Life

My Soapbox: Life is an echo

Karma

When you carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel.
Harold Kushner

Life is an echo.

Christmas is often the best time to see the true character of people. You see the good and the bad. You see those who find great joy in giving to family, to friends, and to those in need. You see those that seem to take joy mostly in receiving from family and friends. You see those that love unconditionally and show that love through physical and verbal manifestations of caring. And you see those that truly don’t seem to have an ounce of caring inside. Yes, the negative of Christmas is that sometimes it brings out the very worst in people or at least makes the bad that’s already inside much clearer. It highlights the negative like the bright lights on Michigan Ave in Chicago highlight the stores or the shiny garland and ornaments highlight Christmas trees.

Today, my soapbox message is a simple one and it is a message that has been delivered through centuries and ages. From spiritual leaders and deities, to actors, comedians, and politicians; and everyone in between. It is this: Doing good feels good. Loving feels good. Giving feels good. Supporting feels good. Commiserating feels good. Forgiving feels good. And, even better, in addition to feeling good you have the additional benefit that people return all of the above right back to you. Yes, absolutely true and proven time and time again is the Golden Rule that one does unto others as he or she wants done unto him; Do good. Feel good. Receive good.

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This is the time to forgive. This is the time to perform a random act of kindness. This is the time to love. This is the time to understand and ask questions. To listen. It is not the time to hold grudges or seek revenge. It is not the time to be angry or jealous. It is not the time to fight over material things or hurt feelings.
I’m posting on #karma today on my facebook page, LinkedIn, Instagram, and twitter. If you follow me on all, you will see several thought provoking images. Confucius, Jesus Christ, Buddha and several other great thinkers and spiritual leaders all seemed to believe that what goes around comes around and it is better to do good thing to do ill.

Thanks for reading another soapbox rant. Smile. What are your thoughts on karma or The Golden Rule? Have you experienced personally or through someone else the results of bad Karma? Seen someone blessed beyond imagining after doing good and giving sacrificially? Share below please. I would love to hear what you think.

Be Well. Lead On.

Adam

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#LifeNotes: Special note in memory of the cute little kitten

I wanted to post a quick blog on something completely unrelated to my normal topics. I typically talk about leadership, technology, life, food and wine. So, this is completely random and it will be very brief. So thanks in advance for humoring me and reading.

Today, I delivered a stray kitten that had been left under my back deck to the Anti Cruelty Society in downtown Chicago. I found the little guy yesterday and knew immediately that he was too young to have been left alone and that he was likely going to die if he did not receive urgent care. Further, I suspected that having been abandoned by a likely nursing mother, it would be difficult for the cat to survive even under the best of care. That said, I still had a little glimmer of hope that if I were able to deliver the kitten to the society something would be done and he would have a chance.

Unfortunately, that was not the case and as I delivered the cat, I was told that he would have to be euthanized because at two weeks old there was no way he could survive without the mother. I looked into the cute black eyes of the teeny cat that I had grown fond of in such a short period of time that he was in my care and I said goodbye and wished him peace. I do know that had I left him outside he would have died regardless and would have died alone, hot, and uncomfortable. Now, a very simple and painless procedure will be performed and he will fall asleep and rest for good.

My little furball that I had for just a day will be gone before the next 12 hours pass.

So, why did I put this into a blog and what should it mean to you? Well, if nothing else comes from this, hopefully I can share the information that I received from the anti-cruelty society.

First: if you have pets yourself please spay or neuter them. On the off chance that something were to happen where they were lost or somehow out of your sight they could produce children that could be abandoned like the little kitten that I found.

Second: most large cities have programs whereby you are able to humanely trap feral cats or dogs and bring them to the city or to the local Cruelty Society. They can be spayed or neutered for free, then released back if necessary into their outdoor environment. I realize that everyone is not able to or interested in adopting a pet, however we can control the pet population and help avoid abandonment and unloved animals with these types of programs.

