It’s a Great Deal, All Three of Me Think So

20130410_133049Well I guess you have been wondering where I have been lately loyal blog readers. I have actually taken my ramblings to the big show. Over the last year some really awesome things have been happening.

I took many of my thoughts about business and the art of selling and made the commitment to combine them into a book format. I was lucky enough to be accepted by an international publisher and It’s a Great Deal, All Three of Me Think So has now gone to print and was recently released.

You can obtain a copy by contacting me, or you can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or directly from the publisher at http://www.publishamerica.com.

You can also now find me once a month with a featured column in the Monday Workplace editions of both the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press.

I never initially perceived myself as an author and started to do it as an offshoot to my profession as a coach. However, I have now developed a passion for it. So much so, that I am now in the process of editing my next book.

If you have enjoyed my blog, I hope you will consider picking up a copy of my book. I am sure you will enjoy it.

Thanks for all of your support!

Ideas For Sale, Anyone Listening? Detroit News 4-9-2012

Clients often ask me how to better communicate their thoughts about change in their workplace. While they may come up with great ideas to make their specific job or the business run more efficient, their input is often met with either an argumentative attitude or a dismissal.

Like a baseball pitcher, the problem is often in the delivery. Most people have trouble differentiating their perspective, from what they deem to be a truth. The truth is, there are really very few things in life that are true. Most things in life are perspective. No two human beings have experienced the exact same set of circumstances in their life and thus can’t possibly see things the same exact way.

If you want others to buy into what you’re thinking try using these tactics:

Make your idea relatable. Human beings possess differing personalities and thus buy into others thoughts and ideas in accordance with their own personality. Take the time to get to know your co-worker and uncover under what circumstances they buy. Whether they’re analytical, expressive or amiable, prepare your delivery accordingly.

There is more than one way to skin a cat. When selling your idea, remember that it is neither right nor wrong; it’s an alternative to the present habit which you perceive will deliver better results. Telling your boss or co-worker that they’re wrong or saying “you’re missing my point” or “you’re not listening to me” will never get them to buy in.

Be passionate yet prudent. Your co-workers interest in what you have to say will be enhanced as long as it is delivered in a positive, relevant and irrefutable manner. Embrace their input and make changes when applicable to reach a constructive solution.

Make yourself relatable and respect differing opinions, when you do you just might find others asking you for your input, rather than seeing it as unsolicited advice.

Nope I Didn’t Do It and I Didn’t See A Thing…Detroit News 3-5-2012

Sent an email to someone at the office and immediately realized it contained something you shouldn’t have said? Pounding the keyboard trying to recover it? Sitting there horrified waiting for the fallout?

It was just a mistake and I’ll learn from it. Even Oscar Wilde once said that “Experience is merely the name everyone gives to their mistakes”

They won’t be mad you tell yourself, besides your just gaining experience.

Everyone makes mistakes. What’s important is how you deal with them, as it will influence how your colleagues and superiors perceive you.

If you don’t acknowledge them, become defensive or try to justify them, it can create hostility and lack of trust. Assume responsibility. Don’t blame anyone or anything else, hide it or pretend it didn’t happen.

Don’t cover up small mistakes in the hope they won’t be noticed, as it shouldn’t make a difference whether it was insignificant or serious.

When you make a mistake:

Admit it. Soon as you realize you’ve made a mistake, fess up. Admitting a mistake, shows you have the confidence to own up to it. Others will respect your honesty.

Explain it. Figure out what and why it happened. Once you know be forthright about it, others will feel better knowing that all understand the oversight.

Solve it. Take the initiative. If you make a mistake, create a better plan for the future.

Correct it. If you make a mistake and need time to correct it, do so on your time even if it means working late or through lunch.

Don’t dwell on it. We all make mistakes don’t beat yourself up. Learn from it and move on.

Mistakes happen in the workplace. Often they can be an opportunity for growth. As Winston Churchill said “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes”.

The Winter of Being Content- Detroit News 1-30-2012

Dreaming of somewhere warm or watching snowflakes fall in your personal winter wonderland? Well, you’re not alone.

Ambivalence and apathy in the workplace are not uncommon, and much to your employer’s dismay lead to a substantially less productive environment. If you’ve got the doldrums, try these five tips:

Get a Good Night’s Rest. Sleep matters. According to msnbc.com people who slept less than six hours experienced an increased body mass index (height-to-weight ratio) more than those who slept seven to eight hours.

Eat Healthy. The average person gains a whopping 7-12 pounds. According to the ADA, you’re one step ahead if you eat six small meals a day, unless when you do you’re gorging on your favorite fast food restaurant’s value meal. Be selective in what you eat and do so only when you are truly hungry.

Exercise. Simple equation: if you burn more calories than you eat, you’ll lose weight. Healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. To lose 1 pound per week you need to create a calorie deficit (burn more than you eat) of 500 calories per day. Certainly achieve with even moderate aerobic exercise.

Drink Water. The best fluid you can have. You may mistake hunger for thirst as your body gives out the same want for water as it does for food. Drinking water doesn’t offer you sugar or carbonation but, it does satisfy your hunger.

Laugh More. The heart beats faster, it tightens sagging stomach muscles and can bolster the immune system, helping to fight off infections like coughs and colds. Studies show an hour of laughter burns approximately 100 calories, equating to a half hour of weightlifting or vacuuming for three quarters of an hour. Both equivalent to a small bag of chips, or small bar of chocolate.

A Special Father’s Day

So, did you miss me? I know I haven’t written for a little while. Little things like a wedding, dance competitions, carving out new adventures, all seemed to have gotten in the way of my ramblings. Don’t fret though, I’m back.

I thought Father’s Day weekend was a great time to jump back into this blog thing. For me it’s a great time for reflection and introspection. So many great things have been happening lately and it really occurred to me how much I miss my dad. I vacillate between the joy and accomplishments of my beautiful daughters and the lack of opportunity to share them with my dad. A Father’s day conundrum.

My oldest daughter Ashley got married last month and while as the saying goes “you didn’t lose a daughter, you gained a son”, I somehow felt my little girl slipping through my fingers. “She will always be daddy’s little girl” wasn’t working really well for me either. I quietly struggled with the admission that she had grown up and that she was more than ready to carve out a new life of her own filled with joy, happiness and success.

I had to come to grips that being a dad now meant that my role, should there ever be a need for sage old advice or comfort for any heartache was to just offer a sympathetic ear or a selection of profound wisdom when called upon. I got that, but I couldn’t let go of a quote that I read years ago. I never could find the author who was attributed with saying it, but he simply said “a daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart”.

I come from a family where the men often had a difficult time holding their tears in. My grandfather cried. My dad cried. Not just at funerals or somber occasions, but at sad movies, winning touchdowns, overtime, and little kids birthday parties. . I cry at spilled milk, which really is pretty funny because I’m lactose intolerant.

I missed my dad as I walked my princess down the aisle. I wanted to cry and share with him in all of the bittersweet moments, but of course, I couldn’t. And for some strange reason I couldn’t cry.

That is not to suggest for one moment that I was not overcome with emotion, because of course I was. It was one of the most memorable and happiest days of my life. I had just made some bizarre fundamental commitment that I was going to hold my emotions in check. My kids wondered what was wrong. Why wasn’t dad crying?

Maybe a higher power was at work. A hand on my shoulder letting me know that I needed to be strong for the both of us. No meltdowns allowed.

I missed my dad him when my younger daughter Alexa took third place with her solo in a regional dance competition, performing it for only the second time on stage. She was awesome. I never saw her dance like that before. Her stage presence, her emotion, her technique was incredible.

I looked at my wife who was wiping away tears. I looked at Ashley whose tears were flowing the minute Alexa walked out on stage. I was stoic. Just didn’t cry. Maybe my father was there with me once again with his calming hand on my shoulder sharing in the great deal of pride we both felt.

With each movement I was memorized. This was my kid on stage. Commanding the attention of the audience and the judges who were going to critique her performance. I got goose bumps. I could feel my pride bubbling over, but I refused to cry.

Why couldn’t my dad be there to see this? He would have loved to watch her performance.

Some may say that Father’s Day like Mother’s Day, Valentines and Sweetest Days are Hallmark holidays and for some that may be true. But for some like me, it is a great day to ponder days of past present and future.

