Teach What You Know

I’m a big believer in credit unions and have been a member of mine for 35 years–which is why I do so much work with credit unions. Three people who work for a national association of credit unions have become more than clients, they are friends. When all three came to San Diego from Wisconsin for a vacation (and to celebrate a birthday) I insisted that they come over to my house (by the beach) and that I would teach them how to surf. They chose stand up paddle boarding instead.

The weekday morning they were scheduled to come over I got a text, “It looks cloudy and cold, maybe we should cancel.” I wasn’t going to let that happen, so I told them I would rent them all wetsuits. It ended up raining while they were out paddling around, but they couldn’t care less, they were having a blast. It was a magical day that they would have missed if they bailed because of a little weather. (It actually rained a little which made it even more unique.)

For me, I gave them instruction before they headed out and it was so satisfying to see them have success–not falling in–and watch them do something for the first time. Is there anything better than teaching others? I think not. What is something you know about and can teach it to others?

Teach What You Know

Play it Loud

What’s the best thing about playing music? It’s when everyone in a band is on the same page and playing the same note perfectly . . . live. I have a buddy who has a lot going on in his life (I get it) but we could have played several live shows, but he’s never available–and he’s the singer, so . . .

To me there is nothing better than playing music in front of other people. There will come a time when nobody will care about what we want to play and / or we’ll be too old to play it. I say, let’s go, let’s play now. That’s me. I am always up for a gig. Others, not so much. To them, there is always tomorrow.

To me, tomorrow is today. What’s something you love to do, but don’t do enough? I am now looking for other musicians who want to play live. What are you doing to do more of what you love to do?

Play it Loud

Keep Swimming

In the animated film, “Finding Nemo,” the main character (Dory) remembers something her long lost parents told her–which is to keep swimming . . . no matter what.

I’ll be honest, I was disappointed that my last book, “Sunshine” did not sell well. I dropped everything to write the book for my dying friend. I did it for her, but I sacrificed a lot to do it. (I lost a ton of work–and future work–while staying committed to the project.)

I put my heart and soul into that book and hoped more people would resonate with the message (live now so you won’t have regrets later, and don’t use your past as an excuse for where you are today) but alas, it wasn’t a strong seller.

After the book was out for a while I told my wife, “That’s it, I’m not spending months of my life on another book again . . . ever.”

Then I got an especially nice note from a reader (Wednesday Moore) and I changed my tune. Sales numbers are nice, but having people tell you your work matters is equally important.

So what if people didn’t buy the book? That doesn’t mean it wasn’t worthwhile work–which it was. In fact, winning the award for Best Memoir in 2017 proved it.

I’m not giving up writing books. However, I’m writing my next one for me. It’s intensely personal and I don’t care if it sells or not. I’m working on it because I want to read it.

Waiting for others to tell us we’re great, or our work is exceptional, can be frustrating–because it may never happen. Pursue what you love, do the best you can, and let it go. At least that’s what I plan to do.

Sunshine wants you to hear her story and words of wisdom.

Keep Swimming

It’s Not Too Late . . . For a Second Career

Anthony DeSio lost his job as an aerospace engineer after his position was eliminated in 1978. He was fifty years old. That’s when he moved to San Diego to start a business, any business. In 1980 he opened his first Mailboxes Etc. in Carlsbad. 

When he went to the bank to ask for money to expand, they laughed at him for thinking he could go up against the Post Office–so he turned to franchising, and the rest is history. At their peak, their were thousands of Mailbox Etc. locations nationwide.

To recap: Anthony lost his job, moved to a new town, started his first business after the age of 50, in an industry he knew nothing about, and made millions. Inspiring.

It’s Not Too Late . . . For a Second Career

Murder Mystery

In all the years I have been doing a blog and newsletter, I have tried to not repeat myself. So, here is something I’ve never done before–a murder mystery. It should only take a few minutes to solve. I’ll put the “whodunnit” at the end of the post.

Alan was a guitar virtuoso, a legend in the music industry. The fact he never stuck with a band for more than a tour at a time had to do with his demeanor (he was often drunk, disagreeable, and difficult) but boy could he play.

