Category Archives: Transitions

Relationships are the Building Blocks of Life

If you’ve read my blog before you know I believe life rests on a foundation of relationships. They permeate all of the Three Pillars of Fitness. So I am delighted to share with you a book that addresses the vital topic of building relationships. How to Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits by Judy Robinett reads fast and serves as a step-by-step guide on the strategy and tactics you need to know to create, build, and improve the relationships you need to direct your life.

While the title focuses on business, Judy addresses familial, personal, and professional relationships. As important, throughout her book, she stresses the importance of shared values as a basic building block for interacting with people.

Darrah Brustein beautifully summarized the book in her article on Rather than reinventing the wheel, I asked Judy some questions that arose from my reading her book.

Question: How much of your day is devoted to building and maintaining your network?

Answer: Not even a half hour a day. Keep in mind, just because somebody can help you doesn’t mean he will. Be clear about your goals.

Question: In your book, you shared many of your successes. What have you learned from your networking setback besides avoiding bad actors?

Answer: When you hit a wall, just say next. Relationship building requires resilience, and faith in G-d.

Question: There are people who think those who differ with their politics by definition do not share their values or are bad actors. What advice do you have that might help them reconsider this idea?

Answer: You have to be smarter to see the value in two divergent points of view. Just because you have a relationship with someone doesn’t mean you agree with him on all points.

Question: As a person of faith, how would you respond to someone who says if G-d wants me to meet the right people He’ll make it happen?

Answer: This is Santa Claus thinking.

Question: I have found one of the most important functions of experts is to give people permission to do things they otherwise would avoid. [More on this idea in a future blog post] What things will you give people permission to do?

Answer: It’s okay to be afraid. But adopt the good fear – the kind that moves you out and up, known in Hebrew as yira. Keep in mind, almost nothing can be done alone. Know that half of Americans are shy. They feel just like you do. So talk to strangers. Ask people, “What ideas do you have?” “Who should I meet?” Always be thinking - how can I add value?

Aside from being known as the woman with the platinum Rolodex, Judy is a brave woman. Quoting Hebrew to a rabbi!

The other day I was speaking with a colleague about whiskeys and tequilas he found life changing. I had never considered libations could be that impactful. But whether you are a novice entrepreneur or approaching your silver wedding anniversary, Judy’s insight and advice will improve your relationships and help you take your life to the next level. Get her book today!

How would being more strategic about developing relationships help you?

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Help Me Celebrate a Victory!

Yesterday in the mail I received my copy of Germany at War and Russia at War. While they were released a few months ago, having them in my hands internalized my accomplishing a milestone goal: becoming a published writer. Will you indulge me for a couple of minutes? I’d like you to join my celebration of this success.

Help Me Celebrate a Victory!

First, I need to thank Zac Arnold who told me about the need for writers of encyclopedia articles for Germany at War. Zac and I became friends when my air wing was embarked on the USS RONALD REAGAN and we have remained so since. At the time I set the milestone goal to have an academic article published I had no idea how I’d accomplish it. Part of the answer is: not alone. It wouldn’t have happened without Zac’s help.

Next, thank you Major General David Zabecki (Ret.) and Timothy Dowling, professor of history at Virginia Military Institute and Associate Editor of the Journal of Military History. Editors respectively of Germany at War and Russia at War, they provided leadership, encouragement, and professional guidance. What a great honor it was to work with these two fine historians and men. MajGen Zabecki convinced me that despite lacking a degree in history, I am an historian as well as a writer.

I first voiced my desire to write when I was 16. While driving my mother somewhere, she asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I said, “I want to be a writer but I don’t want to starve.” Ever sensible, my mom encouraged me to look for a more “practical” profession. Little did either of us know that when the writing bug bites the wound never heals.

There are two kinds of objectives:

  1. Goals. Markers you set for yourself because you need to make progress in an area of your life.
  2. Milestone Goals. Achievements that change who you are.

Ideally goals are intermediate steps toward milestone goals. They assist your transformation.