Yes, I really do miss my dad. I miss sharing and laughing. I miss ball games and bowling. I even miss lectures and an occasional spanking. But this weekend, I’m going to celebrate the memories we shared. I’m going to commit myself to laughing and maybe sharing a tear or two.

As far as my own two precious daughters, I am going to revel in their successes. I’m going to gloat, celebrate and shout out my enthusiasm about their victories, and I don’t care if I embarrass them. I know in time they will forgive me.

Since I hope you all have an awesome Father’s day weekend. Let me help you to solve the Father’s day conundrum. First remember that a great dad fills his wallet with pictures where the money used to be.

Secondly, take the time to remember what you valued most about your father and celebrate the days of joy and memories. Grab your kids and give them a big hug and kiss and tell them how proud you are of what they have made out of their lives and that being their dad is one of the greatest joys in your life. It’s even okay to shed a few tears.

Thank you dad for teaching me what it means to be a great father, Happy Father’s Day dad.

I Must Have Lost That Passion of Mine Between the Seats of the Couch

I recently wrote an article for the Detroit News and Free Press Working sections entitled “Turn your passion into employment. It was about uncovering what you loved to do and turning it into a life’s vocation. I didn’t realize at the time I wrote it how closely it hit home. While over the last year I had chosen to make some substantial changes in my career path, until I saw my words in print, I didn’t realize that in many ways I was talking about myself.

The wonderful thing about discovering what you’re passionate about is that you can jump in with both feet, become overcome with that passion, and all the while have little time to deal with the trivial things that used to make up your monotonous days.

As most of you know, last year after thirty years in the mortgage industry, I decided that I just didn’t want to do it anymore (I am still happy to help friends, relatives and the numerous past clients of mine who I came to love doing business with). I had headed up small companies and I led larger corporations. I tried out my entrepreneurial hat, and I was even elected by the governor to serve on Michigan’s inaugural Mortgage Industry Advisory Board.

And I got bored.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the mortgage industry; I just wasn’t passionate about it anymore. Too many changes and less for the good, than you as a consumer might suspect. We were all guilty. Lenders, Brokers, Wall Street, even the consumer played an integral part in its demise.

I was fifty three and working thirty years in an industry that no longer inspired me.

More than half of my working career was now over. While I give you that I made a good living which allowed me to sustain the quality of life that I wanted for my wife and girls (and I give you that is instrumental for me), I became selfishly unhappy.

Yea, I know “Happy wife, happy life”. But what if dad’s not happy? Are dads entitled to not be happy?

I loved everything about my life, except work. Why? Because it was work, a job I went to every day. I had gotten to the point where my career defined who I was.

I struggled with it and a tough couple of years ensued.

And then I realized, I didn’t have to be miserable. Being miserable was a choice I had made and I had what I had because, in truth, it’s what I wanted. And then, well, here’s a thought, I didn’t want it anymore.

However what was it that I wanted to do?

What was I passionate about? What did I possess the talent to do?

As a business coach I understand that there are two things you can’t coach. You can’t coach true passion (you are either passionate about something or you’re not) and you can’t coach a lack of talent (you can certainly coach up talent, you just can’t coach up a lack of talent for something).

I needed to uncover what it was that I was passionate about, because without being modest, I knew that I had the talent to do whatever I set my mind to do. What excited me? What couldn’t I wait to get involved in? What made me smile and feel fulfilled?

Whole Foods Markets were started by twenty-five year old college dropout John Mackey and twenty-one year old Rene Lawson Hardy, natural food connoisseurs who saved and borrowed money from family and friends to open their first store.

Apple computer was started by a “geek” in his garage, who prided himself on his electronic hacking ability. PCs Limited was the initial operations of Michael Dell run from his dorm room, until he decided to drop out of college to run his company full time.

In 1971, English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegel, and writer Gordon Bowker invested $1,350 of their own money to open a store initially known as called Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spice.

Talent agents once described Fred Astaire by saying “Can’t act, can’t sing, balding… Can dance a little” and Clark Gable with “What can you do with a guy with ears like that?”

So what was it for me?

If you have followed my blog from the beginning, you know where the title of the blog “Ramblings of the Bruce” came from. Well I decided, it was time for a new identity. I was going to take ownership of “The Bruce”.

