Thursday, March 29, 2012



Sometimes we’re not sure what’s going on.  Other times we’re not sure of the particular reasons certain things happen…or don’t happen the way we think they should.  Often we are so sad, mad, discouraged, or defeated that we don’t know what to do or where to turn.

OneMoreStep thought for today:  When we’re sad…when we’re discouraged…when we’re mad…when we’re lost…when we’re not sure where to go or what we should do next…Look up.

Look up…find a new purpose.

If “it” doesn’t work out the way we planned (whatever “it” may be), perhaps “it” just wasn’t in the cards…a new purpose; a new adventure could be waiting right around the corner.  Be sad that “it” didn’t workout…but only for about 5 minutes, a day, or week…who’s to say a whole new adventure, with new found purpose and meaning for our life isn’t possible.  We’ll never realize it unless we LOOK UP and become open to “it”.

Look up…be open to new relationships.

Some of us are lucky to still be friends with the boys or girls we first met on the playground in pre-school or Kindergarten.  The reality is that most of us have met new people, with whom we’ve become friends or built relationships over the years.  We can get comfortable, complacent, and satisfied with the status quo in this arena.  Who’s to say we can’t do that all over again, meeting even newer people and develop even more meaningful relationships.  Not until we LOOK UP will we realize the potential and magic of making new connections, which foster strong, meaningful relationships in our lives.

Look up…be a positive influence on someone else, they may need it.

We all have stuff, and tough times are a harsh reality of life.  Things make us sad and get us down…and things get our friends, family, coworkers, students, and bosses down as well. When we go OneMoreStep with an email, a card, encouraging words to pick them up, or even lending a helping hand without being asked, we make a difference that matters for them. If we LOOK UP, and take the focus off of ourselves and redirect it to our neighbors, friends, or others…we often find ways to lift them UP, and in doing so we feel much better about life ourselves.  However, in order to see the opportunities to make magic for people who need it…we must LOOK UP.

Look up…that's it...just LOOK UP.

Sometimes…no…all the time…when we’re feeling low, we can always look up, to a higher power.  We can be comforted to know that at no time…ever…do we have “nowhere” to turn…because we can always, absolutely, positively…LOOK UP.  He loves…He cares…He protects...He provides..He lives.  All we have to do is trust, have faith, and LOOK UP.

One for the road…

My friend, Lindsay Bishop MacRae, once painted a picture for her then fiancĂ©, now husband, (and one of my best friends, Mr. Robert MacRae {incidentally, a Fred Friday Feature Alum}) of Carl & Ellie’s house atop Paradise Falls, from Disney·Pixar’s movie, UP.

She gave it to him as a wedding gift, which I thought was very cool.  They have it displayed in their apartment in Manhattan, and it reminds them that no matter the situation or how difficult things become…they can always LOOK UP…together.

My copy is on the way…if you’d like to purchase one yourself, follow the link below to Lindsay’s Etsy shop:

 Us...looking up at Rob & Lindsay's wedding
Over a decade ago, I was a nervous 19-year old intern on the Walt Disney World College Program.  I had plenty of buddies back at my college, of course a loving and supportive family at home in Kentucky, and I wasn’t really looking to meet anyone new…

I’m glad I LOOKED UP.  Not only did I meet these characters in the summer of 1999, but we’re the best of friends to this day, despite living in different cities across the United States.  Ironic…as more often than not, they’re still the ones encouraging me to Look up...every single day.  I love 'em for it.

Have a great day.

Looking up…


When Leaders LEAD

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mistakes & HAKUNA MATATA Moments

Mistakes & HAKUNA MATATA Moments…

Mistakes. We all make ‘em.

OneMoreStep Thought for the week: Good News!  If we look beyond the surface…look harder…peel the layers back…we can feel better about those mistakes we make and the bad days we have.  As long as we learn from them...we can say Hakuna Matata…it means no worries.


Only one perfect man ever walked this Earth…so by default, nobody is perfect…including you and me.  However, I get it…we want to nail it, crush it, and feel great about it, whatever it is.  The reality is we’ll make mistakes along the way. 

The boss will say he/she needs it one-way, and we produce it another.  We set out to make our special someone feel the magic, feel our love, and/or feel our support…and occasionally we fall short.  We misspell, misspeak, misunderstand, miss the mark, and we make mistakes…we’re human.  It’s what we do.  You and I make mistakes.  Our students, our teams, our staffs, our friends, and our loved ones alike…we all make mistakes.

Then we get down on ourselves.  We get down on our staff.  We get down on our boss.  We get down on our students.  We get down on our friends, family, and loved ones…but…we can go OneMoreStep…look beyond that mistake.  Look beyond that situation…what can we learn from it? 

The minute we identify and recognize a key learning, a lesson, and/or a pearl of wisdom from a mistake that we or someone else makes…

BOOM…there’s our Hakuna Matata Moment

1.   Apologize for it      
2.  Fix it     
3.  Learn from it    
4.  Crush it next time…

…No worries…Hakuna Matata

For leaders, we can go Go OneMoreStep, and make sure our teams, peers, family, and friends know that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes…let them know it’s okay to make mistakes. 

