I’ll admit it. There are many mysteries in this world I will never be able to grasp. Like, when did time begin? How big is the universe? Is there life after death? Why does a loving God let good people suffer? How can I get the flashing “12:00” on my VCR set to the correct time?
And this week I find myself confronted with yet another unfathomable enigma: Why does the entire state of Montana hate me?
That’s right. I am convinced Montana hates me. And I have absolutely no idea what I have done to offend it. You see, I periodically check Google Analytics to see where traffic to my web site comes from. I have had visitors from every continent (except Antarctica).
I have had web site visitors from Tanzania, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Belarus, China, South Korea, Ghana, and just about every nation in Europe. I’ve had visitors come all over – from Maui to Moscow, from Singapore to Sao Paolo. In the past year I have had at least one visitor from every single state in the USA…. except for… you guessed it – Montana. Not one visit from anyone in Montana in 12 months – nada –– zippo – zilch – bupkes.
It’s that time of year again – a time when we traditionally look back over the previous year and think about all the things we should be thankful for. It’s a time to remind ourselves to see that our glass is not half empty but really half full. Here are just a few things I am thankful for this time of year.
I am deeply thankful….
That I am not my neighbor Rich Donaldson. Man, what a streak of bad luck he’s been having lately. First he sells all of his stock when the market tanked at rock bottom at 6500. Then he invests his remaining life savings in a company that manufactures telephone booths, saying he was convinced cell phones were just a fad. Uh, no, Rich, not a fad. On the bright side, Rich will make you a great deal on a telephone booth. No reasonable offer will be refused. Comes complete with a Yellow Pages directory (if you’re old enough to remember what those were.)
That through a rigorous program of regular strenuous aerobic exercise and weight training, combined with a reduced calorie diet consisting mostly of kelp, almonds and curdled skim milk, over the past three months I’ve only put on two pounds.
As most of you know, over the past 25 years, I have been a highly sought-after lecturer / motivational speaker on business success strategies (gleaned largely from lessons I learned by making boneheaded business mistakes over the past 25 years). Every organization’s success is built on (brutally beating down) the backs of its frontline employees.
Business experts like myself – and even experts not like myself – have long known that employee recognition programs are a powerful way to reward your employees for their efforts. These programs build loyalty and reduce turnover, while at the same time improving systems, reducing waste, increasing customer satisfaction levels and keeping trophy companies in business.
Thanks to innovative employee recognition programs, every year motivated employees find creative ways to eliminate redundancies, cut costs, improve efficiencies, and leapfrog over obnoxious rival suck-ups competing with you for that next promotion.
There are a variety of highly effective employee recognition incentives, from nifty restaurant gift certificates to prime location parking spaces to those popular Employee of the Month plaques in the lobby that list the name of the same employee, Lin Chong (left), every month from January 2003 through October 2010 except for two months in 2008 when she was briefly out for chemotherapy for a life-threatening illness. In each case, these highly motivating incentives cost their employer roughly the cost of one cartridge of black inkjet printer toner.
As far as I know, I am not the strongest man in the world. I doubt I would ever be mistaken for the fastest either. But I think I can say with a high degree of confidence, that if there were a category in the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s MOST INFLEXIBLE HUMAN BEING, my picture would appear.
Our family recently joined a health club. What a terrible mistake that was. This past week, I took my very first YOGA class ever. Oh My God. Somehow – don’t ask me how – I made it through it. But if you’re over 50 and have never tried yoga before, let mine be a cautionary tale. Don’t even think about trying yoga – unless you enjoy intense pain coupled with public humiliation.
My competition in the class looked harmless enough: 15 women of various ages and sizes and three men of Indian descent who appeared to be in top physical fitness. These 15 women and the three Indian men (who, as best as I could tell came straight out of yoga central casting) all came equipped with their yoga mats, matching yoga outfits and bare feet. There was this one lone middle-aged white guy who came in without a yoga mat, wearing a dorky T-shirt that read “I’m in shape. Round is a shape” and sporting conspicuous white socks and sneakers. That middle-aged white guy would be me. In retrospect, I’m surprised an alarm bell did not sound the moment I walked through the door, declaring that a yoga pretender was attempting to break into this yoga sanctuary. I had absolutely no business being there.