Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wednesday Wisdom - Adjusting the Sails


"The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails."

- John Maxwell    

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. What do you do when the sky suddenly turns black and fierce, and the winds of life swirl against you? You could choose to be a victim. You could feel sorry for yourself and whine about how unfairly you've been treated. Unfortunately, hosting your own pity party is a lot like playing an electric guitar on a street corner - it may attract a certain amount of sympathetic attention but it likely won't turn your life around.
Another choice is to hope things get better. Optimism definitely beats moping around with a long face. But while a positive mental attitude is good medicine, by itself it's insufficient. It's great to stay hopeful, but hope alone is not enough.
A third option is to seize the opportunity to re-envision, re-calibrate, and then re-direct your journey. Sometimes, when the winds are hard in your face, you notice hidden treasures you overlooked while sailing in calmer waters. Sometimes, when you confront adversity with ingenuity, flexibility, and resilience, you develop innovative and previously-unimagined ways to do your job, to run your business, to live your life. Sometimes when bad things happen to good people, they batten down the hatches, adjust the sails, and in the midst of the storm discover the inside passage to the promised land.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wednesday Wisdom - Where There's a Will . . .

WHERE THERE'S A WILL . . .        

"When I die, I want my last words to be: 'I left a million dollars in cash under the ...'." Anonymous

"They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad to realize that I'm going to miss mine by just a few days."
Garrison Keillor

I was recently featured as the expert estate planning attorney on a morning drive-time call-in show on the biggest radio station in Orlando. The topic was "Why do people like Prince and lots of other folks not have wills?" I must admit it was fun to engage with the three very active disc jockeys and their rapid-fire questions. Here's a link if you want to listen to the call.

From your mobile phone:  Scott's Radio Segment
From your computer:  Scott's Radio Segment 

It's easy to see in Prince's case how the failure to plan creates a big fat expensive mess for family and loved ones. And yet, about 70% of adult Americans don't have a will. Part of the problem is the fear of facing our own mortality - as if by ignoring the possibility of an early demise we somehow ward off the inevitable. I once had a client say, immediately after executing her will, "Well, I guess I can die now." I expressed admiration for her courage in signing if she felt that way, but I reassured her that there is ZERO correlation between having a will and actually dying.

The other part of the problem is that we allow urgency to trump importance. We know we need to take action, but somehow the "stuff" of life interferes with the essence of life. We tell ourselves we'll eventually "get around to it," but days turn into months and months turn into years, and we're still stuck in the 70%. Whether it's writing a will, hugging our children, or caring for our own physical, mental, and spiritual health, we can't afford to forget this rule: Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wednesday Wisdom - They Say It's Your Birthday



"Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed."  
- Charles Schultz


At my age, life is like a set of playing cards.  I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now. Nearly 50 years ago, I sang along with the Beatles (and chuckled smugly to myself, certain that those days were eons away):

"When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?"

This week -- on Saturday to be precise -- I actually arrive at the age 64 milestone.  My, how time flies!  Here I am, living the words of the song and still asking those questions:

"Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?"

I'm happy to report that I'm "doing the garden" and "digging the weeds," in my back yard grow box and producing some beautiful vegetables.  No, I haven't "been out to quarter to three" lately; I need my rest.  But yes, Marcie, my sweetheart of 41 years, still needs me and still feeds me and still wants to be "mine for evermore."  Who could ask for more?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wednesday Wisdom - Mother's Day

MOTHER'S DAY               
"Mother is the one we count on for the things that matter most of all."  
- Katherine Butler Hathaway

I have been blessed by many noble women in my life, starting with my mother, Gracie Mae Moody Farnsworth.  Before succumbing to throat cancer when she was 32 and I was 8, she wrote each of her six surviving children a letter.  Mine was delivered to me when I turned 12.  It contains an expression of her undying love for me and some sage advice for a young man about to face the challenging teenage years without a mother.  Her letter is unquestionably my most precious earthly possession.  It is the inspiration for everything I have done at SunBridge. 

I remember my mother as bright, cheerful, and fun-loving, even in the face of profound difficulty.  She showed me how to smile and keep my chin up through the loss of our house and all its contents to fire with no fire insurance; later, the death of her oldest son at the hands of a drunk hit-and-run driver; and then the gruesome years of surgery and cobalt treatments that left her thin, frail, and disfigured.  In her extremity, she perfected the art of crushed glass pictures, made our humble home beautiful, and organized fun family outings.  As her strength waned, she received assistance with gratitude and greeted visitors with warmth and love.  She was a ray of sunshine to all who knew her.

What mattered most of all to my mother was the absolute conviction that families are forever.  That buoyed her up and gave her hope in those dark days.  She and I both believe deeply in the eternal nature of the family.  She will always be my mother and I will always be her son, and we will live as a family in heaven.  This week we celebrate Mother's Day, but the real Mother's Day celebration will occur on that future day when I see her again and hug her and thank her for giving me life and love and faith.  I love you, Mama.  Happy Mother's Day.