Finally, if you do have room in your home or in your heart for pets, I absolutely believe they can bring joy into the most dower household. Therefore I encourage you to consider adopting a pet or making a donation to your local animal welfare or adoption center.

I wasn’t able to save the cute little guy that I found under my back stairs but I hope that we can save another little guy, control the pet population, and perhaps bring a little joy to someone’s house while providing love and shelter for a little kitten.

Be Well. Lead On.

Adam

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Update on my Travel Goal

***Updated June 13, 2013 from blog post of June 2012***
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Most of you know of my goal to visit, live or work in at least 50 countries before I turn 50. When I set the goal I remember thinking how far away I was to both 50s!! Now, not so much!! I thought I would post my list and provide an update. I’ve also posted my targets for hitting the remaining countries!

VISITED THUS FAR:
South Africa
Botswana
Zimbabwe
Egypt
Morocco

Italy (Holiday June 2013 really enhanced experience of this country)
Spain
France
Hungary
Czech Republic

United Kingdom (England, Scotland)
Ireland
Switzerland
Germany
Netherlands

Turks and Caicos
Virgin Islands – st john, st thomas
Bahamas
Mauritius
United States

Denmark
Belgium
Austria
Holy See (Vatican City)
Canada

Costa Rica
Puerto Rico
Mexico
Brazil
Argentina

Singapore
Hong Kong
Japan
India
Thailand

Australia
New Zealand
Portugal
Poland
Greece

Turkey

Total: 41 as of June 2013

Removed due to short length of visit:
Namibia (1999)
Zambia (1999)
United Arab Emirates (Dubai 2012)

Target 2013/14:
Romania
Croatia
Israel

Dream finish:
Fiji
Kenya
Nigeria
Ghana
Bali
Tanzania
Madagascar

I still won’t advertise my age but at least you know how many countries. Let me know where you think I should try to go next. Do you agree with my dream countries?

I love meeting people, learning about different cultures and, of course, eating food at great restaurants around the world. Happy to share this part of my life with you.

In global citizenship,
Adam

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My soapbox: Aim for life connections instead of networking

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Networking or making life connectionsI met someone this afternoon with whom I truly felt an immediate connection. It was scheduled to be a “career conversation” but instead was an open introduction, over tea, and very casual. The conversation reminded me of a question someone asked me recently: “How can I get better at networking like you?” Those who truly know me realize just how much this question disturbs me. But to many, this would be considered flattery. I do not consider it so at all.

The fact is, I am not a networker. In fact, I detest networking.

Networking is to me a very clinical term, and reminds me of the technology of networking. I know that like various applications in a bank, I am connected to various people. Some linkages were planned and chosen carefully, others stepped in to a role that was by default in my network. Within a network, we depend on each other to work and do our part, and if one portion of the network is significantly damaged, the rest of the network is damaged. I know that to some extent, my success depends on others in the network being able to carry something from me and me in exchange carrying something back. Networking is a fact of corporate (and community) life. However …

I am not a circuit or a router. I am a human being.

When I am in my final minutes of life, perhaps I will think to myself, “If only I had made that one additional link that would have opened up my network to another dimension!” Of course not! I like people. (Of all types! Really! Click here for a blog I wrote on the topic, noting that yes, I even love jerks and *€$holes. I just don’t necessarily want to work with them.) In any corporate network, there must be someone that is necessary but not wanted. God, I never want to be that person.

I prefer to make life connections.

Life connections are not always about business. Some examples:

– Getting to know all of the bartenders at the Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel in London. Learning how each came from their home countries of Italy, Russia, and elsewhere, to London and why they are so passionate about cocktails. Enjoying a laugh or two whilst enjoying a cocktail or three. Side bonus: I have been introduced to a popular chef/mixologist in my hometown of Chicago for when I return. Plus, the Artesian has become a great place I can bring clients, colleagues, and other connections.

– Building a relationship of trust with my vendor partners and colleagues whereby they share personal details of their lives with me and allow me into their world. Sharing a good meal and a great bottle of wine with no talk of contracts or issues. Side bonus: we find connections we did not know existed and ways in which we can help each other out in so many more ways that traditional sourcing relationships. And, as we move to different roles in different organizations, we can call on each other for advice and support.

