Havin’ a Daily Laugh

Happiness Organizational culture Respect

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Key Point: When you live and work in a great culture, “having a laugh” is a daily occurrence. Humor and heart-felt laughter reinforces the belief that while work is serious, the workplace doesn’t always have to be. In fact, in our organization, we state that it is our intention to have fun everyday. In this spirit, I love April Fools Day because it invites us to take a moment for some creative pranks that ideally gets us to laugh at ourselves. The following include some fun April Fools examples in the workplace:

In 2013, Twitter announced it was changing to a two-tiered service.  The free version “Twttr,” would not support vowels and only allow tweets with consonants, while “Twitter” would become a $5 dollar/month service that supports any letters your heart desires. “Because our users come first, we believe that ‘Y’ should always be free to everyone–today and forever,” its statement read. “We’re doing this because we believe that by eliminating vowels, we’ll encourage a more efficient and ‘dense’ form of communication.  We also see an opportunity to diversify our revenue stream.”

Internet Eyewear company Warby Parker claimed it was releasing a dog eyeglasses vertical, cleverly named Warby Barker in 2012. Products included a monocle for dogs to make them look more distinguished. An “April Fools!” message popped up when gullible customers added the $95 doggy glasses to their online shopping cart.

Starbucks announced the addition of two new sizes to their cup lineup on April 1/2012: The “Plenta” (128 fluid ounces) and the “Micra” (two fluid ounces). The company also proposed alternative uses for the new cups, such as a rain hat for the Plenta and a kitten dish for the Micra.

Google is not only a technology powerhouse, they’re pretty good at April Fools pranks . In 2007 they announced their new product, “Gmail Paper.” Google’s “newest” service promised to print out your emails for you, stack them neatly in a box, and ship them to your door. Along with the announcement, they also launched a pretty convincing website that explained the service in detail. Obviously a lot of customers were scratching their heads before understanding the prank. Again in 2011, “Gmail Motion” promised users they could “control Gmail with your body.” Apparently, many people took the joke to heart and started waving and making other gestures they expected to translate into an email. 

Burger King is known to have pulled off one of the best all time spoofs when announced it was introducing a “left-handed Whopper” to its menu on April 1, 1998. The new burger would be the same as the traditional, but its ingredients would be rotated 180 degrees for optimal left-handed enjoyment. It took the chain a full day to explain it had all been a prank, but not before stores reported thousands of customers wanting to order either a left and right-handed versions.

Character Moves:

  1. Have fun creating laugh inducing pranks on April 1. (Or make your own date). Of course, these pranks should be well intended and in good taste. Ideally, the spoofs become the source of memorable stories.
  1. Be a personal leader in modeling good-natured humor. It’s ok to start a meeting or phone call with a story or experience that helps us laugh and share in the emotion. Joy connects us and builds relationships.

Fun Everyday in the Triangle,

Lorne 

One Millennial View: When I aim for my next job, I’m thinking ONE thing – “perks.” Duh, all Millennials do. At the very least, we deserve contemporary architecture, the newest technology, a stocked Keurig with the most desirable K-Cups, a spacious and generous Whole Foods catered kitchen, a daily organic cage-free omelette bar, a recreational gaming room, a killer gym, on-demand masseuse services, complimentary dry cleaning, interns to run our errands at a moment’s notice, exclusive media invites, at least one accessible company suite at every local sports arena (or good seats if you’re cheap), and occasional access to a corporate jet. You know, the “basics.” (Hey, multiple businesses have SLIDES now instead of stairs, I’m not even asking for that). 

Ok, April Fools. A working environment where we can laugh a little would do just fine.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

The ‘Final’ Stoic 10!

Accountability Happiness Purpose

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Key Point: The maxims of modern stoicism are timeless and perhaps priceless. I believe that in another 2,000 years from now they will still be referred to. In addition to previous blogs referencing Marcus Aurelius’ “what’s in the way, is the way,” as promised, I’m going to share my 10 favorite stoic principles.

