The Last One

People Solutions NewslettersOnce again, I’m staring at a blank computer screen, hoping that my fingers will soon pick up the signal from my brain and cause the words to appear that will show me what I’m thinking.

There is something about arriving at the “last one” of anything that can cause an entire range of emotions. Does this last one make me happy it’s over or doubt the thought process that brings me to this moment in time? Cognitive dissonance or the act of second guessing and justifying an action not consistent with our goals can certainly be a treacherous journey to embark on in our mind. I believe this uneasy feeling comes when we tell ourselves that every decision we make is a pass/fail test of our ability to make the right choice. We are expecting far too much from our mortal selves to believe that every decision we make is going to be the right one, yet we can allow ourselves the opportunity to succeed by believing we have the ability to take every decision and make it right.

In trying to create a continuous journey of relevance, improvement, adventure and fun, Beth and I have tried to look at achieving goals and reaching destinations as a series of transitions instead of finishing one thing and starting something else. Finish lines give us a reason to celebrate wins and learn from our defeats, yet I am more interested in starting lines that allow us to apply lessons from the past that help us to keep building momentum for any race we choose to enter next. When we can find ourselves on the eve of a “last one,” we have the opportunity to anticipate discovering what the next “first one” can be.

One at a Time

Hands creating NewsletterOur goal was not to write over 900 newsletters . . . our goal was always to write just one newsletter . . . the next one! We just happened to do that 942 times. Putting our focus on getting the next one written helped it stay interesting and fun for us. Each one actually felt like the next first one, and we were often surprised at what finally went out on Friday morning. This “next one” approach made us more effective because we realized the importance of trying to be aware of every moment we were passing through with the hopes of finding something to write the newsletter on. It may have been something we read, a lesson learned from someone that week, or a thought that somehow appeared, and we were fortunate enough to capture it.

Then why wasn’t newsletter number 492 significantly better than number 126? Let’s go back to what we were trying to accomplish. It was not to make sure every newsletter we wrote was better than the last one. If that were the case, I would have become discouraged and stopped back around number 9 or 10. Our goal was to get the next one written and in order to do that, we had to keep looking for something that inspired us enough to put down 1500 words, edit it, hopefully getting all the typos out, and get it to Linda in time for the Friday morning delivery. The simple commitment to writing just the next one greatly enhanced our lives.   

Hands creating Newsletter

Our goal was not to write over 900 newsletters . . . our goal was always to write just one newsletter . . . the next one! We just happened to do that 942 times. Putting our focus on getting the next one written helped it stay interesting and fun for us. Each one actually felt like the next first one, and we were often surprised at what finally went out on Friday morning. This “next one” approach made us more effective because we realized the importance of trying to be aware of every moment we were passing through with the hopes of finding something to write the newsletter on. It may have been something we read, a lesson learned from someone that week, or a thought that somehow appeared, and we were fortunate enough to capture it.

Then why wasn’t newsletter number 492 significantly better than number 126? Let’s go back to what we were trying to accomplish. It was not to make sure every newsletter we wrote was better than the last one. If that were the case, I would have become discouraged and stopped back around number 9 or 10. Our goal was to get the next one written and in order to do that, we had to keep looking for something that inspired us enough to put down 1500 words, edit it, hopefully getting all the typos out, and get it to Linda in time for the Friday morning delivery. The simple commitment to writing just the next one greatly enhanced our lives.   

Feeding Our Minds

Two heads sharing informationThe exercise each week of capturing a relevant topic or lesson taught us many of the things we wanted to somehow teach others. What took our learning experience to an even greater level was the need to find the right words that conveyed the lesson. That weekly exercise took our understanding of each topic to a deeper level. I believe this is why journaling, book clubs, and healthy debates in training sessions are so important. It takes information that we may discover and helps us get a deeper understanding and the confidence to take action and apply it. Many times, I find myself taking action on something because of the confidence gained in that process of looking deeper into an idea. I have often felt that I was the greatest beneficiary from each week’s newsletter, because of what I gained through writing it.