Ask them – Did we learn anything from this?  If the answer is yes, then go that simple, but often missed OneMoreStep to make them feel better…as long as they learned something, tell them – Hakuna Matata…it means no worries.  (Don’t forget about the person in the mirror either…tell him or her too.)

One for the road…

We all have bad days.  Sometimes we’re just in a bad mood.  Other times…maybe more often than not, we find ourselves having a bad day because of an unfavorable, or not so magical interaction with someone else. 

People say things, email things, do things, and/or act in such a way that upsets us.  We’re often made to feel embarrassed, inadequate, talked down to, or just plain upset, mad, or sad…by things other people say or do.

A Generous Approach…

Several weeks ago at Central Christian Church, senior pastor, Jud Wilhite, told a story about a couple that had been married for over 50 years.  When asked how to stay married to one person while maintaining such a healthy, strong and loving relationship for so many years…the husband said this:

  In any situation, think of the most generous explanation for whatever he/she says or does…and accept it as reality…and move on.

My take away from that is to simply assume positive intent…from bosses, friends, family, staff, Guests, Customers, students…think of the most generous explanation for:

·      Why he/she didn’t say hello
·      What made them say such things, in the way they said them
·      How their email came across or made us feel
·      Why they don’t listen

Maybe there is a reason we don’t know about…maybe not.  Everybody has stuff, and maybe there’s an underlying reason for his or her words or actions.  Maybe not.  Coming up with the most generous explanation for what is said and how it makes us feel…that can also be another Hakuna Matata Moment opportunity. 

With this approach, bad days not only get better, they become fewer…and we’ll have better days as a result…

Learn from mistakes…think of the most generous explanation for anything said or done, and I wish you many, many Hakuna Matata Moments OneMoreStep at a time…

Have a great day.


Wishing you No Worries...for the rest of your days...

Hakuna Matata

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Remembering my friend, Derek Brown...

Remembering my friend, Derek Brown…

Derek Lee Brown   

December 2nd, 1978 – March 18th, 2012


Cared deeply for his family and friends…

Enjoyed oysters on the half shell…and most seafood, for that matter…

Smiled and made others smile…

Laughed more than he cried…

Loved all things Disney…the music, the movies, the parks, & the characters…

Faithfully served, praised, and worshiped God…always in church on Sundays…

The rare neurological disease, Rasmussen’s Encephalitis, may have caused his seizures; led to multiple brain surgeries, and impacted his speech…but it didn’t touch his heart.

My best friend, Derek Brown, inspired me with his personality, academic ability, and faith in Jesus Christ when we were 12 years old…

Twenty years later, he still inspires me because despite being diagnosed with his rare neurological condition and despite having to endure multiple surgeries on his ever so sharp, gifted brain…he still cared, enjoyed, smiled, laughed, loved, and remained steadfast in his faith.

I’d say rest in peace…but I know he’s not resting.  He’s home…in Heaven…caring, enjoying, smiling, laughing, loving, and faithfully serving.

See ya real soon, Derek…



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Earning the ball vs. Wanting the ball

Earning the ball vs. Wanting the ball
Earn it...

Another basketball analogy…

Those of us watching March Madness – this week, and for the remainder of the month will see amazing games, incredible plays, and impressive last second shots. 

Basketball is a team game, but it’s often the individual performances, particularly the plays at those crucial game-changing moments, or the last second, game-winning shots that make March Madness live up to its name.   

Those are often the defining moments of a collegiate player’s legacy, and sometimes they can also be the right play at the right time, on the national stage which propels them to the next level…to the NBA, WNBA, a future coaching job, etc.

The players that make these plays at crucial moments in important games…they’re always around the ball.  Most of the time they actually have the ball in their hands.  That’s by design…for a reason.  They’ve earned it.  They’ve earned the right to be the go to man or woman in the most challenging, crucial, and important circumstances.  If they execute, they will certainly get the notoriety, the credit, the fame, the credibility, and often the next opportunity…because they were the one that made it happen.

Earn it…

Coaches draw up plays for certain players in crucial moments for a reason.  Those players have earned the right to be the one…to be the go to person.  They came in early, before practice and worked on their game.  They were diligent in the off-season, working out, staying in shape.  They out played, out hustled, and out performed everyone else on a regular basis in practice throughout the season.  They do the little things on the routine Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday afternoon practice…which prepare them and earn them the right to get the ball in the final 10 seconds of a nationally televised game on CBS.  They earn it…they earn the right…they earn the opportunity…then they execute.

In life…in business…in our careers we all want the ball.  We all want “to take the shot” that gets the attention, credit, or leads to the next opportunity.  Everyone wants the opportunity to make the decisions, be the boss, get the promotion, hold the pen, present to the executives, and ultimately get the exposure that will open up doors to more opportunities…more money, stronger relationships, and a even a better life.

