Defining Love, Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my continuing discussion on love! The second element of love according to Henry Drummond is Kindness. In The Greatest Thing in the World, he writes:

 

“Love as kindness is active. Kindness seeks to be useful. It not only seizes on opportunities for doing good, but also searches for them.”

A lot of people are writing about kindness these days. God knows we need a kinder world where people search for opportunities to do good, rather than getting into win/lose battles about who’s right and who’s wrong. What a difference it would make if people were constantly looking for ways to do good. I’m sure many of you know this quotation that is generally credited to a Stephen Grellet, a French-born Quaker missionary:

“I expect to pass through this world but once; any good, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

That gets us back to the “precious present.” Be kind when? Now! Today!

Drummond’s third element of love is Generosity

“Love as generosity does not envy the good fortune or accomplishments of others. If we love our neighbors, we will be so far from envying them and what they possess or accomplish that we will share in and rejoice at these things. The prosperity of those to whom we wish well can never grieve us.”

Here we’re talking about generosity of spirit—showing no envy toward others. When most people hear the word generosity, they think you’re talking about giving away money. But in the Bible, before it mentions sharing your treasure, it talks about sharing your time and talent. In other words, if you are volunteering to help others, that shows a generosity of spirit.

In the book The Generosity Factor which I coauthored with the late S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, we added a fourth aspect of generosity: touch. By touch, we meant reaching out to encourage others. Truett lived his life by the quotation “Who needs encouragement? Everyone!” Isn’t that the truth!

So today, with a spirit of kindness and generosity, look for opportunities to do good for others by sharing your time, talent, treasure, or touch. Life is not about being served, but serving others. That is love in action.

Defining Love, Part 1

Have you ever been to a wedding and heard someone read this message?

 

 

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

 

When people hear that passage at weddings, it puts a smile on their face.

Henry Drummond, a 19th century Scottish preacher, scientist, and author, wrote a wonderful little book entitled The Greatest Thing in the World. In it, he contends there are nine elements of love described in this “Love Passage” from the Bible. I’ll be sharing one or two of these elements in each of my next few blog posts. Why? Because we need more love in the world—and it can begin with each one of us, every day.

The late Richard Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute? used to ask people, “Would you like to make the world a better place?” Everyone, of course, would say, “Yes!” Then he would ask, “What’s your strategy?” and he would get blank looks.

Bolles’s theory went something like this: You can make the world a better place by the moment-to-moment decisions you make as you interact with other human beings. Suppose leaving your house in the morning someone yells at you. You have a choice: you can yell back, or you can go back in the house and give that person a hug and tell him or her, “I hope you have a great day!” Someone cuts you off on the highway. You have a choice: you can chase after that person and give them an obscene gesture or you can send them a prayer. It’s all up to you.

Given those choices, let’s look at Drummond’s first element of love—Patience: “Love as patience endures evil, injury, and provocation without being filled with resentment, indignation, or revenge. It will put up with many slights and neglects from the people it loves, and wait long to see the kindly effects of such patience.”

Sometimes you send out love to someone and get nothing in return. You send out more love and still get nothing back. But things don’t always happen when we want them to happen. Our timetable is not always the most important one. Realizing that, don’t be in a hurry! Be patient.

When I wrote The Power of Ethical Management with Norman Vincent Peale, he said there are two characteristics we need in life if we are going to make a difference: patience and persistence. When our patience runs out, we need to turn to persistence and keep on keeping on. When we get frustrated with our persistence not getting results, we need to return to patience. We have a cute little plaque in our summer cottage that says:

“May those who love us, love us. And those who don’t, may God turn their hearts. And if He doesn’t turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles so we’ll know them by their limping.”

Ha! That’s the ultimate patience and persistence! Today if you send out loving feelings toward someone and don’t get any positive reaction, don’t give up! Because love understands and, therefore, waits.

Next time I’ll talk about Drummond’s second and third elements of love: Kindness and Generosity. Hope you have a great week!

 

 

Creating a Gung Ho Culture

If you follow me on Twitter (@KenBlanchard) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/KenBlanchard/), you may have noticed that I recently posted about being in Cedar Falls, Iowa, to take part in a celebration at a company called Mudd Advertising. The company, which was founded by my friend Jim Mudd Sr. was celebrating 20 years of using the principles of Gung Ho!, a book I wrote in 1998 with Sheldon Bowles from Winnipeg, Canada. I met Sheldon through the Young President’s Organization (YPO) when I spoke at one of their big conferences.

Sheldon gave me a first draft of a manuscript entitled Raving Fans and said he wanted me to coauthor it with him. I was polite and said I would read it—but as we were going back to our room, Margie and I both wondered how good it could be. After all, Sheldon was the president of a company, not a writer. Little did we know that he had been a journalist when he was young and the draft was terrific. Do I need to say more? Raving Fans was a major bestseller!