Sure it was still going to be exciting in my new role as the Chief Marketing Officer at Main Street (the bank that bought my mortgage company), but I was going for branding. I wanted to accomplish something much bigger. I got hungry. I was going to fuel the fire brewing in my gut.

It was time that “The Bruce” was destined for greatness.

So who or what did I re-invent?

• I became a blogger and a Facebook philosopher who you found here (or maybe I found you).

• I became an author currently working on re-editing my first publication “It’s a Great Deal, All Three of Me Think So”.

• I became a contributing author to the Detroit News and Free Press.

• I perfected what I had learned coaching others and became a partner in Business Edge, an internationally recognized Executive Coaching Firm.

• I formed a partnership in a new and exciting entertainment firm entitled D’ City Sound.

• I got my mug in national publications.

You see my passion, aside from often talking too much, is helping others. I love to see people smiling and having a great time.

I love to help others see things that they might have never seen before.

I love the look in their eyes when they arrive at a solution or an answer and you can just see their whole lives unlocking behind their eyelids.

I love it when they smack their foreheads with the palm of their hands, as if to say “Was it really that obvious?”

For the first time in a long time I’m having the time of my life, and I am passionate about what I am doing.

Do you love what you do?

I mean are you really passionate about what it is that you do?

If you are and you do, it’s awesome, rewarding and fulfilling all at the same time. If you are not, take a step back and look at your business life. Look at it from the outside looking in and not how you have looked at it over the last ten or twenty years.

I say “Happy Dad, glad dad” too.

Or as George Burns once so eloquently said “I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate”.

Being passionate means not only discovering what you want to do more than anything, but resisting the urge to never attempt or quit because the challenge appears too great.

New Year’s Resolutions? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Resolutions

At this time last year I wrote a rather lengthy list of resolutions, or maybe better said goals or aspirations that I wanted to accomplish. I am happy to say I did a pretty decent job of fulfilling the items that I jotted down. Yes, I even had the privilege of helping a little old lady across the street. This year however, I have a different plan.

I’m going to take what some may see as a rather complex plan and make it simple. I’m going to limit myself to improving three areas of my life.

• Laugh a little more
• Love a little more
• Live a little more

For those of you who have been following my blog or read my book, you know that my favorite quote is by Robin Williams who once quipped “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

No, I am not saying that I’m going to be laughing more at you particularly (well, maybe some of you), but more specifically about myself and life in general. I’ve found that at times I have lost track of the fact that I can’t control what others say or do, but that I do have control over how I react.

Lawrence Welk, clearly known for his hilarity once said “There are good days and there are bad days and this is one of them.

Nothing personal, but I’m not going to let you get me angry or frustrated anymore. It started out as an awesome day and I’m going to make damn sure it ends as one. If your being a moron or an idiot, congratulations on that. I wish you well on your behavior and I hope for your sake you get that burger made your way.

From now on I’m going to be the next guy in line thinking life is too short.

I went to a Lions game this past week and stood in a long line in the restroom. A man in line behind me decided he didn’t want to wait and relieved himself in the sink. I just stood there shaking my head with a what an idiot look on my face, when the gentleman behind me started yelling at him. He was shocked that I didn’t join in on his tirade.

The truth was what exactly was I going to say to someone who relieves himself in a sink that was going to alter his behavior? He’s an idiot, I got it. I laughed my way back to my seat.

Funny how much easier life is when you realize that it is much easier to laugh at it rather than tangle with it.

As much as I love to laugh, the past year had its moments of tragedy and loss for me as well. I bid farewell to some that I thought would be here much longer. I know I have blogged before about seizing the day, but like all of us we tend to get caught up in the minutia.

Well, I’m done with minutia. The heck with all of you people and you’re whining and complaining about inconsequential stuff. Tell it to someone who cares, because I really don’t care if you didn’t get extra pickles. Step aside because someone that is important to me is waiting for me.

Life is not about no onions or extra dressing. Life is about sharing your time and energy with the people you treasure most. It’s about making sure they know how you feel. It’s about saying “I love you’ or “I am so proud of you”. It’s about saying to your partner “thank you for sharing your life with me” or to your kids “I’m honored to be your dad”.

I know you have heard it thousands of times before, but life really is to short and you just can’t get back the people or days you lost. I’m going to fill my cup with the things I am committed to saying to the people I love and care about this year.

