Monday, August 10, 2020

If there is one trait to have in your life, and one you should teach your kids, it's perseverance. The ability to get up once you fall is one of the most important lessons of all. In this poem, the father's love for his son is so powerful as he encourages his son to get up and win that race! 

The Race: Life's Greatest Lesson 
By Dee Groberg 

Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure's face, 
my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race. 
A children's race, young boys, young men; how I remember well, 
excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn't hard to tell. 
They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race 
or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place. 
Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son, 
and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one. 

The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire, 
to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy's desire. 
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd, 
was running in the lead and thought "My dad will be so proud." 
But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip, 
the little boy who thought he'd win, lost his step and slipped. 
Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace, 
and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face. 
As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn't win it now. 
Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow. 

But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face, 
which to the boy so clearly said, "Get up and win that race!" 
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that's all, 
and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall. 
So anxious fo restore himself, to catch up and to win, 
his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again. 
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace. 
"I'm hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn't try to race."

But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father's face 
with a steady look that said again, "Get up and win that race!" 
So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last. 
"If I'm to gain those yards," he thought, "I've got to run real fast!" 
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten ... 
but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again. 

Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye. 
"There's no sense running anymore! Three strikes I'm out! Why try? I've lost, so what's the use?" he thought. "I'll live with my disgrace." But then he thought about his dad, who soon he'd have to face. 

"Get up," an echo sounded low, "you haven't lost at all, 
for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall. 
Get up!" the echo urged him on, "Get up and take your place! 
You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win that race!" 
So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit, 
and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn't quit. 
So far behind the others now, the most he'd ever been, 
still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win. 
Three times he'd fallen stumbling, three times he rose again. 
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end. 

They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place, head high and proud and happy - no falling, no disgrace. 
But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place, 
the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race. 
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud, you would have thought he'd won the race, to listen to the crowd. And to his dad he sadly said, "I didn't do so well." 
"To me, you won," his father said. "You rose each time you fell." 

And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face, the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race. 
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all. 
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall. 
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face, another voice within me says, "Get up and win that race!" 

Monday, August 3, 2020

I have been a lover of books from an early age. Both my mother and father were big readers. My 85-year-old mother still reads 30-40 books a year. It keeps her mind sharp. Both our daughters are avid readers. Our oldest daughter Jessica is a journalist, and so she is reading and writing daily. Our youngest daughter Kelly caught the reading bug her freshman year of college when she took a speed­reading course. It literally changed her life as she now reads 30-40 books a year and has a friendly competition with her grandmother every year.

I have found that reading has opened all kinds of new doors for me over the years. I enjoy books on history, Christianity, leadership, self-help, travel, investing, sports and always a good novel. I have read many 1000-page novels, many of them hard to put down because they were so interesting!

Reading at a young age is so important for a child and I would encourage parents to read, read, read to your kids! The kids that are voracious readers are almost always going to excel in school ... and in life!

Some of you have received a book or two from me over the years. I have loaned or given a lot of books away in hopes of sharing some good information, a good story or just a simple laugh. My wife Chris says that at my funeral there will be a requirement to bring a book that I may have given you, and that there will be a giant book swap. Sounds like a grand idea to me!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

I miss it. It's been a part of my July since 1985. I look forward to it every year, the drama, the excitement, the suffering, the crashes. What is it? It's the biggest bike race on the planet, the Tour de France! 

The Tour de France is an epic 3 week cycling race each year in July that covers about 2,500 miles through France. Twenty- two teams of eight riders, from around world, compete for the most important title in cycling. The routes change each year, and every stage offers beautiful scenery of France. 

For the last 35 years my family knows that when July comes, I get dibs on the TV. I record each day's stage, which can be anywhere from 2 to 6 hours a day. Because France is 7 hours a head of us, sometimes the Tour starts very early here in America and I can see it live. Most of the time I come home from work, eat a quick dinner and sit back and watch 3 to 4 hours of the tour. I love it! 

For all you sports fans out there, this has been a weird year. No Major League Baseball, no NBA, no hockey and no college sports at all. There is a little bit of live golf but is golf really a sport? I mean, come on! 

Anyway, I sure hope there is college football this year. If the government announced today that the only way college football happens is that we go into a complete lockdown, the entire South would quarantine immediately ... just saying! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

I have always felt that proper English, proper grammar and proper sentence structure is important in both the business world and on a personal level. 

Anytime you are writing any correspondence to a client, a subcontractor or a friend, or simple talking to them for the first time, what comes out of your mouth, or what you have written, will make a lasting impression on them. 

I am amazed at some of the emails and text I receive. Many are hard to read because of so many grammatical mistakes. I think one of the main drivers in this continuance of bad grammar is that our communications via text, twitter and email are short, and hardly ever proofread. Mark Twain once wrote "I apologize for such a long letter - I didn't have time to write a short one." Twain meant that he had rushed the letter, not going back to make it more concise and coherent. 

For the folks that have been with Williams Company for a long time, they know that my all-time favorite grammar blunder is "Where you at?" When I hear someone say it, I always look around and see who notices. If it is a Williams Company setting, I usually get a smile from a few folks. 

So just for clarity, the proper English for the statement "Where you at?" is 
"Where are you?" Now you know! 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Surround yourself with people that push you to do better. No drama or negativity. Just higher goals and higher motivation. Good times and positive energy. No jealousy or hate. Simply bringing out the best in each other! 

- Warren Buffett

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Six Feet Apart

Song by Luke Combs

When the dogwoods start to bloom
And the crickets hum their tune
That's usually about the time
That I feel most alive
But the news has all been bad
And the whole world seems so sad
I ain't had much else going on
So I sat down and wrote this song

I miss my mom, I miss my dad
I miss the road, I miss my band
Givin' hugs and shakin' hands
It's a mystery, I suppose
Just how long this thing goes
But there'll be crowds and there'll be shows
And there will be a light after dark
Someday when we aren't six feet apart

First thing that I'm gonna do
Is slide on in some corner booth
And take the whole damn family out
And buy my buddies all a round
Pay some extra on the tab
Catch a movie, catch a cab
Watch a ballgame from the stands
Probably over-wash my hands

I miss my mom, I…