  1. “Rehearse death. To say this is to tell a person to rehearse his freedom. A person who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.” – Seneca.

The New York Times recently published an article about the benefit of meditating on our death. “Paradoxically, this meditation on death is intended as a key to better living. It makes disciples aware of the transitory nature of their own physical lives and stimulates realignment between momentary desires and existential goals. In other words, it makes one ask, ‘Am I making the right use of my scarce and precious life?’” When we face the inevitability of death head on, we are more intentional and fearless about where we invest our time (Hint: NOT TV, Internet, or social media). 

  1. “Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” – Seneca.

I love the idea of being able to learn from the past, but more importantly, wiping the board clean and restarting a new life every day!

3, “If a person doesn’t know to which port they sail, no wind is favorable.” – Seneca.

Find and define with specificity your life’s purpose. (Hint: Helping others). 

  1. “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”Marcus Aurelius.

We have way more choice about how we choose to feel about things that happen in life than we often realize. The ability to choose is so freeing!

  1. “True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient.” – Seneca.

This is about the power of living in the present, and the joy of being content about who we are while still being aspirational in our commitment to grow and improve.

  1. “Were I a nightingale, I would act the part of a nightingale; were I a swan, the part of a swan.” – Epictetus.

This maxim reinforces the authenticity of accepting who we are. Each of us has a wonderful uniqueness and our humanity in that context makes us very real.

  1. “The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” –Seneca. 

Our mind is not who we are. As the modern philosopher Eckhart Tolle notes: “Our mind often wants to take us to the past or future.” Our happiness is most attainable by living in the present and happiness is deceptively elusive if we chase, “when.” Be happy “now,” not “when.”

  1. “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius.

I noted this in a previous blog. We are precisely what we think.

  1. “Man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them.” – Epictetus.

This refers to the power of how we think about things. We often socially construct reality by the way we choose to frame a situation. Create stories that are real and based on self-honesty.

  1. “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” –  Epictetus.

This maxim reinforces the concept of each of us being enough. We are content that each of us is good enough while legitimately having a growth mindset to become more. It’s a wonderful paradox. 

Character Moves: 

  1. Allow yourself to marinate on the stoic maxims and apply your own interpretation. Appreciate the wisdom of sages and ages!
  1. Living a life with purpose involves making life better for human kind. And I believe the above maxims have permanence because they reinforce that premise. In the end, our life is defined by giving of ourselves to others. Stoicism shines an ancient yet forward light on the path!

10 in The Triangle,

Lorne

One Millennial View: 

 

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These days, most are probably interested in sprinting as far as possible from the ideologies of Gladiator days, but more and more, it seems people are obsessed with the “when” factor instead of appreciating the “now.” Also, I deeply believe how we can choose to make the best of what’s currently happening is a key to happiness. These old guys had a few things right.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Yogisms: Tenants to Guide Our Work Life

Happiness Personal leadership Respect

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Key Point: We have likely all benefited from the locker room wisdom and comic philosophy of the legendary Yogi Berra. He died on Sept. 22 at the age of 90, and the event touched an affectionate memory lane nerve among baseball fans and many others. Berra was a Hall of Fame baseball catcher and manager. While Yogi’s athletic prowess is legendary, he is equally renowned for his “Yogisms.” The hilarious quips are deliciously comical and have a jumbled up way of conveying insightful and perhaps even profound meaning. I’d like to share a few, and give a little tribute to Yogi by translating them as I think they may best apply to the world of work and organization life.

Yogism 1: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” 

This phrase could guide all career planning. We could have it become the final statement of everyone’s personal development plan.

Yogism 2: “90 percent of the game is half mental.” 

This could be the opening and closing statement of every performance coaching session.

Yogism 3: “You wouldn’t have won, if we’d beaten you.”  