In the words of actor James Earl Jones “One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter”.

In 2011 my oldest daughter is getting married. I couldn’t be happier. She’s going to begin a new chapter in her life. If she were to ask me I would tell her simply to live each day as if it were her last. No, it’s not my intention to be morbid, but it is my new found commitment for this year.

I got caught a few times last year existing rather than living. It’s kind of funny when you coach others for a living and you trip and fall on the same floor you’re coaching on. The minutia tripped me up and on an occasion or two I lost my passion. I lost track of my priorities and let my emotions drive reaction rather than taking action.

Well, I’m back. For some of you that might be a little scary or frightening, but I’m going to make 2011 one of the best years of my life.

There is a quote which has appeared many times and in many places attributed to numerous authors which simply says “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intentions of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming…What a ride!”

It is an awesome quote but I will just simplify it with what another renowned comic, Johnny Depp said “I think the thing to do is enjoy the ride while you’re on it”.

A new year is a fresh start. I’m going to laugh a little more, love a little more and live a little more. How about you?

I Choose To Choose, Of Course As Long As It’s Okay With You.

I believe in freedom of choice. The choice we have over our emotions, that is. No bold political statements here, as I will leave those for a much smaller forum and those much better suited to debate it. Freedom over our emotions is my agenda today. As human beings we have become proficient at reacting rather than acting and forgetting that we do in fact have the ability to control a large part of the outcome our emotions dictate.

Let me take a brief moment before we get to heavy to draw my distinction between reacting and acting.

Reacting is not a process. It is what some would call an involuntary response. It is the response we exude driven solely on how we perceive life. Something happens, we react. For some who get screamed at, they scream back. For others they may find it funny and yet others may be frightened and cowl. No voluntary thought process involved what so ever.

Acting involves the process of actually thinking. We provide ourselves with a ten second rule to organize our thoughts, digest the positives and negatives of our response to all parties involved and deliver our calculated response in a systematic manner.

So now you know. You are a Reactionist and not Democratic or Republican like you thought.

I believe that every day begins as an awesome day. Being here, being present with good health and the ability to pursue happiness and wealth (However you may choose to define it) are all that we can ask for. When our feet hit the floor for the first time every morning, it becomes the launching pad for the day’s events.

Then the inevitable happens. The dog did a number on the carpet and the kids over slept their alarms for school. There is no milk for the cereal and why does it always happen that you break a shoelace when you are late out the door?

Because life happens. If you are thinking that your day just turned into what you just cleaned up from your dog, shame on you. Remember life is about choices. You can choose to react angrily about what has happened so far in your early morning and consciously decide that they are all tell tale signs of what is destined to be a miserable day, or you can make the choice to decide that these are all things that just happened. They are insignificant and meaningless and go on with your awesome day.

That is the beauty of having the freedom of choice.

So you are at the office and you get a phone call. The person on the other end of the line is agitated and starts yelling at you, and of course their hostility has everything to do with you. It’s a personal attack on your character, ethics and credibility. You can feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up and finally you lose it.

Who can yell longer or louder? Who can burst a vein in the middle of their forehead first? Or probably most important in any who can out do the other phone conversation, who can slam the phone down in the other one’s ear first.

If you’re chuckling, good for you. Pretty silly huh?

My question is this “At what point in the conversation did you realize that this person was out of control, behaving like an immature child, and without being offensive, a moron?” Or maybe the better question is that if you realized all of that early on and you allowed yourself to become that destructive, exactly what does that make you?

Guess it was your choice again huh?

Did that moron just ruin your awesome day or for you is it still an awesome day that just got sidetracked for a few brief moments?

There is that freedom of choice thing again.

The funny thing about life is that it is what we make it, far more than what others make of it. For the most part, we choose when to be happy or sad. We decide to be angry and frustrated or acknowledging and accommodating. I am sure you have heard it before, life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Robert F. Bennett once said “Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself.”

Now for me, that’s pretty deep and for those of you who know me quite well, you know that I am all about finding the fun in life. So given that lets try Mae West’s infamous quote “When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.”

Since we have all become so inherently ordained to reacting rather than acting, lets choose the road less traveled. Life really doesn’t have to be as difficult and challenging as we sometimes choose to make it. As we have said, it is what we make it.

