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Branding Benefits

Cyndi Lauper has sold an impressive 50 million albums worldwide since her emergence on the music scene in 1985. I noticed her on the cover of UNITE Business, a new publication created for LGBT business owners by a LGBT business owner. My girlfriend is a subscriber.

I have learned a lot over the past four years about brand awareness. In my thirties, I simply provided a Bang-Up service. Today, I am aware of branding as well which has not only helped my own business but many others whom I am coaching! If you are a professional, branding is very important. There are people who can assist but as always choose your coaches and guides wisely!

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The Challenges of Health Care

An article in the Review section by Elizabeth Rosenthal of The New York Times points to the challenges and potential fixes to providing affordable care to all Americans. Some 80 percent of all health care expenditures are used for just 10 percent of the people and much of that is during the last weeks of life or in treating chronic illness. And then there are ridiculous stories of hospitals bilking patients for little stuff like five hundred dollars a stitch or a hundred thousand dollars for antivenin for a snake bite. Obama-care is a start and a frustrating one at that. For instance, we could cap fees for certain procedures or reduce medical school tuition by requiring service but all these initiatives take political will and as we all know, change is not easy. We could pay more for preventative care and less for traditional care. The ideas are available. The more we educate ourselves, the better. Many counties pay much less than Americans due for better care!

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The Foundation of Success

It’s been an amazing year of tight finishes as the Sports section of the Sunday New York Times highlights! Tom Brady is on the cover for a reason. The Patriots have been especially good at winning in the last seconds or on the final drive! I love watching football on tv for a variety of reasons: players play hard, coaches work hard, careers are short, greatness is rewarded and great finishes make it all the better! I often use football analogies when coaching clients, even non-athletes. I talk a lot about the foundation of success: eating right, exercising, meditating, and being proactive! The more we focus on what we want and do the necessary work involved, the more likely we will achieve it. This is what Tom Brady does!

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Power And Politics

I find international politics and business fascinating. Each week, I read about Vladimir Putin somewhere. His grip on power in Russia is extraordinary and his strategic moves are equally fascinating! For instance, he gave Edward Snowden, the former U.S. government contractor, asylum in Russia basically giving President Obama and The United States the middle finger. In his latest move, he pardoned Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the billionaire tycoon imprisoned ten years ago on dubious charges of tax evasion. He seems like the ultimate power broker often out-maneuvering his western counterparts. On the one hand, he seems clever and bold. On the other hand, he seems downright diabolical. As a nation, Russia seems to repeat the same patterns (early childhood dynamics) over and over like most people do. With a long history of dictatorial and authoritarian rule, not all that much has changed. Changing old patterns, whether it is for an individual or a country is never easy. It takes time, patience, commitment, and desire. For now, much of that desire seems to be lacking in Russia or perhaps, it is simply too dangerous. All things change, however!

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Inspiring People

Not only have I enjoyed Jim Nantz’s sports broadcasting over the years but I have met him personally! Several times, I’ve ran into him at the Organic Market in Westport, CT where I currently reside. He is also a member of Stanwich Golf Club in Greenwich, CT. Once, I saw him on the putting green there and introduced myself. He offered me his membership number to charge food on him if I wanted? I politely declined but was impressed with his spontaneous generosity, something I practice and teach. Five minutes later, he provided commentary like he does on television as I prepared to tee off. I nailed a three wood two hundred and forty yards right down the middle of the fairway only to chunk a wedge once he was out of sight five minutes later. I will never forget that experience and I’d like to congratulate him on the his dedication and service to game of golf and beyond. The world is a better place with guys like Jim Nantz in it!

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The Power of Traveling

I’ve been working on a novel for nearly two years now and I find that when I travel I tend to write more and more effortlessly! There are a billion reasons to travel but several stand out: getting out of your all too familiar local area no matter how cool it is tends to free the mind and offer new stimulating opportunities that free creativity! The other is that you can meet new or different people and learn different perspectives on life and business. Obviously, you don’t need to travel for this but often the act of going some place new and different opens the mind and Spirit! Sometimes, my girlfriend and I just drive up the Connecticut coast. Other times, I travel solo or do travel writing gigs! The picture above is of South Florida where I am currently experiencing a short break from the bitter cold, visiting friends, and writing!

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Starting Over

David Miliband, the former British politician, is reinventing himself in New York working for The International Rescue Committee, a nonprofit focused on helping the world of refugees. This Sunday Styles article made me think about the need to stay flexible and fluid in life and business, something I teach often. After losing the Labor Party leadership to his brother, he moved to New York with his family to start over. He’s obviously a smart, talented guy but the important message for you and me is that’s it’s never too late to reinvent oneself. It takes passion, patience and perseverance for many, especially if we are less talented and less connected. But what’s the alternative? Stagnation? Medication? Limbo? No way!

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Lessons in Leadership

I read the Corner Office by Adam Bryant every Sunday in The New York Times business section because I enjoy his interviews with business leaders. This week he interviewed Dara Richardson-Heron, the chief executive of Y.W.C.A. In terms of career advice, Ms. Richardson-Heron states: “I tell them life is not fair. Make the best of the cards you are dealt. I also tell them it’s important not to feel entitled or to think people owe you something. You have to earn what you get. A dose of realism is important for people growing their careers. Nothing comes easy. The bottom line is never, ever give up.” Well said!!

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Remembering Past Days

My buddy’s wife just sent me this pic of him braving the chilly waters of southern Cal in December. Twenty years ago, as graduate students, Rob and I used to do this together! In fact, on December 11th 1995 I threw myself in the frigid San Diego waters to try to calm my nerves because that evening I had to defend my doctoral dissertation, the culmination of nearly four and a half years work. Thanks for the reminder Marla!

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Providing a Better Education

Friedman’s thoughts in the Review section of this week’s Sunday New York Times are worth considering. American workers are increasingly less competitive with other nations like India, China, Singapore, Poland, and Germany to name a few. The problems are systemic. We simply don’t do a good enough job educating our children to compete in an increasingly globalized and competitive world. The top ten percent of America now take home fifty percent of the national income. Income inequality is increasing. One solution is to learn from other countries who do a better job of providing autonomy, accountability, and ownership on a teaching and student level and who spend more per capita on less advantaged children. Having worked in inner city environments for years I have seen firsthand the systemic issues that create dynamics where poor and underprivileged children fall far behind their wealthier piers even by age five and certainly by age ten. We can and must do better!