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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rick

Rick. 

Today I did something that I didn't want to do.

I attended a good friends funeral. 
When I walked in, I caught him in my peripheral, and I started to cry. Hard. 
Real hard. 
If you know me, and you've seen me cry like this; you know it has a ripple effect.

Rick was a fun loving, light hearted, rib-busting kinda guy. Always put a giant smile on people's faces. 

Rick, struggled mightily with addiction -but don't worry, this didn't define him. Nope, not one bit.

Earlier today, with a packed house at the funeral service, I watched his mother give an eulogy that would rival Abe Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Then, I watched his uncle, who is a pastor, share about his life. 

Then it came time for people to share, and I felt as though I would have regretted not sharing my heart. So I stood up in the back of the room and said this: 

Hello my name is Anthony Kladitis, and I have known Rick for about 20 years. 
Rick had a special gift.  
Rick was an encourager. 
In life, you could exert energy in two ways, you could either push people down or pull them up. 
Rick pulled people up. 
Everyone in this room could attest to Rick pulling them up at one time or another.
In conclusion, I could confidently say that I am a better Christian, better pastor, and better human being for having known Rick Glass. 

At the and of the service, his family handed out brightly colored flashlights so that everyone could take one, put it in a place that they could see, and remember the light that Rick showed us all -in the hopes that we could go and do likewise. 

Good vibes and positive thoughts. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Serial Killler

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired:
How heavy is this glass of water?

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter

It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed –incapable of doing anything.”

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. 







Because stress kills.

Remember to put the glass down.

Personally, when I read the above, I am reminded of the story of Joseph in the OT.  Joseph's life was riddled with pain and dispare. From being an outcast in his own family, to being sold into slavery, to being falsely accused by his master's wife -Joseph was no stranger to stress.  But, Joseph had a secret and that secret was the gift of forgetting.  He knew how to put the glass down.  By the grace of God, Joseph eventually climbed over his hurdles and became one of the greatest examples for you and I to emulate.

You are probably no stranger to hurt.  We all carry internal bruises and outward scars from our past. Remember to put the glass down and embrace the gift of forgetting.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dear Person Who Complains A Lot!


I’m sure you’re not a terrible person, and I’m sure God loves you, but I just need to let you know we can’t hang out anymore.

As much as I’d like to keep up the relationship, I just can’t…for my sake, for the organization’s sake and for your sake.

I’m sure there’s some story behind the constant stream of negativity. Maybe your teen years were tough, or you were the last guy to get picked for dodgeball. Or maybe all those Nerds you ate in Grade 5 really messed with your mind.

I don’t know what happened, but there are a lot of positive people around who have sad stories. Some much sadder than yours. And they actually have something to contribute to a better future.

I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

I heard you out. I listened.

We went for lunch that day and I took your feedback back to the team. We even made changes.

But then the changes weren’t quite right, and you found 5 new things to groan about. I listened some more, and tried not to get too discouraged.  I took what I could. We even took some of it to heart. At least at first.

But nothing seems to satisfy you. When we would fix one problem, you’d spot another. Whatever progress we make in any direction never seems to be ‘good enough’.

So honestly, the team and I really tried to meet you where you’re at, but…well…here it is.

I can’t let you trip up the mission anymore.

Your negativity is killing us. If we let it, it would kill our future.

And I just can’t…in fact I won’t… let one or two voices scuttle the future of hundreds of people who are okay with the changes.

Let me go further. I can’t let your negativity sabotage the mission of our organization. The mission is too urgent…too sacred…too important for that.

So, starting today, I won’t give you the audience you so seem to desire.

I’ll thank you for your comment, and move on.

I’ll call you on your constantly negative stream—in love— and the conversation will end.

I won’t apologize any more for moving ahead with the agenda so many others have embraced.

You want reasons? Okay…

People with your attitude don’t have a vision for what could be, only a vision for what shouldn’t be. How can you build the future on that?

You don’t just seem to be negative about the odd thing, you’re negative about almost everything here. New issues ‘come up’ almost every month. Seriously? It’s that bad?

In the end, I don’t think you’re just mad at us, it seems like you’re mad at the world. I’m not sure it was ever possible for us—or anyone—to please you.

