things, doesn’t mean some things don’t occasionally slip or “fall through the cracks.”
  • I’M DISAPPOINTED! – There are times of disappointment. Be sad, but then put it into perspective. It’s a disappointment, not a tragedy.

When I came home, it was apparent that Marlene was disappointed and I could see she was dejected. Allow me however, to brag on her a bit. Even though it was a disappointing situation, she was not upset or hateful towards me. In fact, she was the complete opposite and tried to take responsibility herself. She felt liable in planning and working out the details of the trip. Although I truly believe I was responsible, her humility was appreciated.


Here is what I learned:

  • PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL – You must pay attention to detail. Although I glanced at the passport several times, it never occurred to me to check the expiration date.
  • TAKE RESPONSIBILITY – One of the worst things you can do when you make a mistake is point a finger at someone else. Not only does this make you look like you’re skirting around responsibility, but also deflecting ownership will put someone else undeservedly in the “hot seat.” As soon as an error is brought to your attention, accept responsibility in the situation (despite whether or not it could have been avoided). Examine the issue and rectify the situation.
  • AVOID MAKING EXCUSES – Everyone has an excuse for things they’ve done wrong. Excuses don’t eradicate the fact that you made the mistake to begin with. Making an excuse isn’t any different than assigning the blame to someone or something else.
  • FIX IT -Once you realize you’ve made a mistake and acknowledged it, take steps to fix it. My mistake wasn’t anyone else’s responsibility, but my own.  I researched options to rectify the situation, but due to time constraints and the possibility of losing all our money, we chose to cancel the reservation altogether.
  • LEARN FROM IT – It you don’t learn from your mistakes, you wasted a valuable and sometimes expensive opportunity. Marlene and I took a lot of time discussing what each of us could do to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future.  We are in the process of renewing my passport and she has noted her own passport’s expiration date. In response, she has created a calendar notice to make sure her expiration date doesn’t slip past us unknowingly. Remember, every mistake is a valuable opportunity for self-improvement. Embrace the lesson learned and move forward.
  • MOVE ON – It’s okay to be sad and disappointed. However, don’t dwell or hold grudges. YESTERDAY ENDED LAST NIGHT! The mistake has been made, acknowledged, fixed and learned from. Realize that mistakes are inevitable and underneath it all, they can be truly beneficial.

I think the biggest lesson learned from this fiasco was that while we were let down, this situation ultimately brought us closer together and made us both realize how easily errors are made. The way we respond and handle stressful situations determines the outcome.

Although we dream about being on the sand, enjoying the sights and sounds of the ocean, great food and the overall culture of Mexico, we have sincerely moved on and feel at peace from what we’ve learned.

IMG_3367I love the couple that Marlene and I have become. There was a time in our early marriage where something like his would have involved blame and lasting grudges. However, with the leading of our Savior and the commitment we have made to one another, we were able to acknowledge our mistake and move on with a stronger marital bond.

WHAT A DAY! Tough Days Create Better Leaders

I recently posted the following meme referencing a challenging day.  IMG_0016The reference to people and profession is applicable in most vocations, especially if your line of work includes interactions with others. Essentially, all professions involve people in one way or another.

I remember a book I read to my daughter many times throughout her childhood, a book titled Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day written by Judith Viorst. Allow me share a quick overview of the story. From the moment Alexander awakens, things just don’t go his way. As he wakes up, he finds the chewing gum that was in his mouth the night before, winds up in his hair. When he gets out of bed, he trips on his skateboard and drops his sweater into the sink while the water was running. At breakfast, his brothers, Anthony and Nick, reach into their cereal boxes and find amazing prizes, while he ends up with just cereal. In the car on the way to school, he doesn’t get a window seat. His teacher, Mrs. Dickens, doesn’t like his picture of alexander-terrible-day-coverthe invisible castle (which is actually just a blank sheet of paper). He’s criticized for singing too loud and leaving out the number 16 at counting time. His friend Paul deserts him for his third best friend and there is no dessert in his lunch bag. The dentist tells him he has a cavity (Amongst his siblings, he is the only one). The elevator door closes on his foot, Anthony pushes him into a mud puddle, Nick calls him a crybaby and he punches Nick in response. Alexander is punished for being muddy and for trying to punch Nick. At the shoe store, they’re out of Alexander’s choice of sneakers (blue ones with red stripes), so his mother has to buy him plain white ones. At his father’s office, he makes a mess of things (the copy machine, books, and telephone) while playing around. His father exclaims not to pick him up anymore. At home, they have lima beans for dinner (which he hates), there’s kissing on TV (which he also hates). Bath time becomes a nightmare, the water’s too hot, soap in the eyes, and his marble goes down the drain. To top it all off, he has to wear his railroad train pajamas (he hates those)!  At bedtime, his nightlight burns out, he bites his tongue, Nick takes back a pillow he said he could keep, and the cat chooses to sleep with Anthony. One repeating phrase throughout the book is Alexander’s claim to move to Australia (surely life is better there). The book concludes with his mother’s assurance that everybody has bad days, even those who live in Australia!

terrible-dayWell, maybe your bad days don’t include gum in your hair or kissing on TV. Whatever it is that creates a bad day in your book doesn’t matter; what does matter, is the fact that you had a bad day. How we react and respond to bad days exposes our leadership maturity and our ability to continue to effectively influence others.

