Seven Tips for “Glory Days” by John Scheib

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My next guest contributor  has the clearest understanding of priorities and what truly matters of anyone I have ever met. He is an attorney for a Fortune 250 company, but cites his greatest achievements as his wife, children, dedication Boy Scouts, and advocacy for Youth Programs.  We became friends when we volunteered our sons to tidy a block-long flower bed filled with day lilies for a friend who had cancer.  What we thought would take an hour or two, drug on until it was almost dark. Weeding and mulching in the hot  sun will tell you everything you need to know about a person’s character. John Scheib is as dedicated and trustworthy as they come, and I am proud that our families share a rock-solid friendship. 

First, “love your neighbor as yourself.”  I’ve been taught that biblical teaching by my grandparents and parents.  Treating people right is important.  It is hard.  I fail.  But that’s what I strive for.

Second, “be prepared.”  I am an Eagle Scout who had some great Scoutmasters, including Jack Leggett, John Lacy, and Paul Gladwell, who drilled this into us.  So, the Boy Scout motto has been part of my life since I was about eleven.  It has served me well for more than thirty years.  Lucky” people are really just prepared people in the right place at the right time.

Third, a work mentor, George Aspatore, once explained to me that “you can’t be great at everything, so surround yourself with people who compensate for your weakness.”  Together, we can be great at more.  The corollary is to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.  I try to build teams based on these principles.

My fourth pearl was given to me by a caddy – “ordinary people do extraordinary things.”  I was playing golf at a prestigious course and lots of famous people were around the practice area – professional athletes, a TV personality, a famous coach, and a former Member of Congress.  After a few holes, I turned to the caddy, recounted the people I had seen at the practice area, and said, you must meet the most extraordinary people here.  He responded, “Mr. Scheib, I just meet ordinary people who have done extraordinary things.  And, you must be one of them, or you wouldn’t be here.”  I don’t know about that last thing he said.  But I believe that there are ordinary people all around us who are doing extraordinary things, whether they are publicly recognized or recognizable or not.

Fifth, I had the chance to meet Amy Cuddy of Harvard Business School.  She teaches the theory of “fake it until you become it.”  I love that advice.  We are often in new situations where despite our preparedness we are just uncomfortable or unsure of our selves.  Strike a power pose, and fake it until you become.  It works.

Sixth, “steady plodding.”  That was the slogan of my first boss when I was fifteen – Terry Coffman.  It means just keep moving forward.  Lots to do; do one thing.  Tomorrow you will wish you had started today.  So get started and keep plugging away.  Terry lived it.  I have told many people that I am just striving to be half as good as Terry.

Seventh, ” I believe as long as we are trying to get a little better each day, then there are always more of our best days ahead. ” Bruce Springsteen is one of my favorite musicians.  And one of my favorite songs of his is called “Glory Days,” in which the protagonist of the song laments the fact that he believes his best days are behind him – or are at least behind the friends that he describes.  At the end of the song, Springsteen sings, “well time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days.”  The song is especially powerful when you realize that it is a trap.  The trap is that although at times we might think our glory days are behind us, not all of them are.  We just have to be patient and open to where they will come from, the form they will take, who will be in them, and what will make them new glory days.

 

 

The word “CAN’T”–remove it from your vocabulary by Ret. Captain Jack Bowers

We all have someone in our lives who took a chance on us, believed in us, or helped us get the start we needed.  Today’s contributor is that person for my husband and I.  He believed in us and set in motion a chain of events that brought us to where we are today.  I think about him often, and hope that, I too, can be that person for someone.  This entry brings tears to my eyes because I can’t believe how fortunate we were to have been the recipients of his wisdom and counsel while he was the Commanding Officer of the European Dental Command.  Thank-you, Captain Jack Bowers, for believing in us.  We promise to earn it.retirement-photo-2-1

The word “can’t” – remove it from your vocabulary.  Once the word “can’t” is verbalized, the result will be that you won’t do something, because you have set your own barrier, your own limit.  You no longer have the choice in doing something greater than what you think you might achieve.  Do not set your own limits by saying, “I can’t”, no matter how hard the challenge may seem.  Any goal can be reached, little by little, by planning the tiny little steps needed to find your way, ultimately at your goal.  Even if someone else happens to say, “You can’t do that.”, do not listen to their negativity, look for a way around obstacles, and fight to reach whatever goal you set for yourself.
Think back 100 years and imagine what your great grandparents would have said about the marvels we live with today – all possible because the word “can’t” was not allowed to stop someone from their goals and their dreams.  Now, think about 100 years from today in the future may be.  Somewhere in that dream, there is someone who will say, “I can.”  Will that someone be you?  But, equally important, is that the life you are leading now is given only once, take time to enjoy the voyage as you make your way forward to your goal and dream.  Find someone to love with all your heart.  Live life to its fullest and never ever say, “I can’t.”
 