What we could say by default to the competition when they beat us in the market place.  “Na na nana na, you wouldn’t have won if ___” 

Yogism 4: “Make a game plan and stick to it. Unless it’s not working.” 

The practical reality of all strategic plans is summed up in this one phrase.

Yogism 5: “We made too many wrong mistakes.” 

What we should use as the opening statement in response to every customer compliant.  The self-accountability would be refreshing. 

Yogism 6: “Why buy good luggage, you only use it when you travel.” 

This would save a lot of confusion at baggage claim when we’re all waiting for our fancy black Tumi bags. A productivity strategy for frequent fliers. 

Yogism 7: “All pitchers are liars or crybabies.” 

We just change it to: “All sales people are liars or crybabies.” Everyone agrees (haha)!

Yogism 8: “Even Napoleon had his Watergate.”

A reminder to be confident AND very humble.

Yogism 9: “If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.” 

This is the phrase we should carve in a giant boulder outside all of our offices. We each would have to touch it on the way out.

Yogism 10:  “It was impossible to get a conversation going. Everybody was talking too much.”

This ideally would be a huge poster in every meeting room. Company efficiency and productivity would dramatically improve if we listened to it. (My own little Yogism… Haha).

Character Moves: 

  1. Every once in a while, when things are crazy busy, chaotic and seemingly out of control, it might be helpful to think what Yogi Berra might say to put it all in perspective. The pause and laugh might be very therapeutic. 90 percent of the stuff is “half mental” anyways, right? 

Yogi in The Triangle

– Lorne Rubis

One Millennial View: People like Yogi Berra just “got it.” These quips are so tongue-in-cheek, observational and smart: They are the sneakiest wolf in a dumb sheep’s clothing. Every organization needs people like Yogi: The icebreakers, the ignorant bliss advocators, and the stress relievers. I’m a fan of “Dad jokes,” and elderly “bahhh, get off my lawn!!” rants. They just crack me up. So, of course I knew of Yogi Berra and his famous quotes, but since his passing, it’s proven that this guy was just one of those top notch individuals that transcends generations. He has fans of all ages who will forever refer to Yogisms to celebrate his life.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

The Kid Next Door Walks the Moon

Abundance Happiness Organizational culture

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Key Point: It is healthy to laugh heartily and often, hopefully many times a day. And with the right mindset we can see humor in just about everything. Of course, we all have days or moments that are not funny in any way. Thankfully, for most of us, that is not usually the case. Work is a huge part of our life and I believe having intentional, authentic fun everyday is actually a leadership matter. Why? Leaders create an environment for fun to exist and thrive. The best leaders I’ve worked with have a great sense of humor and love to see it in others. They rarely take themselves or their positions too seriously. Additionally, they work at having fun. Even when your job is walking on the moon, humor can be there to share with the world (sometimes years later). In that spirit, I hope you enjoy the following story:

On July 20, 1969, as commander of the Apollo 11 lunar module, Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon. His first words after stepping on the moon, “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” were televised to earth and heard by millions.    

But, just before he re-entered the lander, he made the enigmatic remark “good luck, Mr. Gorsky.” Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival soviet cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs.

Over the years, many people questioned Armstrong as to what the “good luck, Mr. Gorsky” statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled.  

On July 5, 1995, in Tampa Bay, Florida, while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26-year-old question about Mr. Gorsky to Armstrong. This time he finally responded because his Mr. Gorsky had just died. So, Neil Armstrong felt he could now answer the question. Here is the answer: 

In 1938, when Armstrong was a kid in a small mid-western town, he was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit the ball, and it landed in his neighbor (the Gorsky’s) yard by their bedroom window. As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at her husband… “Sex! You want sex? You’ll get sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!” 

This story created, as you can imagine, quite a laugh in the room… Neil Armstrong’s family confirmed that this is a true story. Although some believe it’s a hoax, the story is funny regardless, and an example of humor in the most “extreme” of work environments. 

