Sunday, October 26, 2014

Different & Normal

Different & Normal

When we have a thousand things going on, in all different directions, we often say, “I wish things would just get back to normal again…

It’s so annoying.  Every time we get things nice and settled, just the way we like them, something changes.  We’re asked to do something different at work.  We get pulled into a different routine outside of work.  Often times we’re forced to meet and work with new people.

Things become very different than they were before, and life gets uncomfortable. We long for things to be normal again. 

I recently called my parents, and as they do so often, they reminded me that just because things are different, it doesn’t mean things can’t be normal.  It just means that they’re different.

The OneMoreStep worth remembering, when life gets tedious and out of whack, isn’t really a step at all…it’s to simply be patient. 

Seems pretty simple, but not very easy.

Things may be unsettled or even unsettling, be it with our finances, careers, or relationships…and it may not feel normal.  In fact, everything about everything is different.  However, with enough patience, love, and faith that it will all be okay, we’re able to let go, taking the pressure off of ourselves.  {It’s funny how when we take the focus off of ourselves, the pressure we put on ourselves dissipates…}

Letting go and letting a higher power take over never fails in these situations.  When we’re patient, we relax.  When we relax, we enjoy the ride.  When we’re enjoying the ride, things feel…normal again. 

Different + Patience = THE NEW NORMAL

One for the road…

Happy Birthday week, to my Dad!  

Patient least the two on the left
Thanks for always teaching me and loving me even when I’m the opposite of patient, which is about every other hour of every day.  Connecting the dots backwards, thinking about each life-changing event, I usually get all out of whack. 

Slowly but surely, I settle down, relax, and sooner than later, I begin enjoying the new normal.  All the while, you’re patient, loving me through it as I work through the process…

Reminds me of a famous quote from the #1 best selling book of all time:

“Love is patient, love is kind…” – 1 Corinthians 13:4

Have a great day.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Conversations Make Good Company

Conversations Make Good Company

We work for companies, sometimes we start new ones, and for some, they even own their own companies.   

We often say, in conversation, “oh, that’s a great company…” Or sometimes we’ll say, “…this isn’t a good company…someday I’ll work for a real one…”

I’ve said all of the above, about companies for which I’ve worked, helped create, and even longed to join. 

It’s true that no matter the industry or type of work we do, some companies are well oiled machines with a well known brand name to go with it; while other companies fight, scratch, and claw their way through the tedious day-to-day, just to make ends meet for their Guests, Clients, Customers, Staff, and other key stakeholders. 

What really makes a company “good”?  Is it the brand…its fancy buildings…its impressive balance sheet, or ranking on the most recent Forbes list?  Maybe…those things certainly don’t hurt.

We’ve all been on both sides of the fence, working for or with great companies sometimes and other times we’ve worked for or with what we would describe as bad companies.  If we consider those companies that come to mind…we can usually agree on one thing…what we remember most about these ‘companies’ are the people with whom we interacted. 

…the people make the place…is cliché, but true. 

Companies can be number one on everything from Forbes list XYZ to the stock market ticker, but all it takes is one person to ruin the perception or reputation.  By the same token, small businesses up and down Main Street USA without the financing, infrastructure, or resources of corporate America can create and deliver fantastic experiences for their Guests, Customers, & Clients as long as the engagement with people is memorable…in a good way.

So while it’s nice to have corporate infrastructure and the power of “the brand”, the real power that fuels the engines of any company is good old-fashioned conversation among people. 

That’s great news for any person, anywhere, working for any company on the planet.  Whatever our role, in whatever company…big or small…we have an opportunity to:

·      Inspire or be inspired
·      Change ours or their perception
·      Raise ours or their level of satisfaction with any situation, on any given day

All we have to do is simply talk to each other...engage in conversation, with genuine interest in what we can learn from each other or how we can help each other.  

It’s true for the companies that employ us as well as the company that surrounds us…conversations make good company.

Two for the road…

I recently left one company to go work for another, with many expectations.  Sure it’s neat to work for big companies with notable products and renowned brands.  However, at the end of the day, people pull it all together and make the magic happen.  

Brand new job, in a brand new city, and sent to yet another city for over one month for training.  I had many expectations, concerns, and doubts…and I was nervous. 

I’m not only meeting hundreds of new people, I’m going through the experience with two of my new colleagues with whom I’ll be working day-to-day.  They both have about 25 years of life and career experience on me.  In fact, they’re on their second or third careers. 

I was a bit anxious about the whole experience…until the three of us started chatting.  Every morning on the treadmill, at breakfast, at lunch, during our class exercises, and later for dinner…we engage in just good old-fashioned conversation. 

With every conversation I’m inspired, changed, and my satisfaction level with this crazy experience rises to new heights. 

As soon as my parents heard that I would be in Orlando for a month, for training…they booked a trip so we could visit with each other.  I’m so glad they did.  For a solid week I went to work/class and then met up with them for dinner.  The dinners were great, and the views were beautiful, but what turned an otherwise stressful nerve-racking week into a very good week were the conversations we had with each other.

One More…

Since leaving my last company, conversations with my colleagues, friends, coworkers, and leaders haven’t stopped.  Two weeks into my new job, my previous boss called me…to just talk.  We talked for over an hour.  Text messages to and from folks with whom I worked so closely for nearly four years have also kept me grounded…reminding me that this whole thing really is all about people.

This post is a nod to:

·      The company that inspires me (Disney)
·      The company that changed me (Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas)
·      The people that raised me (my parents).

When in doubt...just have conversations with people.  You'll be in good company...

Have a great day.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Welcome Home & Good Luck

Welcome Home & Good Luck

The PEOPLE make the place
Just shy of four years ago I moved to Las Vegas…for the second time. 

Anxious, nervous, and scared to the say the least, I remember my mom telling me, “…this will be great…you can be just as successful here as you can anywhere else…you’ll get out of it what you put into it. { Dad gave me the same pep talk just this morning...}

(You see, I was afraid to move back to Las Vegas…because I really wanted to be back at Disney instead.)

Four years, several meaningful relationships (that will last a lifetime), a few life events, a couple deaths, countless laughs, too many lessons learned to count, and one tiny little Vegas hotel opening later…I’m moving on to the next challenge…the next chapter. 

I’m going back to work where my professional career began, the Walt Disney Company.

In Las Vegas, it’s quite customary to end an interaction with someone (whether you work in the industry or not) with, “Good Luck…”; given the world famous nature of the town.

At Disney Vacation Club, it’s quite commonplace to overhear Cast Members or DVC Members greet each other with, “Welcome Home”, a phrase they’ve made world famous over the years.

I love diving into the threads that connect our memories, our lessons learned, and life's ever so dynamic, changing seasons.   

So these past couple weeks, working through this transition, I’ve heard both, “Good Luck” and “Welcome Home” over and over again.

It strikes me as ironic because four years ago I was flat out scared to death of living and working in a city I have grown to call home - Fabulous Las Vegas.  However, several folks are welcoming me home to a place I’ve never lived which will undoubtedly feel unnatural and uncomfortable; especially at first.

And now I’m experiencing the same nerves and anxiety about going to work at a place that should feel like home, having worked for the company before at the start of my career.  (Albeit a different line of business, and I’ll be at Disneyland rather than Walt Disney World this time around, but you see my point…)

Here’s the quick application I’d like to share with the OneMoreStep community and one I’ll remind myself of, to calm my nerves during yet another career transition: 

Wherever we find ourselves…regardless of the stage in our careers or lives…no matter how scary or unfamiliar the territory (literally or figuratively) we can ALWAYS MAKE IT FEEL LIKE HOME. 

It just takes a little courage, stepping out of our comfort zones to not only meet new people, but also pour our hearts and souls into making magic for them…that’s literally all it takes.

Pretty soon we find ourselves focusing less on our own anxieties and more on making them laugh, smile, and feel comfortable. 

Then the magic happens, and we begin to feel more welcome the more welcome we make others feel…and the beauty is that we can do this in any city, in any job, at any time, from now until it’s our time to go…

That’s how this blog was born, and sharing thoughts and stories on this blog has been the outlet I never knew I needed, to help me get over my worries, fears, and anxieties…because when I jump into a writing project, I’m thinking more about you than I am about myself. 

Thanks for letting me share, and thank you, Mom & Dad, for encouraging me then and for encouraging me now.  Thanks to my employer in Vegas for letting me work on the OneMoreStep project along with my day job. 

Thank you to my coworkers and the folks with whom I’ve worked so closely since late 2010…you know who you are, and please know that I love you all very much.

Thanks to my girlfriend for loving, listening, and helping me understand how to do the same.

As for the future of this blog, I’m not quite sure of the rules at my next place of employment, but there’s only one way to find out…I’ll go OneMoreStep until they tell me to stop.  (I've never been a fan of rules.)

Two for the road:

A few years ago, one of my mentors here in Vegas told me, “there’s no such thing as luck…but instead, “luck” is where preparation meets opportunity.”

So the irony continues…spending these last four years in Las Vegas, of all places, I’ve learned the two most important things we can do in life, no matter where we find ourselves:

1.     Love God
2.     Love People

3.     Repeat

When we focus on those two things, therein lies the preparation that makes anywhere feel like home…we feel welcome, we feel good, and at that point it’s no coincidence that a little luck comes our way...

Welcome Home & Good Luck!

See ya real soon…


Many people say I'm crazy for repeatedly going through the pain and voluntary punishment of opening hotels and working on new projects...maybe I am a little crazy.  But maybe this slide show video (can be viewed on a laptop or computer...but not on mobile) I received as a gift from a colleague will tell the story better than I ever's not about the sexy projects anymore as much as it's all about the beautiful PEOPLE and meaningful RELATIONSHIPS we're blessed with along the way. 

Monday, July 21, 2014




The irony is that we often overlook the importance of a word that literally means – the quality of being important. 

For leaders, there’s power in a word like significance.  It’s borderline magical…because once any human being truly feels significant, they become a new person, capable of doing more.

If leadership means inspiring others to achieve greatness, then making sure people feel significant should consistently remain at the top of our To Do List. 

‘Managers’ focus first on the tasks at hand.  However, ‘Leaders’ focus first on the people they expect to complete the tasks. 

The OneMoreStep worth taking, for leaders, is to make sure everyone on the team understands their value, their strength, why they were chosen, and what they do better than anyone else. 

The best leaders take pride in making people feel significant…because they know that when people feel significant they make significant contributions. 

I’m convinced that IF people feel significant, they CAN do anything.  Our job is to believe in them, encourage them, and invite them to be great. 

They can…and they will…because of how significant we make them feel.


Have a great day.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Character Building Opportunity

Character Building Opportunity 
We heard it often growing up…all the ways that we were supposedly “building character”
Lose a Little League game.  Get a bad grade on a test.  Bring home a substandard report card.  Get in trouble. Get disciplined.  Suffer through an embarrassment.   
That’s okay, “it builds character.” 
What about now?   

Now we’re grown up.  We’re not in Little League.  We’re beyond high school.  We’ve learned right from wrong, and we’ve all been embarrassed at one time or another.  
When “things” happen these days, in adulthood…when we lose the argument, encounter adversity (at work or at home), or when we’re left feeling embarrassed…are we still building character?

Maybe in some cases…but…
As adults – as leaders, coaches, bosses, business partners, friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, significant others – when we’re put to the test, whether it be in our personal lives or at work, we have an opportunity to reveal our character.  
These are the moments that speak volumes about who we really are, on the inside and just how strong of a person we’ve become
One of the Merriam-Webster definitions of the word, character is:
noun \ˈker-ik-tər, ˈka-rik-\

·      the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone's personality

The OneMoreStep opportunity here is realizing that around every turn, in any season, we have a chance to reveal our true character.  
When our true character is revealed- the way we think, feel, and behave - it just might make a positive difference in someone’s life.  Or it could have a negative impact on those around us.
The good news is that what actually gets revealed is absolutely up to us.  We get to choose!

Character is the will to do what's right even when it's hard.” - Andy Stanley

Two for the road… 

Last year I watched the 2011 documentary, Undefeated, which documents the struggles of a high school football team in Memphis, TN.   

Coach Bill Courtney, the Manassas Tigers Head Football Coach started coaching the film’s featured group of seniors when they were all in the 8th Grade. 

While it’s very cool to watch what Coach Bill did with the Tigers on the football field, what makes the film so inspiring is that it’s really not about football…it’s about character.

Earlier this year, Coach Bill Courtney’s book, AgainstThe Grain: A Coach’s Wisdom on Character, Faith, Family, and Love, came out.  I read it cover to cover, and not only loved it, I recommend the book for anyone, at any stage in his or her life or career.  Coach Bill challenges us all to become uncommon men and women, and the principles and illustrations in the book will leave you inspired to do just that.  True gifts from a coach.

Relationship Mechanics
Earlier this month my girlfriend and I took a trip to Southern California to escape the Vegas heat.   
About halfway through our 3.5 hour drive across the desert, we heard a clack, clack, clack, clack sound coming from under the car…a bit concerning at 70 miles per hour, on I-15 in the middle of nowhere.
We made it to our destination late Friday night but bright and early the next morning, we were off to Huntington Beach, CA.  We had looked up an auto repair shop in the area, and at just after 7am, we pulled up to Francisco’s Automotive.
I walked into the shop, and there sat a happy, smiling face with a cup of coffee, tidying up his desk.  Francisco himself.
He quickly said, “Good morning…how are you?  What can I do for you today?”  I gave him the rundown, and he asked me a few more questions...he was genuinely interested – where I’m from, what I’m doing in town, what I do in Vegas, etc.
He came out to the car, took a quick look under the car, and put Jenna and I both at ease…telling us this was no problem.  The cover underneath the car had simply come loose, with all the winds we drove through the night before.  He told us he could have it fixed right up for us in no time, and he assured us that it would be totally fine to drive back to Vegas the next day.

While we waited for his mechanics to report to work, Francisco made small talk with us.  He asked us what we would like to see while we were in town, offered up suggestions for sights to see, places to eat, and great places to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.   
He invited us to come around, on his side of the counter, so we could see his computer screen as he Google Imaged different areas along the Pacific Coast Highway that we should ‘check out’ while we were in town.
The coolest part…when he and his team finished up with our car, we asked him how much we owed him.  He said, “absolutely nothing…just put some money in that little thing there”, pointing to a donation box for American Family Housing, an organization offering housing and supportive services to the poor, the homeless, and low income families. (

Francisco went on to tell us how he, too, was homeless when he was a child, and the American Family Housing philanthropic work that he does has become his true passion these days.   
He not only survived homelessness, growing up in Southern California, but he started his own business from nothing.
Having experienced Francisco’s service first-hand, I can see why he’s been so successful as an entrepreneur since the mid 1980’s.   
I’m sure he’s extremely knowledgeable about cars, but I can’t help but think that his success is mostly because of his character.
If you’re ever in Huntington Beach and find yourself in need of some auto mechanic magic, Francisco’s Automotive is your place – 7662 Slater Ave.  Tell Francisco Taylor and Jenna sent you…
Have a great day.

Francisco's YouTube video, giving anyone and everyone a glimpse into what customers can expect says it all:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Captains...Steer 'SHIPs

Captains Steer ‘SHIPs
Everybody wants to be “The Captain”.
As we deal with people – at work, at home, or in the community…it seems like ‘everything would just be easier, if we were in charge…if only we were the so-called, “Captain” of the ship’. 
But is it really that easy?
You see ‘Captains’ of any team – sports teams, work teams, or otherwise must steer ‘SHIPS…


Above all else, true captains must be leaders.  They don’t need to be “bossy”…just leaders.  Most of the time, the captains that emerge are not even defined by title, but instead they lead by example.  Regardless of the official “title”, leaders LEAD – they Listen, Educate, take Action, and Deliver for their teammates.
Consider the “Team Captains” on sports teams…take the stars of this year’s NBA Finals – Lebron James & D. Wade for the Miami Heat and Tony Parker & Timmy Duncan for the San Antonio Spurs.  Watch them, and notice the connections they have with coaches, teammates, fans, and even the media.  It’s apparent that they spend time fostering relationships with the people around them.  That’s one of the reasons so many people gravitate toward them, respecting them as team captains.
Captains realize that despite their superior talent, they can’t ‘do it alone’.  They’re never afraid to rely on their partners.  Russell Wilson has to trust his offensive line to protect him, and if/when plays breakdown, he has to trust his teammates to make plays…because he simply can’t win games on his own.  Captains understand the importance of maximizing true partnerships that result from the meaningful and productive relationships they foster with teammates.
FellowSHIP, FriendSHIP, & CompanionSHIP
Think about the most likeable people on your contact list in your phone.  Think about the most inspiring leaders you’ve ever known.  Consider your most trusted partners at work.  Chances are the people that come to mind make it a point to develop a sense of community with those around them.  They don’t lead through fear or power.  Instead, they gain credibility and admiration as a result of their compassion and genuine interest in other people.  With credibility and admiration comes likeability, and a person’s likeability is what makes them someone worthy of following.
Perhaps this one doesn’t come to mind as often as the other “SHIPs” listed above. 
I love this Merriam-Webster definition of stewardship:
The conducting, supervising, or managing of something; the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care  
True captains understand that it’s not all about them.  In fact, they know and understand that the very thing they’re captaining doesn’t even belong to them.  That’s what makes them special…because while they understand that ‘it’ doesn’t belong to them (the team, the office, the building, the situation, or the project), they step up and take full responsibility anyway, as if it were their own. 
Lebron and D. Wade don’t own the Miami Heat, but they carry themselves, on and off the court, as if they do.  They relish opportunities to represent their owners and fan base, as the face of the franchise.  In turn, the Miami Heat organization, from the front office to coaches to players to the city of Miami entrust their fate in Lebron and D. Wade. 

The OneMoreStep thought is simply this:
For anyone who thinks they’re so low on the totem pole that they’ll never make an impact…and for anybody worried that their unique talents and hard work might never be good enough to be noticed…if we’ll just keep steering ‘SHIPs, we too can emerge as “Captains”.
Because Captains…steer ‘SHIPs!
Have a great day.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Life Happens...In Seasons

Life Happens…in Seasons

Nowadays, with HBO GO, Netflix, and Amazon, it’s so easy to watch season after season of our favorite shows. When we watch several seasons of our favorite shows, in succession, we pick up on subtle changes in the characters we love.    

We all watched the Huxtables grow up before our very eyes back in the day.  We found ourselves feeling for Anthony Junior and Meadow Soprano, along with Tony's and Carmella’s many ups and downs.  We pull for Vinny Chase and the boys, in Entourage, and we can’t wait to see what Ari is going to do next. 

We seem to notice as characters begin to grow into their full potential.  Even Rudy Huxtable grew up (on the Cosby Show), Christopher became a made man (in Sopranos), and in the last season of Entourage, even Turtle became a millionaire. 

Though we find ourselves almost connected to these characters, they’re not real.  It’s just a show, but we can still relate to them, because we know we must face the same types of issues in our own lives.  If we were to watch our own lives back, through the seasons, I'm sure we'd notice subtle changes, developments, and growth...personally and professionally. 

Maybe this is obvious, but then again, maybe it is worth mentioning.  In our own lives, in the real world, we’ll have great days and we’ll have bad days.  We’ll have fun times and we’ll have incredibly annoying situations to endure along the way.  We’ll enjoy success one minute, and seemingly struggle to find our way the next. 

We’ll have good seasons and we’ll have bad seasons

It happens.  Life happens.

Keep looking up, being you, and doing the right thing.  More often than not, we look back and realize that’s what got us here (wherever we may be) in the first place. 

One for the road…

Last week a dear friend of mine and her husband were in Las Vegas on vacation.  We had a chance to catch up; we talked about old times, our many mutual friends, and brought each other up to speed on what’s new in our lives. 

We’ve been friends since the summer of 1999 – 15 years ago.  We exchanged emails once she got back to Florida.  We both shared with each other that we still think of our old crew, the fun times interning at Disney, and the glory days in our 20’s. 

I loved what she wrote back:

I agree - I think about everyone so often - it's just so hard to believe that it was all 15 years ago this much life has happened since then and because of then!  Continue to do great things in Vegas; you’re at a really nice spot and only good things will keep happening for you!

Thanks, to my dear friend Jess Hodge Barnes, for reminding me that ‘so much life has happened since then and because of then.” 

When we feel down in the dumps, we should remind ourselves that life happens…in seasons.  While today’s circumstances may not be ideal, what we do with the cards we’re dealt today impacts how great tomorrow (or next week or next month or next year) will be. 

Have a great day.