May 06 2012

Business is NOT life or death!

“If you think sometimes


  that you just can’t win,


remember that life


is not a contest!”

— Kathy Alpiar


She reminded me of this shortly before her life struggles ended this past March at age 55. She had reminded me of it often over the last 25 years of our marriage . . .  almost always after my face retreated into my hands bemoaning some frustrating situation or another that I had somehow boxed myself into. I’m told everyone does this on occasion?

If you’re an American, you probably grew up with the conviction that everything you had to deal with every day –from school and Scouts to college or trade school and a career to marriage and family raising– was (is) a contest!

Admittedly, in a nation dominated by sports performance and competition at literally every level of life, it’s hard to grasp that “life is not a contest.”

But it’s NOT a contest.

(Workaholics, please re-read those last five words!)

  • Life is a gift. It is a blessing. We either consciously or unconsciously choose to embrace it, or choose to waste it.

  • Life is a waste when it’s obsessively dedicated to ultimately meaningless, make-believe values — making money, acquiring things, trying to impress, being self-serving and self-indulgent, putting others down, bullying, chastising differences, thinking and acting dishonestly.


How much of our precious time on Earth is wasted each day trying to get even; trying to undermine, manipulate, or represent ourselves as more than what we are; trying to pretend; trying to bait those who are weaker into our arena so we can defeat them or make them look foolish? Can any of that possibly be serving our true best interests?

If the answer to that question about how much time, by the way, is anything more than one minute, it may be worthwhile to think twice about Kathy’s quote. In other words, is our purpose here on this planet to make a difference?

How important is integrity?


Kathy wasn’t suggesting that we all abandon competition and head for some mountaintop to meditate on our navels. Of course we have to be responsible to earn a living and pay our bills. But what she was saying was that there’s a whole lot more to life than having such narrow pursuits d-i-c-t-a-t-e human existence.

Entrepreneurs get pounded over the head with these finger-waving “take time to smell the flowers” thoughts because they tend to disappear into a product/service development zone to the exclusion of friends, family, and many of life’s joyful experiences. They substitute the pursuit of “success” to the exclusion of what’s around them. I know because I’ve been there.

But I’ve come to realize that return on investment is not the sole province of business. ROI has also to do with having an ongoing sense of humor, a conscious effort to cultivate only positive stress, making room in our lives for living, keeping our promises, and being perpetually focused on service to others. Thanks Kathy.

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Hal@Businessworks.US    302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Jan 10 2012


What do workaholics,


delusionists, and grieving


friends and relatives


all have in common?



 Why is it that the people who are most in need of breaking out of their workaholic patterns are the ones most resistant to the suggestion? They’re afraid to let go. Well, logically, it makes sense. Fear is the single most destructive emotion (and sometimes, paradoxically, greatest motivator) in existence.

Letting go is life’s single hardest task.


Workaholics share this infamous platform with those who live in delusion as well as those who grieve the loss of loved ones. Letting go means giving up an important part of yourself in favor of moving on, or back into, reality. Many egotistically, and sadly, are convinced that the world and their business could not survive without them.

“Sadly,” because these same people will almost inevitably drive themselves into cardiac care units… or the grave… using the excuse as a rationale that they “never gave up the ship!” It’s a lot like being mentally retarded (and having a daughter who is, I can say this with some authority). The single difference is the awareness of having a choice!

Never-say-die workaholics

 simply choose not to choose.


They know they have a choice, but feel threatened by the idea of changing horses in mid-stream. So they instead invest themselves in maintaining the status quo at all costs. Or, as world renown family therapist Virginia Satir used to say, “they get dried up and shrivel up.”

And, Satir goes on to ask: “Don’t you think this affects the growth of their families and that of those who work with them?” See for yourself. Status quo seekers are everywhere, harboring pain and misery, and transferring their own inadequacies and choices not to choose to change.

How dim the lights that light these lives. How stagnant the businesses they run. How rebellious the children they raise. Choosing situations and leaders who make the choices for them . . . how unfulfilled the lives they live.

This picture is bleak indeed, and it permeates many corners of the corporate and union worlds and government universe but, thankfully, has rarely become the payoff of hard work and self-sacrifice that many entrepreneurs practice. How is that? Because most entrepreneurs play and sleep as hard as they work.

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