Character Moves: 

  1. How much do you laugh on a daily basis? Do you consider yourself fun to be with even at the toughest times? If you’re a leader, how do you promote it? 
  1. Make fun natural but intentional in your work environment. Go to sleep reflecting on at least one great laugh you had that day.

P.S. Some of you may know that I did my graduate work at the University of Oregon. It is well known for its stirring academic and athletic programs… And the iconic movie, Animal House, was filmed there. So Garrett saw this, knew I’d enjoy it, and sent it to me. Considering he’s an Arizona Wildcat, that is unusually friendly.

Fun at Work in the Triangle,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: I do have to give credit where credit is due. Funny enough, here’s another couple cool pictures. (I’m not sure I’ve shared these before). They’re from my personal camera roll back in 2007, when I rushed the field in Arizona after my unranked Wildcats upset the then No. 4 Oregon Ducks on a brisk, beautiful Thursday Nov. night. The win effectively ruined Oregon’s post-season hopes, and started a fun and lasting rivalry. How perfect. Can’t wait to Duck hunt and keep and laughs going again this season!imageedit_1_3398663926

 

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– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

What I Learned on my Summer Vacation

Abundance Happiness Kindness

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Key Point: We all have superhero powers! We might not realize it but our superpowers are so abundant and impactful. We have an unlimited ability to zap people with them. Let’s use them positively more often. We also need to stop and get to ground level to understand that we are being presented with superhero signals all the time. The replenishment from a holiday is absolutely necessary to more effectively give and receive these superhero powers. That’s what I learned on this summer vacation.

My vacation started with about 20 people I work with surprising and overwhelming me with a WOW! They each sent me reasons, on Fri. July 24, why they admired me as a leader. I was blown away by their generosity of spirit and care. We all need “Big Head Days” (a beautifully descriptive term developed by one of my teammates) and these wonderful people gave me a very BIG HEAD Day… Thank you!! You have no idea the superhero power you have by being generous of spirit.

During this vacation, my wife, children and grandchildren gave me the most wonderful milestone birthday celebration. They used their superhero power of love in a way that seared my heart forever. Thank you, my sweet ones.

And during this same vacation our 1-year-old granddaughter unknowingly used her naive and developing superpower of unbounded curiosity. Just watching her explore everything around her reminded me that everyday we have something new and wonderful presented to us. And our 8-year-old grandson used his superhero power of unbiased respect and inclusion when he emphasized (listening to the radio newscast as we were driving together) that the Boy Scouts did the right thing allowing gay scout leaders to be part of their community. He also told me he would recommend me to his friends as a great gramps when I explained how the net promoter score worked (8-year-olds may have unlimited superhero powers, haha).

Ironically on the 25th of July, I received an uninvited and unpleasant email from someone who had very critical things to say about the consequences of our decision to sell the company I was CEO of for eight years. And that’s why our superhero powers of love and abundance are so important. We all need to draw on our Big Head files to keep things in perspective.

Character Moves:

  1. When we tell people with genuine care and love why and how they are important to us, we apply what I believe are truly superhero powers. And the best thing is that we have an unlimited amount of that power to give.
  1. Just do it. Apply your superpowers of care and love, you can never run out. It can never be too much. You will make a difference to others that you will likely never fully appreciate.

Superhero powers in The Triangle,

Lorne

One Millennial View: I find it interesting that people seem to get unnerved when someone else is perpetually happy. Haven’t you heard that? “Oh Susie is so annoying, she’s always smiling.” Uh, no, Susie just doesn’t need to project her own issues (which of course she has too), when it’s not the proper outlet. She’s being courteous. Unfortunately, it’s almost “cooler” to join the glum masses, or discover a talking point that invokes outrage. I don’t mean to suggest living uninformed, but sometimes “ignorance” can be such a positive state of mind. The complimentary, understanding, giving, and sometimes “indifferent” people are living the best lives. These days, society is very quick to utilize the unfortunate “superpower” of being a keyboard warrior with the ability to take someone down (via Social Media, or anything else) when they can. Yes, it’s a lot easier to do that than build your own self up. But, when someone is up on the totem pole, people can’t wait to dethrone him or her. It can be disgusting. Truth is, it is far easier to be abundant, less cynical, and engage kindly than the alternative. If people woke up with the intention of complimenting someone instead of searching for something negative to chat about at the water cooler, well, our workdays might be less entertaining but we also might turn out a few more superheroes.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis.