– Introducing two people, not because I think they can help each other, but because I just think they are both just really really cool people. Watching them get to know each other and become friends. Side bonus: people have done the same to me, bringing some of the most wonderful people I currently know into my life.

– Having a cocktail party at my house with a mixture of people I have met through work, the neighborhood coffee shop, and other connection points. Looking around and seeing there are people from five different countries with incomes and careers as diverse as chalk and cheese. Witnessing how they all learn from each other: new recipes, fashion styles, tax policy changes, technologies, dating schemes, relationship tips…. Side bonus: Learning myself about all of the above!

Many people will classify the above as examples of networking, and perhaps they are. And, to be clear, I’m not necessarily against networking entirely. I just think it is critical people start with the right perspective. And be honest! If you really just want to meet me for what I can do for you, or who I can introduce, just come out and say it. At least you will save some time! But, I encourage you to take some time to get to know yourself better, enjoy meeting people just because, and see the amazing things that will come out of your connections forged by respect, trust, and integrity. It is amazing how much more one can get from a relationship when he leads from the heart and the mind.

Enough! Off the soapbox, here is some reading …

For those of you who REALLY want to get good at Networking, especially the shy ones, here is a decent CIO magazine article on the topic.

For those of you who like me want to learn how to be a better person and know that success that comes from good just feels better inside, there are a couple of good links for you. Yes, they are a bit kooky. And there will be some who succeed despite being downright bad people (I can name a few.) But, I choose to succeed, or fail, with my values intact. Here are a few links for you:
24 ways to be a better person
How to be a good person in 5 steps

And for those few out there (certainly not a regular reader of my rants) that are downright sinister and yet deep down feel they want to be good, there is even some help for you. I found this one both intriguing and humorous.

Thanks for reading another soapbox rant. I would love to hear what you think about networking and making life connections.

Be Well. Lead On.

Adam

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Contemplating a dream in 2013

I couldn’t imagine a more fitting tribute to the legacy and life of Martin Luther King Jr than the second term inauguration of President Barack Obama on the day Americans celebrate his birthday. So in honour of the day, I thought I would share a few of my favorite MLK quotes and what they have meant to me personally.President ObamaMLK

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr.

For me, this has meant taking on challenges that are nasty, gnarly, and complex. It is easy to be calm and composed when things are going well, my daily challenge is to keep the positivity and fresh perspective even when it seems the cards are all stacked against me.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As a leader of large organisations, I have found several people that spend weeks, months, years! trying to get to an agreement on direction and strategy. And nothing gets done. This quote inspires me to try to balance democracy with action. Getting things done by gathering opinion quickly and getting to a decision, then driving support for the decision.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. Martin Luther King, Jr.

If I had a dollar for every person that smiled in my face then stabbed me in the back … well France would take 75% of it in taxes….. Also, we all know those types that beat us up when things are bad and forget to make any comments when things are good. Finally, there are some people that despite the best intentions just screw up. For all of the above, my philosophy is based on MLK’s principles (borrowed, of course, from the teachings in the Bible): Forgive! Forgive! Forgive! I frankly don’t have the time or energy to hold grudges. Don’t be fooled, however, into thinking that means I can be walked over. I do act and take decisions based on the grievances. I simply move on immediately thereafter.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

See above! And, also my previous blogs on who to love. Life is simply too short to do anything less than love unconditionally.

That’s my short list and there are many many more quotes from this great yet flawed man. I learn much from him and from others and look forward to gleaning from the texts of today’s leaders for examples, both good and bad, of being a leader in this changing world.

For today, I say congratulations to President Barack Obama and to his family. May the next four years bring you the sense of accomplishment you desire but also the peace and love that comes with family, friends, and a sense that you have not compromised your values.

Be Well. Lead On.