It is fashionable in some circles to self-proclaim your identity. From that perspective if you want to be a writer you call yourself one despite lacking accomplishments in the field. I think you have to achieve something: an academic credential, a significant success, or tenure in the area, to merit carrying the title.

So here it is almost four decades later. I am a writer.

I hope you have had the joy of achieving a milestone or two in your life. As important, what did you do to celebrate your accomplishment? Tonight my family and I will crack open a bottle of sparkling wine over some scrumptious Thai food.

Thank you for letting me share my victory with you. More so, thank you for allowing me to be a writer.

What victories have you gotten to celebrate? Please comment below.

You’re Probably More Skilled Than You Think You Are

Wouldn’t it be nice to make more money in 2015? Though not an end in itself, money is elemental to being an Intentionalist, enabling you to pursue your goals, whether eating an energizing diet, engaging in diverting play, or educating your children.

You’re Probably More Skilled Than You Think You Are

By Daniel Case (Own work)

The other day I went to a neighborhood market around the corner from my house. Recently remodeled and expanded, now it is clean, brightly lit, and quite a pleasant place to shop. I needed just a couple of things but to my chagrin found only one of them. The owners lost out on additional income because their merchandise was limited.

In today’s market-driven economy, whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, you get paid based on the stock of the skills you bring to the table. Are you fully aware of your abilities? I suggest you take an inventory to make sure. In additional to identifying all of your expertise, it will help you determine where you may want to fill in gaps.

Follow these steps:

  1. Make lists of the following:
    1. All the jobs you’ve had, even the seemingly meaningless ones you had as a kid.
    2. Volunteer work you’ve done.
    3. Schooling and training.
    4. Hobbies, social activities, and recreational pursuits.
  2. Go to LinkedIn and view the list of skills that you can post to your profile.
  3. For each item on your lists write down the skills you used and for how many years. For example, suppose you played soccer for ten years and during the last five years led team workouts twice a week. For five years you demonstrated the skills of team leadership and fitness training. If you took your league’s championship three of those years that’s even greater credibility as a leader and coach!
  4. After identifying all your skills add up the number of years associated with each one. This tells you the ones at which you are most experienced. Notice you have evidence to support your assertion of these skills.
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Have someone who knows you well, but who can be objective, review your list of abilities. This might be your mentor or a trusted colleague at work.

Armed with your inventory you can more effectively guide your career. Industries or positions you might have thought were closed to you might now be open. Maybe you uncovered a skill that will lead to an entrepreneurial venture.

Suppose your career objective requires a skill you don’t have. You can pursue additional training or alter your plans. If you want to start a business, find a partner who can augment your team with the missing expertise.

As with any inventory, periodically you need to review and update it, at least once a year.

When employers walk down the aisle of your skills, do you have all of them on display? Or are several of them still boxed away in the back of a storage room waiting to be discovered and set out on a shelf? Given today’s crucial connection between expertise and income, you owe it to yourself and family to conduct an inventory of your skills as soon as possible.

What skill did you uncover

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The One Thing You Need to Succeed

Why do you do the tasks assigned to you at work? Do you have a purpose behind putting up with your spouse’s mishigas (loosely translated – craziness)? How about a reason for chauffeuring your children? If you answered no to any of these questions you’re living someone else’s priorities or desires. I know. I did it for many years.

The One Thing You Need to Succeed

When deciding on a college major I chose architecture because my father wanted me to be an engineer and my mother loves art. My first marriage broke up because my wife insisted I live her life vision, which was incompatible with mine. I stayed in real estate for 20 years because other people admired my being a business owner driving an expensive car.

Not until I was evacuated from the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001, did I ask myself the hard questions that led to my living a life in concert with my deepest values and aspirations.

Being an Intentionalist hasn’t made my life easier. But now there is purpose to my struggles. Defeats have become stepping stones to eventual triumph. Victory is sweet because of the conviction that I truly want what I have achieved. My certainty comes from having a well thought out personal mission statement to guide my actions and goals.