Everybody wants it…the great ones, however…the great players, the great leaders, the Freds, the Linchpins, and the OneMoreSteppers…they earn it.  The great ones do the little things in the off-season or on routine days when nobody is watching, and they get the nod, the promotion, and the opportunities because they earn it.

We should all wake up and ask ourselves not what we want, but instead we should go OneMoreStep…we should wake up and ask ourselves just what and how we’re going to go EARN IT…

Have a great day.

Go Cats…


Related Posts:

Monday, March 5, 2012

When Leaders Lead...

When Leaders Lead…


If we have a job, unless we work for ourselves, by default…we have a boss or a leader, and sometimes we have multiple.  For some of us leadership goes both ways…because not only are we led by our boss, we also lead others – our own teams, our own processes, and our own business units or organizations.

As leaders, if we’re doing it right, we’re always looking for ways to become more knowledgeable, more efficient, more profitable, and more impactful.  We’re always learning.

“…the moment you stop learning, you stop leading…” – Rick Warren

Occasionally we have a moment, a day, a week when that spark we’ve been waiting for lights a fire inside of us…when we all of a sudden go from worried to optimistic…when we go from frustrated to content…when we go from upset to happy…

Those moments happen when leaders LEAD

Leadership has so many facets, dynamics, do’s, don’ts, challenges, and rewards.  From my experience great things happen and people really begin to feel it…feel the magicwhen leaders:


They’re always busy, preoccupied, and have “everything else” on their mind…but when they stop, put down the smart phone, look away from their own computer monitor, and listen to us…we feel appreciated, valued, and important. 

We go from feeling like a cog in a factory to feeling like we may actually matter to our organization after all.  We feel better about ourselves and our jobs…in fact, our “job” quickly becomes meaningful work, when leaders listen.


We’re supposed to already know things.  We’re supposed to already have an in depth understanding, a holistic view, and a fundamental comprehension of every element of our job.  We’re supposed to…” 

Sometimes we don’t.   

Sometimes we forget.  Sometimes we just don’t understand.  When we don’t fully understand, and our leader gets out the dry erase marker, stands up, and starts X’n & O’n on the whiteboard…educating us, teaching us, and meeting us where we are, we begin to feel like we’re getting somewhere.  We feel like we CAN do vs. feeling like we CAN’T possibly do it…when leaders educate, we learn the who’s, what’s, when’s, how’s, and why’s…work means something and it becomes a more fulfilling experience all around when leaders educate.


We often look up to our leaders, our bosses, and those in the captain’s seat because they have to make the tough decisions.  They have to deal with the cumbersome dynamics that we don’t have to deal with ourselves.  While it’s often not “our job” to deal with cumbersome dynamics like performance issues among our peer group, processes or overarching technology breakdowns or hold ups, or the high level strategy of our organization, we certainly can be left to deal with these things, nonetheless. 

However, occasionally our leaders get in the mix…they get in the middle of these cumbersome dynamics, and they act.  When our leaders take action, especially on our behalf, clearing the path for us…making it easier for us to navigate our day-to-day routines at work, we feel supported.  We not only feel supported, we feel reassured that we’re not alone…someone cares, our leader cares…we feel like we’re moving the needle, making progress, and making a difference when our leaders act.


We work, work, work, and work…and it’s often a perpetual reprioritization of deliverables and initiatives put directly on our plate.  Our bosses, their bosses, our customers, our Guests, our students, our friends, and our families all ask for help, assistance, results, and/or work to be done. 

On occasion, our leaders come through for us.  They deliver that email we’ve been waiting for to approve something.  They deliver that coaching or discipline we’ve all known needed to be taken care of for weeks.  They deliver on their promises to us, making us feel valued.  Sometimes they deliver an unexpected thank you, recognizing us.  Other times they deliver the tools and/or resources we’ve asked them to provide for us, so that we can become more efficient.  We feel like worthy, valuable assets to our organizations when leaders deliver for us. 

They’re watching us…they’re listening to us.  They’re watching what we say and what we don’t say.  They’re watching to whom and how we say it.  They’re watching…they’re waiting…they’re waiting for us to lead.

Go OneMoreStep this week…and remember that people on our teams appreciate it, and great things begin to happen when leaders LEAD.

As leaders, we have a million things to do and so much on our minds.  With all our ToDo’s…we can’t forget to do the most important things that leaders can do…LEAD.


Have a great day.


One for the road...

Not a "real leader" yet?  Haven't received that promotion?  Don't wait for the invitation...don't wait for the official title.  

Anyone, anywhere can LEAD.   In the book,  "You Don't Need a Title to be a Leader", author Mark Sanborn says, "you must first be an example before you can lead others."  

So if better leadership is what we want from those in our organizations, and if we all agree that the world needs more great leaders and Freds...the best and quickest way for each of us to make an impact is to:  LEAD and be FREDs matter what our official role or title...