Adam

Follow me on twitter http://www.twitter.com/alswhartonAdam L. Stanley | ALSWharton Connections

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For more information on life, work, and death of Martin Luther King Jr, here are a few web sources:
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-bio.html
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkivebeentothemountaintop.htm
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/martin_luther_king_jr.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/king_martin_luther.shtml

Lesism – by Les Floyd: With Friends Like These…

Currently my favorite blog post ever…. So many people need to see this one.

Lesism – by Les Floyd: With Friends Like These….

Favorite Excerpts:

… we accept such sustained criticism and destructive negativity from ourselves – truly the one person in the world who is always with us, and who we should be able to rely on at all times.

The storage device in your head is not you – it just records what you’ve done, where you’ve been, who you’ve met and what you’ve seen – and when it mocks, insults or criticises you, it only does so because it’s not working as it should.

http://blog.alswharton.com/2012/01/23/who-do-you-love/

Revisiting “Who Do You Love?

“There is within each one of us a potential for goodness beyond our imagining; for giving which seeks no reward; for listening without judgment; for loving unconditionally.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

I recently wrote a blog on loving people of all types, just because. I asked the question: If we assume that everyone is flawed in someway, don’t we all at least equally deserve love?So I created a list of all kinds of ways people are described everyday and urged folks to just go ahead and love all of them!

A former colleague of mine, Gary, introduced me to , a cool online tool and I had to try it out. So I used their online tool to turn my blog laundry list into a graphic. Thanks for the introduction Gary and, to my readers, thanks for humouring me!

Here it is:

http://blog.alswharton.com/2012/01/23/who-do-you-love/

And here is the link to the original blog post.

Be Well. Lead On.
Adam

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My soapbox: Who do you Love?

“Each relationship between two persons is absolutely unique. That is why you cannot love two people the same. It simply is not possible. You love each person differently because of who they are and the uniqueness that they draw out of you.” ― William P. Young, The Shack

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Do you have friends that seem great at tearing you down but never seem to build you up? Even worse, are you such a friend? I will admit there are a couple of people in my life that I am convinced accept me solely because of my corporate success or other temporal aspects of being. I sometimes get the sense that if I were homeless, had children out of wedlock, were exceptionally unattractive based on their criteria, or otherwise against their standards for who to love and appreciate, I would be a side thought. So, I spent the weekend thinking about who I love and who deserves to be loved. The answer is: EVERYONE AND NOONE. If we used the standard of truly deserving to be loved, perfectly living God-fearing saints, there would be ZERO people that should be loved. However, if we assume that everyone is flawed, don’t we all at least equally deserve love?

So, who do you love? Here is my list.

unresponsive, overdramatic
Predictable, blond
Grumpy,
determined
Passionate, judgmental, introverted
angry, short
restless
distracted
Hindu
Bald, chubby
complicated, idealistic, dissatisfied, anxious
Brunette, nosy, knowledgeable
trustworthy
polite, picky
cheerful, beautiful
observant
Fit
insecure, doubtful, tall
cheeky, single
grateful
Nervous, handsome
Fashionable
encouraging
simple, Buddhist
dependent, rude
awkward, Christian
naïve, divorced
Obese, plain, scruffy
self-conscious
pessimistic, Latino,
hot!
incompetent, conservative
inflexible, straight, Chinese
cowardly
Unkempt
Stupid, bitchy, liberal
Widowed, vulgar
selfish, unhappy
cynical, gay, married
needy, feminine
Kind, frumpy
Hairy, suave, healthy
Irrational
Sexy
childish, passive
calculating
Lesbian
fussy, camp
quixotic, Caucasian
Irritating, nice, sweet, helpful
understanding
sympathetic
smart, black
friendly
Vegan
indecisive, redhead
anal, diplomatic, sentimental
Addicted
Organized
Fat
dependable, long hair
Masculine, tolerant
modest, short
romantic
reflective, clean
Meat and potatoes only
confident
TOTAL ASSHOLE
Bipolar
logical
Australian, British, Kiwi
sensible
engaging
cute, aware
Self-righteous
dedicated
loving, queeny
impatient, stubborn, critical
talkative
reciprocating, meticulous, short hair
Tall, naughty
patient
loyal, compassionate
forgiving
admiring, silly, faithful, caring
considerate, skinny
apologetic
Dirty
Flawed