A personal mission statement answers the whys in your life. It serves to guide your goal -setting. (See my post on how to connect your personal mission to setting goals. Most important, it keeps you moving forward,

“And so hold on when there is nothing in you except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold On’” ~ Rudyard Kipling

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There’s no set formula for creating a personal mission statement. I recommend you follow these steps:

  1. Make a list of the experiences you’ve had that gave you the most satisfaction. For example, you may particularly enjoy watching your child play soccer.
  2. Make a list of the five values you hold most deeply. Don’t mistake political positions for values. Examine why you have a particular political belief to determine the values that underlie it. (Signup for my email list and get 49-Days to Refine Your Character to help you gain greater insight into your values.)
  3. Write a sentence expressing each value through one or more of the three realms of life – physical, mental, and spiritual. For example, if you value close familial relationships you could write: Providing my children with the best education and extracurricular activities will forge lifelong, close relationships with them.
  4. Sift the essential idea out of each sentence. The preceding sentence can be summarized as: Prioritize and sacrifice for my family.
  5. Synthesize your essential ideas into one or two sentences that describe WHY you will live your life. Take some time to talk about it with your spouse and children if they are old enough.
  6. Let it sit then edit it. Set your personal mission statement aside overnight then review it and make necessary changes. Repeat this process monthly (more frequently if you want) until you are satisfied that it truly expresses you.

The beauty of having a well-considered personal mission statement is it simplifies future decision-making. All goals you set should begin with how they will support your personal mission. It answers if and how you should expend time, money, and emotion.

Without a personal mission statement, you are as Zig Ziglar calls it, "a wandering generality instead of a meaningful specific." There’s no better time to begin this process than right now.

What roadblocks are you encountering in writing a personal mission statement?

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Here’s How to Weather the Storms that Impede Your Success

A couple of weeks ago here in Southern California, we had an unusual occurrence – it rained! It's no cliché that Los Angelenos freak out when they have to drive in wet weather. We rarely have to. So, accidents increase and a lot of people miss out on their plans.

Here’s How to Weather the Storms that Impede Your Success


Most days I run at lunchtime. Yet despite habitually seeing me in my running clothes, two people questioned my sanity as I headed out to jog in the rain. I told them both the same thing – All that would happen is I would get wet.

Looming larger for me is my goal to earn a platinum medal in The President’s Challenge Program by the time I am 60. Doing so requires earning 1,000,000 points. (If you are interested in joining my 3 Pillars of Fitness group click here). At my pace, I get 90 to 100 points per mile so I have about 7400 more miles to go. That works out to about 25 miles a week. I cannot afford to let rain get in my way.

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Hence the caption on the picture: If a goal is important enough you will have to find a way to weather the storms. Here is how to deal with the most common ones:

  1. People telling you that you should not or cannot do it. Consider the source of the criticism. Does the person truly understand your goal? Does he have your best interest at heart? Has he ever achieved something like what you are aiming at? If the answer to any of these is no reject the criticism.
  2. Your plan is not working. The road to achieving a goal is not straight. While you may see the end when you start, it is likely to get obscured many times along the way. Rarely is an airliner headed directly for its city of destination. The pilot (well probably the autopilot) makes constant course corrections. You are not a failure because your original plan did not work. The key is to work your plan while evaluating its effectiveness. Be flexible so you do not waste time on fruitless effort.
  3. You hit a major life setback. Sometimes the unexpected will prevent you from pursuing your goal. What may have been your primary focus may have to change. But that does not mean you have to give up your goal forever. Before setting it on the back burner, make sure you have taken notes of your progress to date so you do not have to re-do work. Then set a date to re-evaluate when you will begin working on it again. I originally thought I would earn my second masters degree in two to three years. But going from active to reserve navy duty meant having to delay it. Now my goal is to complete it in six years. C’est la vie!

If the rain is coming down hard, before going out you put on rain gear. Especially if you live in a rainy place, it is habitual. Such automatic preparation is what you need to reach your goals and be successful. Do not wait for the storm to hit. Anticipate objections and obstacles. Figure out ways to handle them quickly and effectively.

By the way, who cares if you are drenched by the time you reach the winner’s circle!

What is your biggest hurdle to success?

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