On this particular tour he may have went too far. Everyone was furious with Alan–the group’s manager complained about his tardiness, the band felt he was stealing the show and their girls, and the roadies were annoyed and appalled by the way he mistreated his instruments and equipment.

When he was found dead just before the last show of the tour, there was no lack of suspects. The manager was the one to find him backstage. Alan was on the ground in a fetal position with his guitar strapped on and plugged in. There was a broken bottle of Vodka at his feet. 

After finding out their lead guitarist was dead (at their managers’ suggestion) the singer, bass player, and drummer all agreed to do the show while the roadies packed up his gear.

There was no obvious cause of death, and everyone was busy before the show and nowhere near Alan–who set up a makeshift area backstage to warm up alone. So who killed him?



The Killer is . . .

It seemed like all of the characters had a motive to kill Alan, the gruff guitarist. However, nobody actually did it. The clues were that he was a drunk, did not take care of his gear, and warmed up alone. Alan electrocuted himself when a vodka bottle fell and broke on his already damaged electric equipment in his solitary practice area.

Murder Mystery

Still Going Strong

So, if 50 is the new 40, what is seventy years-old? It’s certainly not what it used to be. 

Take for example this list of rockers; Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Steve Miller, Bob Seger, Daryl Hall, John Oates, Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Jimmy Buffett. All of these artists are 70 or older, and all are still actively touring.

I recall watching Jack LaLanne as a kid—he seemed old even then—and yet he was doing amazing physical feats despite his advancing years.

Like Jack LaLanne, my father was a fitness fanatic and was able to do things in his sixties that many younger men could not. He changed the way I think about “old” age.

I’m 52, and other than a few minor aches and pains, I feel great. It would be easy to say I’m too old to do this or that, but I want to be an inspiration for my kids like my father was for me.

Whatever age you are, don’t let people tell you that you are too old or too young to do something. Find examples of others who have done what you want to do at the same age. If there isn’t anyone, all the better, be the first.

Still Going Strong

Mind Control Over Others?

The customer is always right. Right? That statement has always bothered me because half the time the customer is wrong. However—and this is a big however—we have to let them believe they are right, even when they are way wrong.

This article is about three ways to deal with difficult customers—before they become difficult. All of these ideas are based on one undeniable truth, we can’t change people (or mind control them—someday there will be an app for that).

If we can’t change others behavior, then what can we do? Try these ideas on for size to see if we can’t control their minds at least a little bit.

What we put out, we get back.

We set the tone with customers. Sure, some people are just grumpy or have “issues” that have nothing to do with us and are insurmountable. That said, the bulk of our customers come to us in a fairly good mood and are excited to be doing business with us. So what makes them turn on us? More importantly, how do we prevent it?

I know this will sound hokey, but when we smile, the world indeed smiles back at us. I’m serious, how we greet people (with a smile, using their name when we can, and a quick compliment about something they are wearing) gets us off on the right foot. It’s a personal touch which takes time, but in the end saves time when that’s one less person we have to deal with later because we’ve already won them over.

Taking the time to smile, learn their name, and compliment them shows respect. That’s (almost) all people want, R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Respect for their business, their time, and their status (whatever that may be).

Give them a reputation to live up to.

Let’s try an experiment. I want you to try to not picture a big white Polar Bear. Ha, you can’t not, not picture a Polar Bear, right? (A few of you may have been able to steel off your mind, but the rest of us see a bear when asked not to.) The flip side of this is when we tell people they are understanding, cooperative, fun, easy going, and a joy to be around, they can’t help themselves from going there. They become the person we labeled them to be. In other words, they live up to our expectations.

I know what you’re thinking, when things go wrong, they’ll just revert to their old selves again. Not always. Isn’t it silly when we attend a concert and the rock star acknowledges our hometown and we all cheer. “Hellooooo Detroit.” That’s a set up, but it works every time. Let’s plant the seed (early) with our customers that they are the kind of people who are spontaneous (they are flexible enough to go with the flow when plans change), resourceful (they’re willing to make things work even when they’re not), and team players (we’re all in this together, so let’s stick together no matter what).

Mind Control Over Others?