I’m sure I’ve missed some traits or groups but I think you get the picture. Imagine if everyone person to whom you showed love resulted in another person loving you? The person you dismiss because of their speaking style, their clothing, their job or lack thereof, their race or religion …. May just be the person that changes your life one day. And perhaps, by showing love to that one stranger, you just might change theirs.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 (TNIV)

“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” Mitch Albom

“Selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either.” Erich Fromm

Love BIG. Lead on.
Best,
Adam

Adam L. Stanley

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“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

— Winston Churchill

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Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. by Living, Learning, and Loving

Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. by Living, Learning, and Loving

Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King Jr

Those of you who follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or just occasionally read this blog likely have gotten a sense of what is most important to me.

1) Living, an easy word so misunderstood by most, is a major focus. I mean truly living. Enjoying your days and nights, doing things that excite you, finding balance between various areas of your life so that each minute is more valuable and your regrets later in life are minimized. Make that call you have been putting off. Take that vacation you dreamed of. You don’t have to declare “email bankruptcy” but you can find balance by just cutting an hour off the time you spend each night on email or staring at your smart phone.

2) Learning – travelling, meeting new people, listening to elders, studying, reading, writing …. doing whatever I can to become a better person and to help others become better people. They say a person learns the most before they are 7 years old. But you don’t have to STOP learning then, as it seems so many people have done. It thrills me every time I meet someone different than me. Sitting with my grandmother in her last days was fantastic as I was able to glean from her almost 90 years of living. Never stop learning.

3) Loving – LOVE BIG, even at the risk of being hurt. Give those around you your best. Hug a lot, and not just those “pat on the back” hugs. I mean those hugs like my grandpa used to give me that made me think I was going to suffocate but man, did I feel the love. Hug BIG! Say thank you often and do little things that can mean so much at the right time. FORGIVE!!! Think of someone you love right now. If you love big, you should be smiling! Because no matter their faults or crimes, people you love should matter. Always. And finally, LOVE even those you do not know. There are so many people out there that have no family. They need you to show LOVE by giving and reaching out.

Living, Learning, and Loving

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I want to share my favorite quotes from the man that was flawed as we all are but did his part to advance the conversation. His words serve as inspiration to me in some ways, and admonishment in others. He spoke often of living, loving and learning and quotes around these topics have tended to be my favorites!

Living

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

Learning

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

Loving

The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.

Adam L. Stanley
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“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

— Winston Churchill

Finding Balance in Life

Decide what truly matters to you and LIVE

Do YOU have balance? Do you live to work or work so that you may LIVE? That’s an interesting question for many, and several people that THINK they have balance may be surprised by what they hear when close friends and family members are asked. I was such a neglectful friend and still am sometimes. I now commit to and strive to find balance between all of the things that should matter to me. Not simply work. Perhaps the best quote on balance came from James Patterson in his book “Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas”.

“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day, you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls — family, health, friends, integrity — are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.

Glass BallAnd once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have beginnings of balance in your life.”

James Patterson, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas

Ball #1: Family

I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich. ~Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford, “Identity Crisis,” M*A*S*H

I do most of my writing, reading, and remote working in my library at home. I have comfortable brown leather chairs, an HP Touchsmart PC, and am surrounding by hundreds of books I have read over the years, dozens of magazines and lots of photos of the people in my life that matter most. My family means the world to me, and I would do just about anything for them. Yet, as many corporate folks tend to do, I have found myself in utter neglect of them from time to time. Travelling for work, staying up at all hours on my PC yet not picking up the phone to call, and being only semi-present when I am actually with them are just some of the ways I have risked damaging this “ball”.

The family – that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to. ~Dodie Smith

Have you neglected those people most strongly in your corner, your family? I reaffirm today my commitment to family, and to always remind those that work for or with me that “family comes first”.