In reference to the meme I previously posted, my bad day was filled with numerous calls involving various groups and individuals. It included repeating the same information multiple times to multiple groups of people. The topic was simple…is the work area safe? If not, then don’t do it! This sounds simple, but apparently not. Come on people…it’s not that hard! Needless to say, my patience waned and it was one of those days that I was ready to end!

As you probably know, I study leadership diligently. I am a certified coach, trainer and speaker for the John Maxwell Group. I teach and speak about leadership daily. I assist professionals through the coaching process to become better leaders. With all of these leadership activities, I shouldn’t struggle with leadership issues right? No, not really. In fact, I think I struggle more because I know when I’m wrong and what I should do. Sometimes my strong-willed personality prevails (I’ve found, however, that it’s not always a bad thing). Most of my personal leadership growth and training comes from daily interactions with people and real world situations; hence the reason why I try to provide practical and relevant insights in becoming a better leader. I won’t waste an opportunity right now to do the same; listed below are 11 nuggets of wisdom that I’ve learned from my recent experience.

  1. YOUR REACTION IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY – The way you react to the situation causing your bad day is 100% your responsibility. Slow down and think before you react.
  2. EVERYTHING IS AN OPPORTUNITY – Everything that happens is an opportunity for personal development. Don’t miss out!
  3. YOU MUST ALWAYS LOOK FOR WAYS TO INFLUENCE – Take this opportunity to influence those involved. Remember, adding value will allow you to influence and influence will produce leadership.
  4. YOUR ATTITUDE IS CONTAGIOUS – Your attitude in difficult times has a direct effect on others. Never forget, attitude is contagious.
  5. DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM WHATEVER IS CREATING YOUR BAD DAY – Whatever caused difficulties, look for ways to disconnect or remove yourself from the situation.
  6. ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE – Remember that everything is an opportunity. Identify the cause and look for ways to correct, eliminate, or make better.
  7. DON’T OVER-ANALYZE THE DAY – It’s just a bad day. Reflect and make adjustments. Remember…yesterday ended last night!
  8. LEARN A LESSON –Without over-analyzing, look for the lesson in the situation.
  9. DON’T ALLOW ONE BAD DAY TO CAUSE ANOTHER – Come on, it was one day in your life. Don’t carry grudges against people or situations.
  10. IF BAD DAYS BECOME CHRONIC, RE-EVLAUATE – If you continue to have bad or difficult days, then maybe you need to re-evlauate your approach, work habits, etc.
  11. NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF THE BIG PICTURE – Regardless of what happens, remember you have a purpose. Make adjustments when necessary, but stay the course and strive to exceed expectations.

There you have it, those are some of the things I learned or identified as a result of my recent bad day. I refer to them often and adjust them to fit my particular situation. I encourage you to do the same. Just remember, everyone has a bad day…EVEN IN AUSTRALIA!


You Told Them!

A very short blog to help you not make the same mistakes I did!

I learned a very valuable lesson recently. In an attempt to ease anxiety and comfort someone, I shared something that I had knowledge of I thought would help to relieve the anxiety and stress that a colleague was experiencing. Unfortunately, that information did not stay where it should. Instead it was used as a source of control, power and position, eventually getting back to the person that originally trusted me with the information. This put them in a very difficult position. 

Needless to say, I was informed by a text that simply said, “you told him?”

Wow, shock, awe and anger all welled up inside of me. I wanted to run and hide and ignore what I just read.  My gut was in knocks. I had just betrayed someone that trusted my with information. Information a senior leader in the company should have kept private. I didn’t. I used it to show my position and my arrogance of knowledge and information.   What a dummy!!!

However, I learned a lot from this;

  • You should not say anything to anyone that you wouldn’t say to them. Will it pass the red face test?
  • People will use information in order to gain influence and credibility for themselves. 
  • You must quickly iniate a dialogue with the person whose trust you betrayed. 
  • Show true humility in acknowledging your wrong doing. And sincerely apologize with immunizing the situation. 
  • Recognize your need to rebuild that trust. 
  • Immediately forgive the person that betrayed your trust. It is not their fault. You are the one who told them something you weren’t suppose to.  
  • Realize NOTHING is sacred from ANYONE at ANYTIME. If people can use the information for gain in position or influence, they will take the risk of betrayal. 
  • Work should be work and you should always understand the information you get at work is part of your job. Telling any confidential information to others is a job performance issue. 

I have personally learned this through my own stupidity and lack of good judgment. 

Even when you are trying to put someone at ease and share information, you must understand the risk level and the need for confidentiality. 

Leaders must remember we are leaders all the time, every time through every situation. We must always calculate our next move, check our hearts and motives and always do the right thing. 

Chuck Swindoll said, “If you want to be miserable, live only unto yourself. Think only about your own needs and desires.”  I believe we need to always check out heart and determine our motivation and desires. 

It’s not about you!!!!!!!