Category Archives: Impressive People

People I’ve met or followed who impress and inspire me

How To Profit FromThe Legacy of Richard Bolles

“The key to a happy and fulfilling future is knowing yourself. This self-knowledge is the most important component of finding the right career.”    

Richard Bolles was responsible for coaching laid-off ministers to find a new line of work. He was a minister ministering to ministers who could no longer minister. To help his clients, he wrote a little pamphlet with tips on how to move on to another calling.

The pamphlet had strategies that went against all conventional wisdom. It taught job seekers to stop relying on want ads (Craigslist postings for you Millennials), and network their way into jobs created just for them.

Instead of waiting to be interviewed by companies, Bolles coached people to go out and interview the companies they wanted to work for. Very disruptive strategies. Perfect for Manic Impressives. Continue reading How To Profit FromThe Legacy of Richard Bolles

I Have A Dream

I Have A DreamDr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. To live in a country where all men were treated as equals. A country where his children would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. “I have a dream”, he said, to over 200,000 people on the mall in Washington DC in 1963.

Dreams Into Reality

America has come a long way since 1963. I like to think that Dr. King would be excited and proud of how much progress we’ve made. How African-Americans have prospered since those early days of the Civil Rights Movement. How our government, in time, came to protect the rights of all Americans.

Yes, we have a lot of work still to do. The Black Lives Matter movement is evidence of that. There are places in America where fear breeds hatred and discrimination, and black men are still not safe. Places where all men are not created equal.

The Weekend

But we do have cause to celebrate. Because there has been great progress. So much so, that we elected an African-American man to two terms as our nation’s president.

Now we’re coming up on a long weekend. A national holiday in honor of Dr. King. A holiday that came about because of the sacrifice of a man who fought tirelessly to fight injustice.

A man named Stevie Wonder. Continue reading I Have A Dream

You Don’t Know Squat About Squanto

Squanto
The First Thanksgiving

You know the story they told you in Kindergarten about the  First Thanksgiving? The Pilgrims were thankful they survived their first year in America so they threw a big party. They invited as their guest of honor a helpful Native American named Squanto. He taught them how to grow their crops and they all lived happily ever after. Aside from this, I’m guessing you don’t know squat about Squanto.

This story isn’t a complete a bunch of hooey, but there’s a whole lot they left out.

The Real Story

Squanto was a real person, but that wasn’t his real name. His name was Tisquantum and he was a member of the Pawtuxet tribe that lived in the area for 10,000 years before the white folks arrived.

Typical American white people, the Pilgrims couldn’t pronounce his name correctly and called him Squanto instead. He was a hero for helping them survive the winter, but he was a far more complex and shady guy than they led us to believe in Kindergarten.

Squanto did teach the Pilgrims to tap trees for sap, to plant Indian Corn, and to use fish to fertilize their crops. This, according to Wikipedia, is what he looked like: Continue reading You Don’t Know Squat About Squanto

How To Be Impressive

Stephen King“Talent is a dreadfully cheap commodity, cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work and study; a constant process of honing. Talent is a dull knife that will cut nothing unless it is wielded with great force.”

I know I’ve been going on a bit on the Manic side of late – how to not lock your keys in the trunk, how to stop comparing yourself to others, how to not give up when things aren’t easy, etc. Manics struggle with these things so it’s important to deal with them. But just as important is the creating. Creativity is where we get to be Impressive.

This is the gift of the Manic Impressive. We are very talented in the creative arts. We can entertain, inspire, amuse and sometimes even awe. We just struggle with the process of getting our creativity out into the world and turning it into cash.

Have you read Stephen King’s book, On Writing? I’m reading it now and am delighted to report he’s a self-professed Manic Impressive. Here’s him on himself from page 51:

 “I tend to go through periods of idleness followed by periods of workaholic frenzy”

If that ain’t Manic Impressive then I’m a shy little wallflower with no opinions on anything. Continue reading How To Be Impressive

The Greatest

Ali Atlanta IIIIn 1996 the Olympic Torch was run 1300 miles by 800 people across the country of Greece, then flown to Los Angeles. There it began a 16,199 mile journey across the United States to the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Over 12,000 Olympians and American citizens ran a flaming torch across 42 states, on bicycles, boats and trains, to the opening  of the games.

4-time gold medalist Al Oerter ran the touch into Olympic Stadium to begin the opening ceremony. He handed it off to bronze medalist and reigning heavyweight boxing champ, Evander Holyfield, who passed it to swimmer Janet Evans. Winner of 3 Olympic gold medals and 4 world records, Janet had been given the honor of running the torch the final lap around the track.

Janet finished her lap and headed up the final ramp to the Olympic Flame, symbol of the games. But she did not light the flame. Instead, she lit the torch held by another Olympian, hidden in the wings, perhaps the most respected and beloved human on the planet.

Muhammad Ali.

