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Archive for November, 2010

Great Things Start Out Small

November 29th, 2010 No comments

Reason suggests that all great things start out small. Warren Buffett’s mighty Berkshire-Hathaway, Bill Gates’ Microsoft or Sam Walton’s huge Wal-Mart all had very modest beginnings. Christianity began with a handful of committed souls; today 1/3 of the world says they are Christian. The mighty oak starts out as an acorn, and so on.

That said, we all too often judge a venture or opportunity based on the size of the thing. Based on the examples we saw above, one might ask, isn’t that a bit backward? Great nations, great companies and great causes all start out small!

What does it take to start your own or grow with another person’s budding opportunity? 

  • Forward-looking vision, seeing what is possible (visualizing the oak in the acorn)
  • Sound plan of action and ability to adjust
  • Deep commitment to the cause
  • A willingness to risk in exchange for the rewards
  • Leaving the comfort of the known for what is hoped-for possible 
  • Doing whatever it takes to make the vision come to life!

When a seed is planted, at first blush, it looks a little like a burial ceremony. For days or weeks, nothing may be visible. Yet all during that time, care must be given to that buried seed: the warmth of the sun (or artificial heat source), rain or watering (irrigation), proper nutrients in the soil and so on. It takes time to see the first green sprout, then the shoot and later still, the mature plant or tree that may then later feed its planter, caregivers and others.

In like manner, a new or budding opportunity requires similar factors:

  • The warmth of faith and positive action
  • The nutrition and moisture needed for the cause from the work of those involved 
  • Adjustments as needed to respond to conditions that arise (just as weather affects plant life, so too, conditions affect the new cause; both require adjusting to meet those conditions).

There is security sitting under the shade of a cause, company or organization that is already well established. Joining McDonald’s today is different than being a worker or manager of one of their first locations! Joining today isn’t a bad thing, but joining the budding enterprise takes courage, commitment and a spirit of adventure – and the rewards for those willing to take that early leap of faith and who stick with it tend to be greater.

Starting or growing a modest venture can be transformative. Taking what is to the next level can put a spring in your step, if…

…you believe and are willing to do what it takes to make the vision become a reality.

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Written and submitted by:
L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
Publisher and Marketing Director
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com  or www.MHMSM.com

Mending Fences

November 28th, 2010 No comments

Ask any rancher about the uses and purposes of fencing and you will hear things like this:

Fencing:

  • marks your property line,
  • protects and keeps things in that you want (cattle, sheep, etc.),
  • impedes or keeps things out that you don’t want to allow in.

Because fencing serves useful purposes and has value, fencing is worth preserving. Cowpokes ‘ride the fence’ with the idea of finding breaks in the fence, so they can be identified and mended. Fencing can be breached or broken by:

  • accident, 
  • intent or 
  • through forces of nature.

Fencing can be a metaphor and a reality. We have borders and connections in relationships (personal and professional) much the same as we have fencing along property lines. When we find a fence that needs mending (a breach in a relationship), it is good to try to mend it. This is the process known as ‘mending fences.’

Now, the reality is that unlike wire, wood, rock or other types of man-made fence, the mending that takes place between people may not be mended solo. One party may initiate, but another must reciprocate for the breach to be mended. There are times and some things that simply require one or both sides to let go and move on.

What are the alternatives? Conflict, for one. But to what end? What is the value of the feud in contrast to the rewards of having the breach healed? Maybe one party was truly wronged, but there is no real way to correct the harm. What to do? Think about this:

“If everyone practiced an ‘eye for an eye,’ then pretty soon, the whole world would be blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi

You and I have seen enemies become friends through the proper effort. We have also seen friends become opponents or enemies. There are as many ways to mend the fence of a ruptured relationship as there are people. The first step is often to try to understand what has happened, from the other person’s perspective. As Dr Stephen Covey wisely wrote, 

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

So asking and listening are important. Mending fences can start with something as easy as an email. It often takes more to do the mending, but if the ‘fence’ has value, it is worth the effort. Consider the value and the peace of mind fence-mending can bring.

Then take the baby steps to do it.

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The Pilgrims and America’s First Thanksgiving

November 25th, 2010 No comments

Sailing Ship, Thanksgiving 2011The Pilgrims, who celebrated the first thanksgiving in America, were fleeing religious persecution in their native England. In 1609 a group of Pilgrims left England for the religious freedom in Holland where they lived and prospered. After a few years their children were speaking Dutch and had become attached to the dutch way of life. This worried the Pilgrims. They considered the Dutch frivolous and their ideas a threat to their children’s education and morality.

