Friday, June 24, 2016

Take me to your leader…

Last week’s blog was published right before the Cleveland Cavaliers clinched the NBA National Championship.  So much has happened since then. In a nutshell – they won; beat the odds, the curse is broken and hope springs eternal for Cleveland’s other professional sports teams. Everywhere you looked this week you saw – or heard – something Cavaliers – signs, merchandise, blogs, tweets, news items, interviews, songs.  I admit that I was “ALLIN” for just about every bit of it.

One thing that really stood out for me was the recurring notion of leadership. Interview after interview LeBron James was hailed as the leader of this team; a role he embraced willingly. And, interview after interview LeBron James stayed true to his belief in himself and his teammates, exhibiting confidence, drive and a demeanor that remained calm in the face of adversity. He led by example. Never let them see you sweat.  We have a game plan; we need to follow it and execute. Just follow my lead.

To me, that’s real leadership.  Even if he was screaming on the inside; even if there was any chink in the armor, you never saw it. Imagine how different things would have been if he was running around yelling, “We’re down 3-1, we’re down 3-1. What are we going to do? No team has ever come back from this point to win the championship!”  Bet there wouldn’t have been a championship parade in Cleveland this past Wednesday.

There are a lot of qualities that define a good leader; things like empathy, integrity, accountability and honesty among them. But the ability to make people believe in themselves; lead them calmly through the storm to beat the odds and achieve a goal; that’s leadership.  Just saying.

“Nothing is given. Everything is earned.”



Posted by MJ Thomas


Friday, June 17, 2016

I do believe, I do believe. I do, I do, I do!

Last night the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the odds – big time. Considering that the odds have been against them ever since the best of seven final series began, that’s saying something. They fought hard and they played tough and are now one game away from an NBA Championship. Welcome to Believeland!
Beyond the outstanding display of skill, the team brought to life a very valuable tenet – never give up. If you want to achieve your dream, never give up. Even when the odds are stacked against you and everyone tells you that you can’t do it; never give up. Understand and accept that there will be obstacles along the way, you will be challenged, you may stumble and you may even fail the first few times. Keep going; don’t give up. Believe. Nobody said it would be easy. Sometimes you have to stick with something long enough to make it work.  Obviously, this goes way beyond basketball. It’s about life and purpose and being willing to persevere to achieve a dream even when everything around you tells you it’s not going to happen.

Think about this. Steven Spielberg was rejected three times by the University of Southern California’s School of Theatre, Film and Television. Walt Disney was rejected by bankers 300 times because they thought the idea of Mickey Mouse was absurd. Do you know how many times Thomas Edison failed before he successfully invented the light bulb? One thousand. Harry Potter was rejected twelve times before finally being accepted by Bloomsbury Publishing. There are countless examples like this throughout history. What do they all have in common? They didn’t give up. They believed in themselves and their purpose. Thank goodness because our world would be much different if they had.

So, what’s your dream? Are you willing to put it all on the line to achieve that dream? Are you ready to accept rejection, stumble a few times and still keep going? Do you believe? Then, go for it!

When the Cavaliers take the court at the Oracle Arena on Sunday night in Oakland, the odds will still be against them. No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-1 playoff series deficit in the finals to win the championship. The Cavs believe they can do it; they don’t plan on giving up.

This is Believeland. Go Cavs!


Posted by MJ Thomas


Friday, June 10, 2016

Are you chasing rabbits?

“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.” Ever have one of those days? I sure have. In fact, I think I’m having one today. You know what I mean; your concentration is limited, you feel like you are shuffling papers from one pile to another and at the end of the day you really haven’t finished anything.  Some call it the dreaded “shiny ball “syndrome. Oh, look, there’s another one. Wait a minute. What was I saying? Sorry, I got distracted – again.

Focus.  That’s easier said than done. First, it’s Friday and it’s beautiful outside; it’s Game Four of the NBA Finals for the Cleveland Cavaliers; it’s busy and the phones are ringing a lot; emails are rolling in; there’s a lot to talk about; and one of my favorite songs just came on the radio so I have to sing along.

So what do you do? As David Siteman Garland stated, “There’s a difference between multi-tasking and multi-wasting-your-damn time.”  There’s nothing wrong with shiny ball syndrome IF you get things done. But, if you keep moving from project to project and task to task and nothing’s getting done, here are a few tips that may help.

Get going and keep going. You have to start somewhere. Don’t get overwhelmed. Break things down into small sections that you can handle. Make a list of things you want to get done. Seeing it on paper makes it more real and there’s something very satisfying when you complete a task and can cross it off your list. Decide which task to do first and then commit to following through. Stick with it and know that there will be temptations along the way to stray from the course. Fight the feeling. One of the few things I remember from Geometry is that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Keep going. Nobody said it would be easy but at the end of the day, when you look at your list and see how much you’ve completed, it’s all worth it.

Okay, let’s see. Blog complete? Check. Go Cavs! 

Posted by MJ Thomas



Friday, June 3, 2016

Be prepared for the lazy, hazy and crazy days of summer

It’s summer! Well, almost. This year summer’s official beginning is slated for June 20, but with the recent wave of warm temperatures and sunshine days, it feels like it’s already here.
While many of us look forward to a vacation during the summer, one thing we can’t take a vacation from is safety; especially in the workplace. Summer brings its own list of safety and health risks to the party; whether you’re working indoors or outdoors.
Increased heat in the summer is definitely a game changer. Things like dehydration, sunburn and heat-related illnesses like exhaustion, cramps and heat stroke, become common phrases in our vocabulary. But, there’s nothing common about them. According to a report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in 2014, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illnesses with eighteen dying from heat stroke and related causes at the job.
Preventive measures help lessen these risks and create a safer environment for all. Here are some things to keep in mind.
·        Stay hydrated – make sure employees have ready access to water and encourage them to drink that water every 15 minutes, even if they are not thirsty.
·        Work schedules may have to be modified to allow for additional rest periods; for outdoor workers it may mean extra time in the shade. Provide a cool area where employees can rest.
·        Plan for emergencies and make sure workers are trained on prevention. Make sure everyone knows the signs of heat-related illnesses and what to do in case of emergency.
·        Keep an eye on fellow workers. Monitor them for signs like dizziness, headaches, nausea, weakness, excessive sweating and signs of confusion.

Make this summer – and your work place – the best it can be. Remember that safety is important all year long.

Posted by MJ Thomas