Your criticism outweighs your contribution. We don’t need people who tell others how they did it wrong nearly as much as we need people who will roll up their sleeves and help us to do it right.

If things are really that bad, one question: Why are you still here? Surely you’re too smart to stay in an organization as bad as you say ours is.

So here’s what I’m deciding right now:

The mission is too critical to let one person continually try to derail it.

There are so many people who want to make it happen. We can build the future on them. Join em if you want to.

If you find a place or start an organization that fits you better, go for it! (We’ll chip in for the cab fare.)

When you leave the room (I know this is hard to hear), many will breathe a sigh of relief. And they’ll wonder why it took so long. Can you see the impact your attitude has had on others? Really? For their sake? For your sake?

So, my friend, the time has come to say goodbye.

You are always welcome here. But the attitude has got to go.

And if it ever does…I think you’ll wonder why you didn’t dump it sooner.

And in the end—I think you know this—I didn’t write this for you, really. I wrote it for me.

I need some courage. I need some resolve.

And I think I’ve got it now.

Because it’s time – finally time – to embrace the future that almost everyone else is ready to seize.

We’re moving on.

 Sincerely, 

- Me

By Carey Nieuwhof

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Good is the Enemy of Great.

Good is the enemy of great. 

Leadership expert and popular author Jim Collins said:
"This is one of the reasons that we have so little that becomes great. We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, precisely because it is easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of companies never become great precisely because they become quite good. - and that is their main problem"  
-Good to Great. 

Why is it so easy to settle for good?  Do we love apathy so much? Are we as humans just lazy? Or is there another reason?  Let me take a stab at at least answering one reason why I believe we settle for good. Thomas J. Watson once said, Whenever an individual or a business decides that success has been attained, progress stops." How many times have you experienced this phenonema? You attain most of your goals ... so you give up on the rest. You set out to score a touchdown ... then you run to the goal line, put the ball down on the one yard line and call in the field goal team.  3 points is enough, you reason.  
If you are reading this and thinking internally, who really cares? Then I'd say you are in the company of the crowd, and this group is the same group that makes the same noise as those fluffy little things that Shepherds watch over.  In my mind, this demeanor was never the calling of the human race.  Go back in the book of Genesis and you'll see that mankind was the highlight of God's magnificent creation. We are His crowing achievement, made in His image. Part of this image bearing is that we have been instilled with a wonderfully creative spirit.   


This post is about greatness. 
Really, it is about sweat, determination and resolution.  Growing up, I remember hearing about the 5 D's.  Do you know them?
-Determination
-Destiny
-Desire
-Devotion
-Discipline 
(I am sure there are more than 5, so the next time you run into me at Giant Eagle just tell me the ones I missed). 
The point is, many of the 5 D's have vanished in our society. I believe, it is due to our inability to seek greatness.  Handouts are rampant, grades are given to get kids just so they pass, our workplaces are glorified punch clocks for apathy.  Why?  Because greatness is not on our radar.
I am afraid to say that we, as a society, are generally apathetic. We want the crown, but not the cross. We love the destination of easy street, but do not take the grit road to get there.     

I know that for many, at one point in time you felt like you could conquer the world.  Then, life settled in and all those dreams got replaced with bills in your mail box.  If that is you, let me make a few tiny suggestions to propel you in the right direction. The first is to surround yourself with people that are seeking greatness.  Author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn rightly teaches that,  You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."   

The second suggestion is to read. 
No that is not a typo.  Fill your mind with new thoughts.  Get inspired! I always tell people that the only way to fill a broken vessel is to continually fill it.  You gotta find ways to spark your creative juices in life and the best way is to find something interesting and read.  Before I move on, let me add this caveat.  I know that for some reading is just drudgery.  You'd rather pave my driveway on a hot, humid August afternoon.  For you, I'd suggest a seminar or a video series.  The same principle applies, it's just a matter of how you achieve gathering new information.  Years ago, a sage told me, "Anthony, if you want there to be a significant difference between the person you are today and the person you will be in 10 years, it will be via the books you read and the people you surround yourself with."  I can testify to that truth as I am a living illustration of implementing both. 

Finally, you might be thinking this is a bit too daydreamish and far fetched.  I say you are correct. But is there a better way to live?  I believe Les Brown summed it up best when he uttered these famous words, "Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."


Go for greatness my friend!