After a long and tiresome day (only after our hero deemed it to be) an executive calls home. His wife inquires if he wants dinner. The executive inquires “What are my choices?” Without missing a beat, his wife proclaims “Yes or No”.

Act more, react less. Make productive choices and enjoy life. That’s what freedom of choice is really all about.

Exactly How Many New Years Do We Have Around Here?

For those of you who have been following my blog, I know that you have come to know that I prefer to write about the simple things in life. Usually I try to find something to make you chuckle or to make you look at life just a little bit differently. Every once in a while something monumental arises that I feel that I really want to address, but for the most part, I believe that life is tough enough and a little slice of humor or lightheartedness is the perfect escape.

On that note, we are now hosting our third foreign exchange student over the last six years. For those of you who have never entertained the thought of doing something such as this, I must tell you that it has been one the most rewarding experiences for not only myself, but my family as well.

Two of the young ladies were from Germany and one from Finland. Their knowledge of the United States and the American people come only from word of mouth from friends or siblings who have traveled here or what they have seen or read in the media or for that matter what they have studied in their schools. In truth, probably not a fair picture of arguably the greatest nation in the world.

Uniformly, the one thing that hits them first is that we are the land of excess. Shopping, restaurants, school of choice, freedom of religion and political views, police and fire protection all being abundant. Specifically they have the freedom of choice, far more options that they have ever known, and the ability to make choices without duress.

I must share with you how incredibly refreshing this is. Yes, “taking things for granted” is overused American slang to depict our laissez-faire attitude. It fits in well with our “sense of entitlement”. However looking at our culture paints a completely different picture when viewed through different eyes.

Spending a day going to Lafayette Coney Island for lunch, taking in a Tiger’s game and then having an awesome piece of pastry from the Astoria Bakery in Greek town takes on a whole new meeting when looked at through the eyes of a sixteen year old exchange student.

The reason I bring this up is that being of the Jewish faith, my family just celebrated the New Year. And yes it is a religion not a cultural background (I have no clue why Jews themselves site their religion when asked rather than their heritage). For those of you who never knew, I have Hungarian, Turkish, Polish and French Canadian ancestry. Yea, I know, that explains a lot.

While let me be clear, this blog is not about religion, it is about the spirit and message of the Jewish holiday. The celebration of the Jewish New Year is unlike many others in that it encompasses atonement and repentance as part of the ritual celebration.

For those of you, who are completely unfamiliar with the Jewish holidays, indulge me and I will take you on a thirty second tour….

Rosh Hashanah is commonly referred to as the “Jewish New Year.” It is observed on the first two days of “Tishrei”, which is the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar (That’s why it never is the same day on the American calendar).

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the ritual High Holidays or “Asseret Yemei Teshuva” the (Ten Days of Repentance) which are days specifically set aside to focus on repentance and conclude with the holiday of Yom Kippur.

According to Jewish tradition, it is said that God opens the “Book of Life” on Rosh Hashanah and will ultimately inscribe each person’s fate for the coming year on Yom Kippur. During the Ten days of Atonement Jews often try to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God and against other human beings.

Known as the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur is one of the holiest days of the year for Jews. Given that its central themes are atonement and repentance, Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 24-hour period (sundown to sundown) of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue or temple services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days
So, you ask what am I really getting at here.

For me, this is a time of reflection. No it’s not Thanksgiving and I am not going to bore you with all of the things I’m thankful for. It is kind of a reverse Thanksgiving if you will.

I look at my life over the last year and ponder was I good dad, was I the best husband I could have been. Could my friends count on me when needed and could my employer count on my best efforts? Did I make my parents proud and did I add favorable to my legacy.

Was I able to take the time to sit back, like the wonderful exchange students that we have had and realize all of the wonderful opportunities I have been granted. Have I been grateful and appreciative to those who provided me with them, or have I taken them in stride as if I was entitled?

Thank you all so much for following my blog. I hope that it has enlightened some of you, made a few of you chuckle and in some small way enriched you. Thanks for bringing me into your life. To those of you whose path I may have crossed this past year that did not leave you with a favorable memory of me, I certainly take responsibility for that and I hope that you allow me to make in right.