Our follow-up book, Gung Ho!, was a response to people asking “How do we turn our employees into Raving Fans of the organization they work for?” Sheldon and I were told that a lot of organizations were trying to create Raving Fan service with tired, uninspired, and even resentful employees who, in many instances, hated to go to work. Wow! What a challenge.

So Sheldon talked to Native American leaders and developed three secrets to creating a Gung Ho culture: the Secret of the Squirrel; the Way of the Beaver; and the Gift of the Goose. These secrets became the basis of Sheldon’s and my second best-selling book, which for 20 years has been required reading for each new employee at Mudd Advertising and central to the way they operate.

When you enter Mudd’s corporate headquarters, one of the first things you see is a mural depicting the Gung Ho philosophy:

SPIRIT OF THE SQUIRREL: Worthwhile Work

  • Knowing we make the world a better place.
  • Everyone works toward a shared goal.
  • Values guide all plans, decisions, and actions.

WAY OF THE BEAVER: In Control of Achieving the Goal

  • A playing field with clearly marked territory.
  • Thoughts, feelings, needs, and dreams are respected, listened to, and acted upon.
  • Able but challenged.

GIFT OF THE GOOSE: Cheering Each Other On

  • Active or passive, congratulations must be TRUE (Timely, Responsive, Unconditional, and Enthusiastic).
  • No score, no game, and cheer the progress.
  • E = MC2—Enthusiasm equals mission times cash and congratulations

At The Ken Blanchard Companies, we’ve endeavored to create a Gung Ho culture by providing worthwhile work—our mission is that someday, everywhere, everyone will be impacted by someone leading at a higher level; by empowering our people to be in charge of achieving our goals in a way that creates Raving Fan customers; and finally, throughout the process, by cheering each other on and catching each other doing things right.

If you think your company would benefit from a Gung Ho culture, it probably would!

Breakfast with the Ancestors

This past weekend my wife Margie and I participated in a fun event we call Breakfast with the Ancestors. Margie made a couple of egg casseroles, our friend Mike baked some banana bread, and we took our feast out to a little cemetery at the end of the lake.

It all started many years ago when my sister, Sandy, passed away tragically at the age of 42. My grieving mom didn’t know where to bury Sandy. That got Margie and me thinking about mortality, and where our family might want to be buried someday.

When Margie asked her mom where she and her dad would like to be buried, her mom didn’t hesitate to answer. “On the hill in that little cemetery at the south end of the lake, in the town of Scott,” she said.

So back in the 1970s Margie and I bought five plots in that cemetery—with lifetime perpetual care—for the exorbitant price of $50 each! We got a plot for my sister, Sandy, a pair of plots for Margie’s mom and dad, and a pair of plots for ourselves.

Today, Margie’s mom and dad and my sister, Sandy, are buried in that little cemetery. Plus, there are two empty plots with tombstones that read, “Ken Blanchard, 1939—” and “Margie Blanchard, 1940—”.

Some people think that’s a little sick—particularly when Margie and I lie down in front of our tombstones and pose for photos! But we are enjoying living our “dash”—that interval between the date of our births and the date of our deaths.

Celebration does wonders for the soul. By having a picnic around the tombstones every summer—sharing stories and remembrances of relatives and even beloved family dogs who have passed away—our family celebrates everyone’s dash. How do you celebrate yours?

Mondays and Fridays Are All About Perspective

I was reading recently about how some folks are “Thank God it’s Friday” people and others are “So glad it’s Monday” people.

Some might think that people who are thankful for every Friday must not enjoy their work—or that people who are excited about every Monday must be workaholics. To me, it’s not an either/or choice—it’s more of a both/and situation. I love the weekends for spending time with family and friends and doing things I don’t normally have time to do during the week. But I also really enjoy my work and don’t mind when Monday comes around.

So where are you on the Monday/Friday spectrum? As with anything, it really comes down to your mental attitude. You can choose to be upset and negative about Mondays or you can choose to be positive and optimistic about the coming week.  If you can stay positive whether it’s the weekend, the work week, or what have you—life will turn out to be that very special occasion I like to talk about all the time.

This concept reminds me of the joke about how different types of people perceive a glass that is half filled with water. Optimists (like me) see the glass as half full. Pessimists see the glass as half empty. Realists see the glass as full—half with air and half with water. But professional trainers don’t care—they just know that starting the half full/half empty discussion will give them ten minutes to figure out why their slide presentation isn’t working! (People in the leadership development business will like that one 😊)

I hope you have both a great week and a great weekend!