Ball #2: Health

“A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” Spanish Proverb

And how!! It took gaining 20 pounds, seeing my blood pressure steadily rise, and waking up a few too many times with unexplained headaches, body aches, or other manner of ailments to realize I had to slow down.

“So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.”A. J. Reb Materi

I worked so many hours, traveled, stared at my PC, responded to BlackBerry messages and texts, and was basically connected to work 20 hours a day at least. And I was slowly reducing my lifespan. Period. This summer, for the first time since I was 15, I took a sabbatical of sorts.

I became a Vegan. Yep. Cold turkey, I stopped eating meat, dairy, and anything that did not come from the ground. I posted tons of food photos of my daily meals (Flikr followers can see them) and enjoyed feeling better than I had for years. I became the foursquare “Mayor” of my gym, believe it or not, and targeted averaging 7-8 hours of sleep per night instead of 4-5. And I lost about 15 pounds, almost all of them “fat pounds”.

My change was somewhat drastic and I will admit, cooking three meals a day is not easy when working full-time. But, imagine if you do a little bit every day to better manage your health. Try not to get to the point where you have a medical emergency. Will you pledge to proactively write YOUR health story?

“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.” Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.

Ball #3: Friends

A friend is one who knows us, but loves us anyway. — Fr. Jerome Cummings

I often think of all of the amazing things my parents taught me over the years. How to be a responsible man, work hard, and respect people. They taught me how to build things and fend for myself. And they taught me the types of people I should avoid because they were bad influences or trouble makers. In many ways, they helped me get better at finding friends. Strangely, what they could not really teach me, and it takes years to get good at, was actually BEING a friend. When you find someone who is good at being a friend, you’ve really been blessed.

Friends
Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure. — Jewish Saying

My friends know me, not just corporate me, religious me, or party me. They know all of me. My true friends know the good and the bad and they accept all of it (not necessarily liking all of it, but loving me all the same). At the end of a tough day at work, a call or text from a friend that simply says “Thinking of you and hoping you are being good to YOU” means the world.

In my blog post on Thoughts on Relationships from The Shack, I noted that life is full of relationship and the more you embrace people for both who they are and what they uniquely bring to you (and you to them), the richer you will be. THAT is what friends do for you. True friends. Each relationship is uniquely different, and like investments, the more you put into these relationships, the more you can get from them.

Do YOUR friends know how much they mean to you? Commit to calling more even though FaceBook is more convenient. Send a personal note to let someone know what they mean to you. Keep this ball strong, beautiful and intact. When at the end of the road, you may not finish everything you set out to finish career wise, but you’ll only regret the times you missed with friends.

Ball #4: Integrity

“If everyone were clothed with integrity, if every heart were just, frank, kindly, the other virtues would be well-nigh useless.” — Moliere [Jean Baptiste Poquelin] Tartuffe, V, i (1622-1673)

My reputation is incredibly important to me and whether people think me brilliant or not does not matter as much as whether they think I have integrity. I want people to trust me. And because of this, in everything I do, I strive to take the high road, opting for integrity over any element of success that might otherwise come my way. Always knowing that “Trust is like an eraser, it gets smaller and smaller after every mistake.”

“Let no pleasure tempt thee, no profit allure thee, no persuasionTrust move thee, to do anything which thou knowest to be evil; so shalt thou always live jollity; for a good conscience is a continual Christmas.” — Benjamin Franklin

At the end of the day, I love pushing hard to be successful in my career. And I am proud of my career accomplishments to date. As I continue to grow, I am learning about balance and finding that truly I can be even more successful. I am certain now that I truly understand the lesson of the five balls, now I must ensure I live and learn from the lesson.

So, I ask you, do you in fact “have beginnings of balance in your life”? Or are you still trying so hard to keep that rubber ball of work bouncing that you shatter the relationships you have while damaging your health and integrity? FIND BALANCE TODAY!

Be well! Lead On.

Adam

Originally published November 2011.

Adam L. Stanley
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“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

— Winston Churchill