Advice from Retired Captain Jack Bowers, Commanding Officer of the European Dental Command, devoted husband to Cindy, loving father, compassionate and dedicated leader, and wonderful friend to many.

 

The Talk by Kimberly Vaughn

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Advice from Kimberly Vaughn, wife of Navy SEAL Aaron C. Vaughn, killed in action in Afghanistan August 6, 2011.

I met Kimberly, a former Redskins cheerleader and  absolute beauty inside and out, at the bus stop when we moved to our new house.  Each morning without fail, her first grader gets on the bus, slides down the window, blows his mother a kiss and gives “air hugs.” If Kimberly isn’t able to be at the bus stop, her mother or dad bring her son and complete the same routine. I commented to her one morning, “Your family is so filled with love–I absolutely love watching your morning ritual.” She smiled and said, “Well,before we head off to school we have to make sure to give air hugs to our daddy in heaven.” I thought to myself, what a blessing to Aaron that their entire family makes him a daily, loving presence to his children–the youngest being only two months old when he lost his life serving our country.  I am attaching links to an article featured in Redbook Magazine featuring Kimberly’s story, a link to her foundation, Operation 300, an adventure camp for children who have lost a parent as a result of military service, and a link to the Facebook page, Find Aaron Vaughn’s Wedding ring.  I am a big believer in hope and I know someone out there found Aaron’s ring and just needs to know where to return it– the details following her advice.

     My husband was a Navy SEAL, and I knew his career was high risk.  And after his death I became acutely aware of how delicate life is.  It doesn’t take having someone deployed overseas to lose someone you love.  For us, every conversation about death felt like peeling back another layer of our relationship.  My advice is to talk about the small stuff:  the details of what your spouse wants if they die… from who should be with them for notification; what picture(s) to use for a memorial program; who should speak at the service, whether they want to be cremated or not and where they desire to be buried (or buried at all).  These details should all be discussed…especially those pesky money details.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen way to many families fall apart over money.  

   Just avoid the “I knew him/her best and know they would want XYZ.”  If conversations are had now where you can make known what you want, and share that with your loved ones (spouse, parents, siblings, etc.) events become much easier should death occur.  I understand that details and decisions can be made after the death of a loved one and often do, but during the mass chaos of a death with heightened feelings, especially an untimely death…decisions are very difficult to make and often everyone wants to weigh in.  Because my husband and I had talked about death and he had already told me what he wanted, I was easily able to make decisions without second guessing myself and knew I was doing what he wanted.  

Please don’t delay having a talk about death with your loved ones…you might be surprised how alive it makes you feel in your relationship.

IF YOU HAVE SEEN OR FOUND MY PRECIOUS MEMENTO, PLEASE CONTACT ME, KIMBERLY VAUGHN AT NavySEALring@gmail.com

Aaron Vaughn (US Navy SEAL) was Killed in Action in Afghanistan on August 6th, 2011. I (Kimberly) wore his wedding band as a constant reminder of our love. Unfortunately I lost it on October 1st while traveling from Houston, TX (Houston George Bush Intercontinental airport) through the Charlotte, NC airport on my way back to Washington DC. Hopefully someone will find it?!

My path of mayhem… Saturday morning, October 1st at 8:30am I left the Super 8 hotel in Deer Park, TX and then returned a rental car (Orange colored Kia Soul) to IAH from Thrifty Rental car.

I checked in for US Airways flight 1864 out of IAH (Houston George Bush Intercontinental) and then went through security boarding my flight at gate A19. I sat in seat 18E of flight 1864.

In Charlotte I switched planes boarding US Airways flight 3127 to DCA (Washington’s Reagan Airport) at gate C13. I did stop at a women’s restroom … hopefully it did not slip off my hand when I washed/dried them… Then a quick stop at TCBY and finally boarded at gate C13. I sat in seat 10A when the horrible realization hit me… I HAD LOST MY HUSBAND’S WEDDING BAND! A flight attendant took every step to help me find it aboard, but to no avail (even dismantling my seat to check every crevice!)

The ring is white gold with a flat edge and brushed satin finish. Size 9 1/2. “Kimberly” is engraved on the inside, but it’s so worn, it might not be visible.