Are You a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ Person?

Abundance Growth mindset Happiness

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Key Point: Getting to “YES” is often hard work. It is so much easier being a “NO” person. Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, stated the following: “Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country. Say yes to meeting new friends. Say yes to learning a new language, picking up a new sport. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job. Yes is how you find your spouse, and even your kids. Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new and make a difference in your life, and likely in others’ lives as well… Yes is a tiny word that can do big things. Say it often.”

I resist hanging out with “NO” people. Of course when something is illegal, immoral or hurtful then NO is the only right answer. However, too often people get to NO within themselves and with others because saying yes can be scary and/or more work. YES usually involves each of us learning how to do something different. A recent article in Inc. Magazine noted seven reasons to take every opportunity to say YES. I agree with the author’s viewpoint. How about you? 

“1. The next opportunity might change your life.

Sometimes I’m tempted to say NO when a new work opportunity presents itself. However, I know that the next opportunity might be the one that changes my life forever. So I do everything possible to say YES. 

2. It pays to push yourself just a little harder.

While we’re all busy and often feel pushed to the limit, we can always squeeze a little more out of our lives. Remember: If you get up just one hour earlier each day, you’ll have 15 extra days to work with every year.

3. People like people who are agreeable.

People like other people who are agreeable and open rather than disagreeable and closed. Who would you rather work with?

4. People don’t like naysayers.

People who constantly look at the negative side of life are no fun to be around. Don’t be one of those.

5. YES is for optimists.

Optimists get more done and they’re more successful than pessimists. Just say YES, and you can be an optimist too.

6. You’ll build your network.

When you say YES and open yourself up to meeting new people, you’ll grow your network and your business reach. This can lead to all sorts of new opportunities — and success — that you never imagined.

7. You’ll be more successful — and happier.” 

I recently heard a story about a top notch software developer wanting to come in to the office an hour later and then leave later, so she could lessen the pain of her long distance commute. Her neanderthal boss got to NO because there is “no policy for this and we don’t want to start a precedent?” Huh? So the talented developer quit and Mr. NO is still looking for a comparable talent. Don’t be the big NO in your workplace. 

Character Moves: 

  1. Learn how to get to YES by really listening and finding what value YES really brings to you and others. Getting to YES does not mean acting with blind compliance or being a patsy. Instead, it does mean finding a way to achieve a meaningful and valued intent. When you learn how to use the phrase, “YES if…” the doors of possibility open up. Think! It is having the mindset of doggedly getting to YES that opens up possibilities. 
  2. How self-aware are you relative to being a YES oriented versus a NO oriented person? How would your teammates describe you? When did you say NO and wished you’d have tried harder to say YES? When did you say YES and you regretted it? What did you learn from that? 
  3. Learn how to start a conversation with, “let’s see how we can find a way.” OR a “what if?” You’re not being paid to having NO be your default response. Any machine or software program could do that!

Yeah to YES in The Triangle! 

– Lorne

One Millennial View: One of my favorite podcasts is hosted by a guy who frequently travels, but will purposefully not book a hotel at his destination. Instead, he prefers the challenge of going out and meeting people who will eventually house him for the night… How courageous is that? Is it the safest? No. Cheap? Yup. Smart? Meh. But it’s certainly a “yes” mentality. There are times where he had to sleep in his rental car, but more often than not, he walks away well rested with a good story and new friends. Saying “yes” isn’t always secure, but it can be a great learning experience or a whole new adventure. “No” is just a Saturday night at home watching Netflix.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis