Monday, November 21, 2011

Give "thanks"

Give “thanks”
What better time than the week of Thanksgiving to highlight this OneMoreStep…simply saying thank you.
OneMoreStep Thought for this week: When people help us out, sacrificing their own time and energy to do things for us…we should take the time to recognize them by saying “Thank You” to let them know we appreciate them.   
Go OneMoreStep…say it…and mean it…Give “thanks”.
It sounds like an easy one…a no brainer that should be second nature, but so often people – students, teachers, professors, employees, peers, parents, and even bosses feel unappreciated.  People all around us feel unnoticed and feel like they have “thankless” jobs, or they feel as though their loved ones don’t appreciate what they do for them.
What a great OneMoreStep opportunity to lift someone’s spirits, brighten their day, and make a little magic…all we have to do sometimes is simply say, “thanks”. Everybody has stuff.  So who knows what they may have going on in their lives.  Who knows how they may be feeling about their comfort level or job security at work.   
Something as simple as a genuine, heart felt “thank you” could be the difference that matters to someone…it could be that little ray of sunshine that keeps his or her head held high in an otherwise depressing day.  It could be the two words they never really heard in their last job, their last relationship, or their last friendship that didn’t really work out.  It could be the very thing that reinforces their behavior, whatever it may have been, which inspires them and keeps them working hard and/or feeling the magic at work. 
What if we don’t say “thanks”
If we miss it…if we fail to take the time to say “thanks” we certainly run the risk of making a negative impact rather than a positive one.  People may not expect it, and they may not even think they need to hear it…however, if we don’t take time to thank them they will definitely notice.  When they notice our failure to thank them, that’s when we run the risk of losing their respect.  That’s when people leave organizations.  That’s when friendships fade out.  That’s when trust and credibility are lost.  That’s when meaningful relationships turn into mere acquaintances. 
When we recognize and appreciate the things people do for us, we should go OneMoreStep and say “thanks”.  Write an email.  Write a handwritten note on nice stationary.  Seek out opportunities to pass out hugs, handshakes, & hi-5’s.  We should do whatever we can, whenever we can to not only say it, but mean it…Give “thanks”
Something as simple as a “thank you” might make someone feel like a million bucks, just knowing that their efforts, their contributions, their friendship, their love, their presence, their leadership, or their inspiration is appreciated
Go OneMoreStep…give “thanks”.
Have a great day.
Thank You’s” for the road...

Thanks Mom and Dad for your unconditional love, support, and guidance for 32 years…I am a lucky man, with so many things for which to be thankful…none of which mean more to me than you.
Thanks to my best friends, for the continued friendship, inspiration, smiles, laughs, and leadership…you all make life more fun and I live for our classic weekend rendezvous.
Thanks to my coworkers, team, and leaders at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.  It’s a simple business, but often hospitality is not very easy.  People certainly do make the place…and we have some great people. Relationships and our community make it easy to go to work every day.
Thanks to Mark Sanborn and Eric Chester for inspiring me to write this blog, lead, inspire, teach, coach, create value, reinvent regularly, and move ‘em up and over…I appreciate your literary work, but most of all I appreciate your friendship, leadership, and mentorship…true “FREDships”.
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Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's a Small happy

It’s a Small World…be happy
This week I was on vacation in Orlando, FL.  For ten days I didn’t leave the friendly confines of the 48 square mile, 27,000 acre - Walt Disney World Resort.  
It started with a buddy’s wedding that brought many of our closest friends together for four days in the place where we first met over a decade ago.  
As if things couldn’t get any better, I then met my entire family for what we called an “old fashioned family (Griswold) Disney vacation”.  What a great week of fun, magic, and memories we’ll hold on to for years and years.
While I’ve certainly entertained many thoughts and had time to ponder several things this week, I’ll share one thought here…
OneMoreStep Thought for this week:  It’s a Small World…often we’re caught up in the day-to-day, the stress, and the uncontrollable externalities that affect our ability to think clearly and positively.  We should focus on the important people in our lives like friends and family that we love, places or activities we enjoy, and simply the things about life that make us happy.
...our tour guide
My three-year-old nephew, Henry, was of course the centerpiece of our daily vacation itinerary this week.  When he first arrived at Walt Disney World he was a bit excited, nervous, and quite anxious about his surroundings.  Understandable.  
He’s only three years old, and with castles, parades, shows, attractions, beloved Disney characters roaming about waving, hugging, smiling, and hi-5-ing every Guest in sight…sensory overload is certainly an inevitable result for a little fella. 
I’m 32 years old and often suffer from the same issue – I’m quick to get excited, nervous, and/or anxious in certain situations.  Little Henry is only three.  In his first couple of days at Disney World his excitement, nerves, and anxiety led to fussing, crying, and moments of unhappiness. 
Then he found his happy place…
One happy little fella
We took Henry on the "it’s a small world" attraction…that changed everything.  From that moment on, Henry was either riding the actual attraction (smiling ear to ear and loving it), reenacting and singing the song from the attraction, or asking if we could go ride it again…all the while smiling, laughing, giggling, dancing, and in a state of utter happiness.
On the second or third trip “around the world”, as we cruised through It’s a Small World, I leaned over and asked my mom why Henry likes this attraction so much.  She replied, “It just makes him happy…”
I thought to myself…why couldn’t we all find our happy places…in our own lives?
A OneMoreStep for all of us…
Compare a three-year-old child’s sensory overload at Walt Disney World to our own situations – lives, careers, trials, and tribulations.  How often are we excited, nervous, and/or anxious about people, places, situations, outstanding projects at work, or life’s uncontrollable twists and turns?  Quite often. 
We should take a moment when we’re excited, nervous, and/or anxious and think about the people, places, or things in our lives that make us happy.  Focus on those things.  (Philippians 4:8...which essentially says,  “Think happy thoughts”.
Over a decade of memories...and still going strong
We all have big problems, big projects, big mortgages, big rent payments, big financial issues, and big goals…but remember at the end of the day, if we boil it down, peel the layers back, and think about what really matters…
We often realize that what we think are the big things really do pale in comparison to those few very important people, places, or things that mean the most to us.
My happy thoughts are my family, my friends, my church, and places like Walt Disney World/Disneyland, and they make me the happiest in life.  So when my nerves, excitement, and anxiety are getting the best of me, spending time with, talking to, or thinking about how much my closest friends and my family mean to me puts things in perspective.
What are your “happy thoughts”?  When nerves, excitement, and anxiety start to creep in, focus on those things that really matter…things that truly make you happy
The "it's a small world"
When we do this we find that amidst all the “big” problems we have in our lives, only a select few things in the world really matter.  
It’s then that we realize that even though life can get tedious and problems seem big, it really is just a small world after all…so be happy.
Have a great day.

Matt & Nini sporting Wildcats gear...also a happy thought

Thursday, November 3, 2011

FRED Friday...Meet Rob

FRED Friday…Meet Rob

I met Robert Thomas MacRae twelve years ago while interning at the Mothership in 1999…we were both Cast Members on the Walt Disney World College Program. (Quite possibly the best summer ever…) 
Since that summer Rob and I have not only kept in touch, but we’ve also spent a few years as roommates, been there for one another as we pursued graduate school at the same time, endured the doldrums of unemployment together, and the coolest part - we’re still the best of friends to this day. 
Like many of my closest friends, Rob is a FRED for many reasons.  When I think about the attributes that make Freds, FREDs…one of my favorites is the idea that you can re-invent yourself regularly.  Rob has re-invented himself regularly since I’ve known him.  He also goes OneMoreStep, and inspires, motivates, and encourages his friends to do the same…I’m glad I’m one of them.
In 2006 many of my friends and I lived in Orlando and worked for Disney…for many of us, that had been our goal for as long as we had known each other.  The weather was great.  We not only had great jobs, but we were also passionate about our product – Disney...let’s face it…tough to beat it.  Rob wanted more.  He wanted to learn more, do more, and experience more…so that he could one day add more value to his relationships both at work and in his personal life.  He decided to pursue graduate school for an MBA.  
Of course we visited for the Harvard vs. Yale football game
Rob prepared, studied, and committed to his goal of getting into his top three prospective business schools (Harvard, Yale, & MIT) with more focus and dedication than I’d ever seen out of him before.  Long story short…he got into all three, and he ultimately chose Harvard Business School, and went on to graduate in 2008 with his MBA, just like he planned.  He re-invented his life, just like he planned.
FRED Moments I’ll Never Forget…
A few of us who are close to Rob supported him and cheered him on as he went through his several-month-long application process/journey into Harvard.  In doing so, we were inspired…FREDs also have a way of inspiring those around them, sometimes without even trying.  Rob does this…
Inspired, I decided that I too would embark on a little re-invention of myself of my own…I also made the decision to pursue graduate school.  I had the undergraduate grades, I had the professional work experience, I had the work ethic…but what I lacked (and still do) was the ability to excel at standardized tests, a necessary evil and in my case, potential hurdle, to gaining admission into any reputable graduate school.  I was most concerned with the math section, which never has been my strong suit.
I remember the day the light bulb went off…when I decided to give it a shot and embark on the application process.  Rob was the first person I told.  It was months before he would leave Orlando for Harvard.  He didn’t skip a beat.  He immediately grinned, gave me a quick nod of approval, and began encouraging me.  I told him I was concerned with the GMAT (the standardized test on which a phenomenal score is all but imperative for admission to any MBA program). 
Right away, Rob said, “…I’ll help you…we’ll work on it…” and for the next several weeks Rob sat with me at his kitchen table in tutoring session after tutoring session.  He spent many a night, many an hour, and what must have been many frustrating moments teaching me test-taking tactics, quick math tricks, and other application process pearls of wisdom.  He could have been anywhere else…at Epcot, at a bar, at a pool, at the gym, or on the couch…but he chose to sit there with me…teaching me, helping me, and encouraging me.
The day I took the test, it was almost as if Rob was channeling my anxiety and nerves.  I remember walking out of the testing facility, and I no sooner got to my car and Rob was already calling me…”well…how’d we do?”.  I told him my score, which didn’t exactly crush it, but it was higher than I’d scored on any of the practice tests up to that point.  Rob’s first reaction, “That’s good…I think you’re in with that score!”  Encouraging, as usual.
I got into both schools I was pursuing, and I’m not sure I would have without Rob’s encouragement and inspiration.  I’ll go one step further…without Rob’s inspiration to re-invent regularly, I’m not sure I would have gone to graduate school, moved to Las Vegas, or even have conjured up the courage to write these blog posts. 
Thanks, Robert, for being a FRED since the day we met in 1999, and inspiring so many of us to re-invent ourselves regularly.  Life is much more fun, fulfilling, and rewarding that way…in fact, it truly does make the ordinary extraordinary

OneMoreStep down the aisle for Rob…
This all started with a mouse...

I was happy for Rob when he pursued, and ultimately graduated from Harvard Business School, but I’m even happier for him now.  This weekend I’m privileged and honored to stand in his wedding at Walt Disney World, as he re-invents his life yet again…
Congratulations, Rob and Lindsay…and thank you for inviting me to be a part of your special day.  Let the memories continue!
Have a great day.

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Don't Give Up

What is FRED Friday?

In my favorite book, The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn tells an inspiring story of how a man named Fred goes OneMoreStep after OneMoreStep in his role as a Postman for the United States Postal Service.  I love this book.  Since my mom sent it to me in 2004, I've purchased the book for friends, coworkers, and girlfriends...I've even purchased and hand delivered copies of the book to several executives at both Wynn Las Vegas and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. 

Fred Friday is a series in which the OneMoreStepRevolution blog will showcase a real life "Fred" on select Fridays.   Reading The Fred Factor definitely leaves us with a desire to to be more Fred-like ourselves, but I also love looking for FredsFreds are everywhere. I love it when I experience a real life Fred.  I'm inspired just as I am every time I re-read the book.  I thought it would be fun to spread the magic of Fred to our OneMoreStepRevolution community. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


We can always find something to PRACTICE

Growing up I played basketball.  My high school coaches would tell us, “GS…GS…GS…” That stood for – Game Shots…Game Spots…Game Situations…

It meant that before, during, and/or after practice when shooting around while warming up or working on our game, we should practice “game shots”, in realistic “game spots”, and prepare for real life “game situations”…as opposed to clowning around with NBA-esque lay up lines, shots from half court, or crazy whirling dervish shots that we would probably never do in a real game situation.  It was all about capitalizing on every second of our time on the court…practicing.

OneMoreStep Thought for the Week:  Even if we’re not 100% satisfied with our current situations with jobs, relationships, or life in general…we should embrace present day opportunities, no matter how big or small, as PRACTICE…for the next thing, the next job, or the next meaningful relationship.

Sometimes life is just not quite what we had in mind.  We’ve dreamed about this moment, this job, or this opportunity for a long time…but now that it’s actually happening we find ourselves tasked with doing random things for random reasons for random people. We often wonder if our roles, our contributions, or our efforts are really valued or even appreciated.  We think to ourselves, “Really…I have to do this while they get to do that…?  This is what it’s all come down to?”

Think of it as practice

In what ways can we step up and lead when nobody else wants to take the reins?  What crucial conversations with staff, students, leaders, coworkers, Guests, clients, or customers can we embrace as practice today that will prepare us for tomorrow’s challenges?  What decisions that our bosses usually make can we try our hand at making so that when it’s our turn…when we’re the managers, directors, vice presidents, and leaders of the organization…we’re ready and will have practiced thinking like the leader?  What relationships can we foster, nurture, and develop today that will make a difference down the road?

When we embrace every single day and every single situation as practice for the future, we begin to think about things differently.  We begin to find solutions rather than dwell on problems.  We become the ambassadors of PMA (positive mental attitude) among our communities, teams, families, and organizations.  We worry less and focus more.  We find ourselves driving more business, executing initiatives, and truly adding value to those around us. 

Every opportunity around every corner in our day-to-day routines, no matter how big or small, can be a chance to practice…but it’s up to us.  When we focus on capitalizing on every opportunity to practice, we learn new things, further develop our abilities, and we perfect our skills.  Practice makes perfect.
So when we get frustrated…when we get down…when the easy thing to do is to just give up, mail it in, and throw in the “mental” towel…we should go OneMoreStep, mentally, and practice something.  Chances are, no matter what the situation, we can always find something to practice

"The Bellagio was practice..." -- Steve Wynn

One for the road…

The reality…

When we get down on our luck, frustrated, and disappointed in how it’s all turned out…it’s usually because of a discrepancy between our expectations and reality.  The difference between our expectations and reality is misery. 

So while making it a point to practice today to prepare for the future can be productive…it’s important to remember a little secret…

This isn’t practice…this IS the show…this IS real life…this is the reality…TODAY

So by all means capitalize on opportunities to practice, but DON’T MISS IT…don’t miss today.  Opportunities we fail to capitalize on today quickly become things we regret tomorrow.  That’s the reality…

Have a great day.


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