Organization:  www.operation300.com

Redbook:  http://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/relationships/advice/a13531/planning-for-death/

Wedding Band:  https://www.facebook.com/Find-Aaron-Vaughns-Wedding-Band-280128182006800/

Aaron Vaughn Memorial Page:  https://www.facebook.com/In-Memory-of-Navy-SEAL-SOC-Aaron-Carson-Vaughn-176853535717084/

Kimberly is a Senior Program Manager for a government consulting, CACI.  She’s also in her 4th year of studies with Bellevue University obtaining her PhD in Human Capital.  Kimberly Vaughn currently resides in Virginia Beach, VA with her their two children, Reagan (7 yrs) and Chamberlyn (5 yrs).  In her spare time, she helps support Operation300, a 501(c)3 not for profit  organization started in her husband’s honor, which hosts adventure camps for children who have lost a parent as a result of military service and seeks to honor the families of the fallen.  www.Operation300.com

 

Never Say @#$% %&* on the Playground by Hadley Davidson, age 6

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   One morning, my then-first grade daughter came down the stairs in her footed pajamas, her blonde curls standing on end. I said, “Sweetheart, you look as though you tossed and turned all night.” She replied, “I slept fine—I just like the cold spots on my pillow more than the warm ones.” I replied cheekily,—“I did not know that about you. I wonder what other secrets you are keeping from your mother?” Without hesitation she stated, “Well, you probably don’t know that I know that you should not say Fuck Off on the playground.” I froze—not from fear or horror—but to keep from bursting out laughing. Now, to be fair, had she been my first, I would have enrolled her immediately in the Catholic School with the most nuns. But being my third, hearing those words come out of the mouth of a child whose lips look like they were painted by the angels, was hysterical. Using a very serious tone and wagging her finger, she cautioned, “Mommy, if you don’t want to get in trouble with the teacher, NEVER say those words on the playground. One of my friends does and gets in BIG trouble.” Trying my best to keep a straight face I replied, “Hadley, I will make sure that NEVER those words when I’m at the playground. Thank-you for that very good advice.”
     I thought her secret might be that she didn’t like chocolate cake, or wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up. I remember feeling shocked when I heard that word at 12 years old and it made me sad that my daughter was clearly well acquainted with it at age 6. I then remembered a piece of advice that came from a Family Therapist who came to my son’s school once a month for an open forum. As much as we want to swaddle our children in bubble wrap and keep them away from life’s harsh realities, she encouraged us to raise our children in the world in which they live. Teach them how to handle technology, manage their sugar intake, and make good choices in their friendships. Make them well aware of your values so when they encounter situations outside your field of protection, they will make confident decisions that are in their best interest. So as much as I as wish that the F word was not part of the vocabulary of a child who has just mastered writing her name, that she knew to caution me NOT to use it, did give me some comfort. That—and that she didn’t say she learned it from me!

The Toes You Step On One Day Are Connected to the Rear End You May Have to Kiss the Next by Mary-Jeanne’ Davidson

 

One Question

My name is Mary-Jeanne’ Davidson and I am a wife, mother of three, business person and author of this blog.  I am so grateful for the support and encouragement I have received from my family and friends for this project.  If you have any thoughts, feedback or ideas, I absolutely want to hear from you.  I am a big believer in paying things forward, so if any advice in the posts speaks to you, please share.

I first heard this piece of advice when I was in my 20’s working in Seattle.  I remember chuckling when it was told to me, but I was completely oblivious to its deep significance or how often I would end up employing it throughout my life. I can recall numerous occasions when  I have  wanted to tell someone exactly what I thought when they have upset me. However, this advice causes me to pause and taste the words in my mouth before I speak them.  And, inevitably, the caution has been well heeded because I have needed that same person’s help at some point in time and I can ask for it freely because I held my tongue.

I am grateful for this advice because it keeps me in check, helps measure my temper, and reminds me that I would rather be kind in the long run, than have that momentary feeling of victory that I filleted someone like a fish with my words.

That Moment When You Realize…by Mary-Jeanne’ Davidson

img_5698-2When I was growing up, I wanted to be Oprah or Barbara Walters and the truth of the matter is—I still do. However, I have come to that hard realization that a network is not going to come sweep me off my couch and into my own show, so I have decided to take matters into my own hands. As part of an example to my children and more importantly to myself, I have decided to carpe my own diem and bring my dream to life—just in a little different fashion. I realized that I don’t need to interview the rich or famous to be inspired, because I am surrounded by amazing people in my own life. For the next year,  I am going to ask 52 people the same question and each week, we’ll find out how someone answered it. The contributors are people I have met at different points in my life and represent the business world, the arts, working women, stay at home moms, young people, elder statesmen, and some of my closest advisers. Their different backgrounds and points of view I think will make for some very interesting reads.

 So let’s pop the champagne and get this party started!