Saturday, May 11, 2013

Shelf Space

Shelf Space 

This one’s for the Moms…

What we know today didn’t just come to us, in a vision, or out of the clear blue sky.  Most, if not all of what we know today is because of what we learned once upon a time, from someone else. 
What we know today, in most cases, we actually began learning weeks, months, or even years ago.

My mom was a school teacher for 27 years.  She taught Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Grade.  Depending on the time of year and topic on the lesson plan, she would transform her classroom into an ocean or a rainforest or an elegantly set dining room for high tea, for a Mother’s Day Tea Party – complete with antique tea cups, table cloths, and dishes.

My mom didn’t just teach…she created.  She told me once that her goal, in teaching these young people, was to simply create shelf space.  During the unit on The Ocean or The Rainforest she would aim to merely plant a seed, creating a shelf in the mind of an 8-year old, who perhaps one day would have an opportunity to study or work in a related field later in life, adding to that shelf space of knowledge first created in the 3rd Grade.

At the Mother’s Day Tea Party for 2nd Graders, seven-year old boys and girls learned how to be well-mannered Men & Women.  Mom wasn’t as concerned about 2nd graders mastering table manners or proper etiquette right then and there, but instead she was simply creating shelf space…so as young adults or professionals later in life, they could not only draw from what they’d learned, but also add to their knowledge on the ‘etiquette shelf’ first created in the 2nd Grade.

The OneMoreStep Thought on shelf space is two fold: 

1)    You and I have opportunities every single day to create shelf space for someone else – our friends, family members, coworkers, teams, bosses, and even our students, Guests, or customers.  We all may not be experts, but all of us do have unique talents, time, and passions…sharing any one or all of them with the people in our lives just might create shelf space in their hearts and/or minds that one day could lead to a new sense of purpose, an inspiring journey, or simply a positive difference in their lives.

2)    Sure we work hard, and absolutely we can be proud of our accomplishments.  While some may have created their own destinies or climbed their “mountain” by his or herself, most of us have what we have today because of someone else.  Somewhere, at some point along the line, someone either gave us a break, gave us a shot, taught us a lesson, or inspired us to make a decision that would change our lives for the better. 

We should remember those people, and tell them or show them how much we appreciate the positive impact they’ve made in our lives.

Join me in honoring all Mothers, Grandmothers, Great-Grandmothers, and Aunts on this Mother’s Day weekend, for the lessons and shelf space they’ve created for us over the years.  
To my Mom – Every single day I draw from or add to one of the thousands of ‘shelves’ that you first created in my heart and mind - some years ago, while others were just days ago.  Thanks for the lessons and thanks for the love.   
I love you…Happy Mother’s Day.

One for the road…

I was a unique case, having my Mom for a Kindergarten teacher, both of my Aunts were educators, and both of my grandmothers were educators.
Last week several colleagues and I participated in Junior Achievement’s – JA in a Day program.  We spent the day at a local Las Vegas elementary school, teaching Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd 3rd, 4th, & 5th Graders about Entrepreneurship and Financial Literacy.  

At first I was a bit nervous, standing in the front of a 4th Grade classroom teaching 32 ten-year old students about Entrepreneurship, Business, Revenues, Expenses, Profits, Losses, Problem Solving, Risks, & Rewards.

However, thanks to the greatest teachers in my life – Mom, Nini, Jennifer, MomMom, and MaMa – I had ample “teaching” shelf space…so I just connected the dots backwards to all the years I watched and listened to my Mom, aunts, and grandmothers...teaching felt quite natural after that.

…and my colleagues and I took great pride in creating some ‘entrepreneurial’ shelf space for the students of Cunningham Elementary School. Who knows whom among them will become the next Steve Wynn, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates...

Happy Mother's Day...

Have a great day.


" can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
  -- Steve Jobs

Monday, May 6, 2013

Being there... Guest Blog Post by Sonny Ritacca

Guest blog post, by Sonny Ritacca:

Being there….
Greetings, One More Step Nation. 
It has been a privilege to read, live, love, and grow with the One More Step Revolution, and watch it evolve into what it has become today.    
However, having the privilege to have Taylor Scott in my corner for over 12 years, there is little I haven’t already seen put into action, on our playing field, better known, as “life.” These are not just words or concepts to him… They are his way of being.  
The greatest lesson learned and one that has been pivotal in my leadership journey is “being there”. 
I can’t think of one important day in my life, where Taylor has not been there in some form or fashion.  Whether it’s a promotion, graduation, heartbreak, loss, screw up, or simply to bounce off an idea or strategy; I don’t remember every beer we’ve enjoyed together, or all the antics that have ensued over the years (well I remember most), but I certainly remember every time he was there for the aforementioned moments. 
Not only does he celebrate with me, he cries with me; a true measure of one’s character.  Being there” synergy is often the common denominator in our trusted circle of our Band of Brothers (we hit it off and immediately became the best of friends during and following the tragic events of September 11th, 2001.)  Perhaps that’s why we have such closely knit, trusted group. 
In leadership or friendship, I truly believe that “being there” is what separates the good from the great.  To establish trust, loyalty, and partners that will go shoulder-to-shoulder with you, this is the right way to get there.  Be there for our people at the times that are most important to them and when they need it the most. 
As a leader, do not confuse this with the ability to have the tough talks with your people or an excuse for not holding your people accountable.  If your people feel that you love them and that you are there for them, the tough talks and measures of accountability become easier, and with greater impact.  How?  Because they understand that your position comes from a place of love for the person and the business.  They will walk away from it, feeling they let you down, and an unbridled hunger to do better and tear down the walls for you.
Furthermore, they will understand that you will be right there with them.  If they are not the right fit for the business, they will understand that you made every effort to get them there, before it’s time for separation.     
In his book, Leadership, Rudy Giuliani passes on a lesson he learned from his father: “Weddings are discretionary and funerals are mandatory”.  I love this lesson.  While being mindful of crossing personal boundaries for those you lead, understand when you need to “be there”.

One for the road...

We took the month of April OFF, from writing OneMoreStepRevolution blog posts.  

I talked to Sonny the other day, and he said he hadn't seen a post in a few weeks.  I told him I was taking a break after feeling a bit discouraged, down, and even disappointed in a few outcomes as of late.  As usual, Sonny had some encouraging words, picked me up, and even went OneMoreStep in sharing some of his encouraging and passionate words with OneMoreStep Nation.

Thanks, for being there, Sonny...thanks for bringing us back. 


Have a great day.


A few weeks after we first met, both Sonny and I experienced the 'not so magical' side of a breakup.  Two weeks later we found ourselves bonding at a Jimmy Buffett concert together in Manassas, VA on September 9th, 2001...cheering each other right up.  (Needless to say, we grew even closer just days later after the events of 9-11-01.) 

He grew up in Chicago loving baseball, and I grew up in Kentucky loving basketball.  He always appreciated the rich tradition and heritage of the Kentucky Wildcats, and I grew up with a fascination with Wrigley Field and watching the storied Chicago Cubs on WGN.  

We clicked instantly over sports, Disney, and this day we go to games, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Jimmy Buffett concerts...nothing like being there...

We both love Summertime, palm trees, oceans, islands, live music, Disney, and William James Buffett...12 years and upwards of 20 Jimmy concerts later...we seem to always remind each other of the importance of 'being there' for one another; which is how this whole thing started.

The more things change, the more they stay the same...