So they decided to leave Holland and travel to the New World. Their trip was financed by a group of English investors, the Merchant Adventurers. It was agreed that the Pilgrims would be given passage and supplies in exchange for their working for their backers for 7 years.

On Sept. 6, 1620 the Pilgrims set sail for the New World on a ship called the Mayflower. They sailed from Plymouth, England and aboard were 44 Pilgrims, who called themselves the “Saints”, and 66 others, whom the Pilgrims called the “Strangers.”

The long trip was cold and damp and took 65 days. Since there was the danger of fire on the wooden ship, the food had to be eaten cold. Many passengers became sick and one person died by the time land was sighted on November 10th.

The long trip led to many disagreements between the “Saints” and the “Strangers”. After land was sighted a meeting was held and an agreement was worked out, called the Mayflower Compact, which guaranteed equality and unified the two groups. They joined together and named themselves the “Pilgrims.”

Although they had first sighted land off Cape Cod they did not settle until they arrived at Plymouth, which had been named by Captain John Smith in 1614. It was there that the Pilgrims decide to settle. Plymouth offered an excellent harbor. A large brook offered a resource for fish. The Pilgrims biggest concern was attack by the local Native American Indians. But the Patuxets were a peaceful group and did not prove to be a threat.

The first winter was devastating to the Pilgrims. The cold, snow and sleet was exceptionally heavy, interfering with the workers as they tried to construct their settlement. March brought warmer weather and the health of the Pilgrims improved, but many had died during the long winter. Of the 110 Pilgrims and crew who left England, less that 50 survived the first winter.

On March 16, 1621 , what was to become an important event took place, an Indian brave walked into the Plymouth settlement. The Pilgrims were frightened until the Indian called out “Welcome” (in English!).

His name was Samoset and he was an Abnaki Indian. He had learned English from the captains of fishing boats that had sailed off the coast. After staying the night Samoset left the next day. He soon returned with another Indian named Squanto who spoke better English than Samoset. Squanto told the Pilgrims of his voyages across the ocean and his visits to England and Spain. It was in England where he had learned English.

Squanto’s importance to the Pilgrims was enormous and it can be said that they would not have survived without his help. It was Squanto who taught the Pilgrims how to tap the maple trees for sap. He taught them which plants were poisonous and which had medicinal powers. He taught them how to plant the Indian corn by heaping the earth into low mounds with several seeds and fish in each mound. The decaying fish fertilized the corn. He also taught them to plant other crops with the corn.

The harvest in October was very successful and the Pilgrims found themselves with enough food to put away for the winter. There was corn, fruits and vegetables, fish to be packed in salt, and meat to be cured over smoky fires.

The Pilgrims had much to celebrate, they had built homes in the wilderness, they had raised enough crops to keep them alive during the long coming winter, they were at peace with their Indian neighbors. They had beaten the odds and it was time to celebrate.

The Pilgrim Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native Americans. They invited Squanto and the other Indians to join them in their celebration. Their chief, Massasoit, and 90 braves came to the celebration which lasted for 3 days. They played games, ran races, marched and played drums. The Indians demonstrated their skills with the bow and arrow and the Pilgrims demonstrated their musket skills. Exactly when the festival took place is uncertain, but it is believed the celebration took place in mid-October.

The following year the Pilgrims harvest was not as bountiful, as they were still unused to growing the corn. During the year they had also shared their stored food with newcomers and the Pilgrims ran short of food.

The 3rd year brought a spring and summer that was hot and dry with the crops dying in the fields. Governor Bradford ordered a day of fasting and prayer, and it was soon thereafter that the rain came. To celebrate – November 29th of that year was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. This date is believed to be the real true beginning of the present day Thanksgiving Day.

The custom of an annually celebrated thanksgiving, held after the harvest, continued through the years. During the American Revolution (late 1770’s) a day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress.

In 1817 New York State had adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving. Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday.

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Article is courtesy of:
Submitted by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, Publisher and Marketing Director
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka www.MHMSM.com

Thanksgiving Wish for You and Your Families

November 21st, 2010 No comments

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everthing Thy goodness sends.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enjoy your holiday!

Submitted by Jean Lewis of CUFBL

Alice Dancing Under the Gallows

November 5th, 2010 No comments
Alice Herz-Sommer photo from film Alice Dancing Under the Gallows

Official Trailer for new documentary short about the oldest Holocaust survivor in the world, Alice Herz-Sommer. For more information about the film or to pre-order the DVD, visit: http://www.nickreedent.com

Watch the Video at YouTube