Archive for October 2006

What Makes You Laugh?

Samantha, our eight month old, loves it when I rub my beard on her belly. We play the beard-rubbing-belly game as often as possible. My new favorite sound is the joy-filled laughter of my beautiful daughter…it fills me with such a sense of joy, appreciation, and fulfillment. I love it and no matter what kind of day I’ve had, as soon as I hear her laugh and see her smiling face, all is well.

What makes you laugh? And when I say laugh, I mean that deep, belly laugh that makes your toes tingle and your face hurt. Some of us don’t have the opportunity to laugh like that very often. Most of us did as kids, remember? The power of laughter is incredible. Scientists have proven that laughing can heal our bodies and, of course, lift our spirits.

My friends Matthew and Terces Englehart have a powerful workshop called “The Abounding River.” This workshop is all about abundance and gratitude. They believe that it is essential to laugh deeply on a daily basis and by doing so, we open ourselves up to receiving abundance in our lives. Throughout their workshop, there are many times when the entire group has to stop and laugh as hard and as loud as possible for an entire minute. It is a great exercise.

Check out the Abounding River workshop website, which also happens to be the website for Matthew and Terces‘ amazing local chain of raw food restaurants located here in the San Francisco Bay Area called Cafe Gratitude – http://www.withthecurrent.com/ Their site, their restaurants, and their work are amazing.

This week, see if you can find that place within you that loves to laugh and let your laughter out. Laughter is one of the best, most powerful energies we can express. And, when we do we tap into deep passion, excitement, and gratitude within us. What a great way to live!

With Appreciation and LAUGHTER,

Mike

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Relationships Over Wins

Earlier this week the Oakland A’s fired their manager Ken Macha. To many people, myself included, this came as a bit of a shock for a number of reasons. First of all, the A’s have done extremely well over the past four years with Macha as their manager. They won the American League West Division in both 2003 and 2006. The two years that they didn’t win the division, they came in second and had a shot at winning it both years. This season they finally got past the first round of the playoffs and even though they got swept in the ALCS by the Detroit Tigers, most people, even people like me who are die-hard A’s fans, agree that they had a great season. Second of all, Ken Macha has the fourth best winning percentage of all time for a Major League manager after his first four years. And finally, the “small market,” money conscious A’s still own him another $2,000,000 on his contract over the next two years.

Even with all of these factors, they still decided to fire him. According to the news reports and quotes from the players, it wasn’t about his ability to manage the team, understand baseball, and make decisions on the field, it was more about his communication, or lack thereof, and the way he dealt with the players that was the issue.

As an A’s fan, I have mixed feelings about firing a manager like Ken Macha who has been so successful. As someone who believes in the power of relationships, communication, and, of course, the importance appreciation, I’m actually glad to see that the “powers that be” within the A’s organization, Major League baseball, and society at large are becoming more aware of the importance of these “soft skills.” Even in the bottom-line world of professional sports and corporate business, if leaders, managers, and people in general are not good at communicating, appreciating, and building relationships, they will not create positive and productive environments around them and ultimately will not truly be successful. No matter how many games we win, sales we close, or results we produce, how we treat one another is always the most important thing.

This week see if you can put a little more attention on how you relate to others and a little less attention on your results (or theirs). See what happens!

Have a great week…

With Appreciation,

Mike

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Perspective

Yesterday afternoon (10/11/06) I turned on CNN and was shocked to learn about the plane crash in NY City that killed Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle. I was about to head out the door to the Oakland Coliseum to watch Game 2 of the American League Championship Series between the Oakland A’s and the Detroit Tigers with my wife and daughter. I was stunned and really impacted by this tragic news. While I did not know Cory and we never played together, I felt as if I had lost someone I knew. We are about the same age, he played with many former teammates of mine, and I watched him pitch in Oakland dozens of times. I couldn’t stop thinking about his family – he left behind a wife who he’d been with since high school and a six year old son.

In light of hearing about his death, my concerns about whether or not the A’s were going to win Game 2 of the ALCS didn’t seem like that big of a deal. My self-consciousness about attending my college reunion this coming weekend didn’t seem to bother me too much. And, the many, many things on my to-do list that I’d been pretty stressed out about earlier in the day seemed meaningless.

I’m always amazed at how easily I forget to keep things in perspective. A tragic loss like this is an important reminder for all of us about the unpredictability of life and how precious each moment truly is. Cory Lidle had so many things going for him – a 9 year Major League career, a lot of money, a family he loved, and a handful of productive years in the Big Leagues still ahead of him. And, just like that, he’s gone.

Today, take the opportunity to reach out to someone you love and let them know. Take a moment to stop, reflect, and remember who you really are and what is really important to you. If we lived our lives each day a little more aware of our own inevitable death, we would all do and say things in a much different, more authentic, and more conscious way. My prayers and blessings go out to Cory Lidle’s family…and to each of us on the planet in this incredible moment. My prayer is that we all remember how important each moment is and continue to practice appreciation and gratitude all the time.

With Appreciation,

Mike

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Appreciating Great Books

Jack Canfield and Gay Hendricks just released an awesome book called You’ve Got to Read this Book. It is a series of stories written by well known people about books that changed their lives. The book is powerful and such a great reminder of the positive power of the written word. There have been so many books that have impacted my life in a positive way – from Where the Wild Things Are when I was a kid, to my fourth grade teacher reading us The Indian in the Cupboard, to the many personal development, self-help, and spiritual books I have read over the past 15 years.

Ironically, it was a book written by Gay Henricks, and his wife Kathlyn, that came to mind when I was running this morning and thinking about books that have impacted me in a deep and meanngful way. Their book, Concious Loving – The Journey to Co-Committment, altered the way I thought about romantic relationships and really nourished me in a great way. What I learned from that book helped me enormously in creating the fabulous relationship that I have with my amazing wife Michelle. We truly have a “co-committed” relationship and I am grateful to have read the Hendricks’ book.

This week, look for a book that will “rock your world.” For suggestions, check out the recommended books page of my website: http://www.www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1401944558/s.htm

Thanks for reading my new blog. This is fun…

Have a great week!

With Gratitude,

Mike

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