Take a moment in your busy life to stop and think about atonement and repentance. Think about that relationship you ended over something ultimately silly. The argument that resulted in hateful words that you wish you could have back. The really stupid thing you did that you so regret.

There is always time to correct them and make amends. The saddest person is the one who goes to his grave holding on to his anger and animosity.

Enjoy life my friends and all that it has to offer. Make peace and create joy and happiness. For those of you celebrating a very heartfelt “L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem” (May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year).”

Just A Second You Wish You Could Have Back….

I lost a very special cousin a few weeks ago. He was a cousin by marriage, not that it mattered, who took me in as a part of his family with open arms, and despite his tough guy façade allowed me to see a side of him that not many outside his immediate family saw. He was truly a great guy who reached out immediately for those in need, whether that need was driven by personal hardship or just knowing that no matter what, he had your back.

You know the type, hardnosed, hardheaded, and with a heart as big as a mountain. If it is true what they say that “The bigger they are, the harder they fall” shock waves not only went through his family, but also the thousands of mourners who visited him both at the funeral home and his final resting place after he died.

Dean was just a carefree guy. Had a gorgeous wife and three beautiful daughters who he adored every minute of every day. Yes, he worked. Worked hard too, with a perfect safety record of which he was damn proud. The most important thing though was family. Everything was about family. Birthdays, Communions, Bat Mitzvahs, family gatherings, graduation parties, you name it. Any reason to be with family was a great reason.

A close second was his Harleys. The man loved his Harleys and he loved to ride.

Dean didn’t die of Cancer or a brain tumor. He didn’t die of a heart attack or some rare blood disease. He wasn’t murdered by gun shot or knife nor did he die in some natural disaster.

He was killed by someone who didn’t take the time to look. The other guy.

I am not by any means against motorcyclists. I myself rode dirt bikes for years as a kid and loved it. I was terrified about ever riding on main roads and never did get my license to do so. The thing is, I never trusted the other guy. Dean was killed by the other guy.

He rode for over 30 years and was a trusted rider who was careful, proactive and didn’t believe in showboating. He respected the rules of the road and the bigger and larger vehicles around him. He always remained in control; Dean just couldn’t control the other guy.

Now, two families are destroyed.

Here are some statistics that may shock you:

• According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), there are 7.1 million motorcycles on the road in the United States, and over one million new motorcycles and dirt bikes are purchased every year.

• In 2008 5,290 people died in motorcycle accidents across the country – the highest number ever recorded. More recent statistics are not yet available.

• The number of motorcycle accidents and fatalities has increased every year for the last decade.

• More and more riders over 40 years of age are being killed in motorcycle crashes – a trend that reflects the aging baby boomers.

• According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you are 37 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than a car accident – and nine times more likely to become injured while riding a motorcycle than while driving a car.

• Last year, 14 percent of all traffic accident deaths involved motorcycles.

• There were 114,000 serious motorcycle accidents last year that involved injuries or property damage.

One major study done on this subject in the United States was the Hurt Report, which was published a number of years back. The Hurt Report concluded with a list of 55 findings, as well as several major recommendations for law enforcement and legislation.

Notable findings in the Hurt report included:

• 75% of motorcycle accidents were found to involve both a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle.

• In these accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.

• “The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents…

Careless driving has to stop. Respect for bikers is mandatory. Motorcycles are not going away and as such, your attention to them is not only requested, but demanded. Eliminating texting while driving was a good first step in protecting all vehicle passengers; now for our friends on bikes let’s stop:

• Tailgating riders

• Changing lanes without checking blind spots

• Racing them to intersections or cutting them off

• Disregarding traffic signs because at first glance we don’t see any traffic

The funny thing people, is that it is as simple as what you learned when you got your license, combined with just a little plain common decency and courtesy. Traits I know we all have.

If you think I am passionate about this subject, well I am. My daughter’s future father-in-law was critically injured a few years ago when a woman ran a traffic sign and slammed into him on his bike. After years of healing, and a subsequent stroke from the accident he is now legally blind and was forced to give up a thriving dental practice.

My future son-in law rides as well and on occasion is accompanied by my daughter. I will be honest with you; it scares the very hell out of me. While I know that he is a very responsible rider, I’m worried about the other guy.

Please watch for them on the road, I hold their safety in your hands.