He stood there a moment holding the torch, arms  shaking with the palsy of his disease. Millions of us stood in front of our TVs, cheering along with the crowd in the stadium, in one of the most inspiring, poignant, and emotional moments in Olympic history. Then, in his final Olympic appearance,  Ali lit the flame and the games began.

Last week, 20 years after that moment and a decades long battle with Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali died at age 74. Continue reading The Greatest

Confidence is Contagious

Stepan Curry 2016 MVPSteph Curry won another league MVP award this week. The vote was unanimous for the first time in NBA history, though he hadn’t played a game in weeks. After spraining his knee in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Steph had to cheer his teammates on from the sidelines.

Monday night, after missing 5 playoff games and nearly 3 weeks of playing time, Steph comes off the bench in the second quarter. His team is getting killed 16-2, but the moment he trots onto the court, they perk up. Bit by bit the Warriors crawl back into the game. They rally, even though Steph is having a terrible shooting night.

Curry can’t get his 3-point shot to drop. He is 0 for 9. The man who set the NBA record with 402 3-pointers in a season, can’t make a single one now. He misses nine, 3-point shots in a row.

Nine. Missed shots. In a row.

When most of us go 0 for 9 in anything, we run home, crawl in bed, and pull the covers over our heads. Most of us would think it wasn’t our night and we should stop shooting.

But not Steph. He just keeps grinding. Continue reading Confidence is Contagious

Prince

“Today’s the kind of day where, no matter what else you planned to talk about, you’re going to end up talking about Prince” – Rachel Maddow

How right you are, Rachel. I had planned to tell you all about my latest hospital adventure. I was going to be all clever and do a play on the Princess and the Pea. You know, the fairy tale about the spoiled little royal who couldn’t sleep because of a tiny irritant buried under her 20 mattresses?

I was going to call it The Aging Prince and the Kidney Stone. You may have an argument as to whether I am princely material, but no doubt I am aging, and even less doubt that this thing that emerged from my body and plopped into a strainer was a massive kidney stone.

I was even going to post a picture of it andStone tell you how this little pea left its gestational home in my left kidney at 1 in the morning, and how by 2 am I couldn’t sleep for the pain (just like the princess)  and I drove myself to the ER .

Turns out 2:30 am on a Monday night is a great time to show up at the ER. I was the only patient, so in moments I was checked in, banded, gowned, bedded, blanketed, and hooked up to a fabulous i.v. bag full of Dilaudid, my new favorite opiate analgesic. Continue reading Prince

Don’t Let The Practical Hold You Down

Joy Miracle MopThere are times when even the most confident among us begin to doubt ourselves. Times when we can’t see our way through the tangle of mortgages, bills and day jobs. Times when we can’t imagine our dreams coming true because we have to live in the real world.

In 1990 Joy Mangano was a 32 year old divorced mother of three, scraping by as an airline reservationist while supporting her kids, her ex-husband, both of her divorced parents and her grandmother, all under the same roof of a broken down old house. That alone would be enough to crush the spirit of most of us. But Joy had several things going for her:

  • A creative and an inventive mind
  • An insatiable desire to better herself
  • A stubborn streak of resilience and grit
  • A grandmother who nurtured her talent and told her she would become a strong, successful woman who would create things

So what did Joy do?  She used her creativity to solve a common household cleaning problem. Then she went out, got a patent, built a prototype and tried to sell her new product to anyone who would listen.

But nothing came easily. Stores wouldn’t stock her product, she didn’t have the money for a production run, and both her business partners and her family blatantly sabotaged her efforts.

This woman struggled through things that would stop most of us in our tracks. Yet she persisted, and  during one of her darkest times, when it looked like her fledgling business was about to crash and burn, she got some powerful advice: Continue reading Don’t Let The Practical Hold You Down

It’s Over

Portrait of New York Yankees guest coach Yogi Berra during spring training photo shoot at Legends Field. Tampa, Florida 3/2/2005 (Image # 1225 )Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame baseball player and coach, passed away this week, 69 years to the day of his Major League debut. In his 19 year career as catcher of the New York Yankees, Yogi played in 18 All Star Games, was named American League MVP, and won 10 World Series Championships. He later added three more World Series wins as a coach.

As great a player as he was, Yogi’s greatest claim to fame came from his inadvertent contributions to American English idioms. Yogi was a master of the malapropism and the obvious, and one of the most quoted men in history. Affectionately known as “Yogi-isms”, Berra’s observations were often nonsensical, usually illogical, but always warm-hearted and hilarious.

He had a deep folksy wisdom, and in a certain light, he was a phillisophical genius. While coaching the last-place Mets in 1973, a reporter asked him in July if  their season was over.  In what proved to be one of the most prophetic statements ever made in sports, Yogi said “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” The initial reaction to this for most folks was, “Duh!”. But when his Mets went on to win the pennant and play in the World Series that year, people began to see the elegant genius in his dumbassed sounding words. Continue reading It’s Over