Two heads sharing information

The exercise each week of capturing a relevant topic or lesson taught us many of the things we wanted to somehow teach others. What took our learning experience to an even greater level was the need to find the right words that conveyed the lesson. That weekly exercise took our understanding of each topic to a deeper level. I believe this is why journaling, book clubs, and healthy debates in training sessions are so important. It takes information that we may discover and helps us get a deeper understanding and the confidence to take action and apply it. Many times, I find myself taking action on something because of the confidence gained in that process of looking deeper into an idea. I have often felt that I was the greatest beneficiary from each week’s newsletter, because of what I gained through writing it.

Group at Leadership Jam 2004
Leadership Jam 2004
Group at Sales Jam 2003
Sales Jam 2003

Staying connected with so many like-minded people through the years was a benefit to us and to the entire network. If we introduced a new program, like the Working Smarter Training Challenge, scheduled a Leadership Jam or Sales Jam around the country, and on those few occasions when we rolled out a new book, there were many great people interested in supporting us. We were always grateful because their support and participation made every program and event better. When we look back over the past 32 years, one of the accomplishments that I am most proud of is the friendships that were made between the people in our events that formed this network. These friendships have spanned a couple of decades and continue to strengthen as the years go by. It was always our goal to connect great people with great people and then watch the friendships grow as a result.

Owners Network at the Biltmore in 2015
Owners Network at the Biltmore in 2015

Recognizing a Resource

Quote from People Solutions ReaderOur greatest resource for this newsletter has always been YOU! Your insights, our interactions with our clients, and very often your feedback to what we shared every week in this format. We were not expecting the tremendous notes and letters from so many of you over the past month as we have moved toward this last newsletter and retirement, and we are certainly grateful for the kind words. There were notes from those of you we knew were regular readers for many years, notes from those we had met somewhere along the journey, and from others we had never met. All of your comments and the sharing of your thoughts reminded me of something very important: every person has a story to tell, wisdom to share, and a desire to help and support others. Everyone has the ability to make a difference, and, when given the opportunity, they will take it.

Quote from People Solutions ReaderOur greatest resource for this newsletter has always been YOU! Your insights, our interactions with our clients, and very often your feedback to what we shared every week in this format. We were not expecting the tremendous notes and letters from so many of you over the past month as we have moved toward this last newsletter and retirement, and we are certainly grateful for the kind words. There were notes from those of you we knew were regular readers for many years, notes from those we had met somewhere along the journey, and from others we had never met. All of your comments and the sharing of your thoughts reminded me of something very important: every person has a story to tell, wisdom to share, and a desire to help and support others. Everyone has the ability to make a difference, and, when given the opportunity, they will take it.

Exploring Some Possibilities

Word Blog on BoardWe are now in the process of exploring what starting line would be the most inspiring to transition to. It is time to give thought to what we want the next “first thing to be.” The list becomes very intriguing . . .

  • Publish the latest book: THE DEPRESSED MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER, and open the door for people to talk about mental health and wellness opportunities.
  • Create a blog and get controversial with topics that are . . . well . . . controversial.
  • Create a variety of ways to tap into our network and unleash all of your vast wisdom acquired through living life.
  • Keep writing and discover how many more books might emerge through the process.
  • Continue to learn which end of the paintbrush to use and how to place paint on a canvas so it might look like something.
  • Build a . . . a . . . a. . .

STOP! An interesting thing just happened in the process of generating this list. I was set to lay it all out, wondering just how many possible starting lines I could identify. I was wanting to go into detail on several of them and then it hit me . . . none of these are the real next first thing.

Jim and GrandchildrenSo what is? . . . TODAY! The next first thing is living today with as much positive energy and hopeful anticipation that I can pack into 24 hours. I want to be willing to say hello to as many people or birds or trees that I possibly can. I want to work at understanding that I will have the opportunity to laugh a lot, possibly cry a little, and intentionally think a bit so that when I go to sleep tonight and hopefully wake tomorrow, I will have another next first thing waiting and challenging me to live to its fullest. If you and I can focus on the moments that will come whether it is getting lost in a journey of pure imagination and bliss with grandkids or discovering solutions to challenges we are working on and at the end of the day reflect back on what we have learned and apply it, then one day we will cross the finish line having experienced a lifetime of great “first things.” My one last bit of advice, and I trust you will give it serious consideration: you do not need to be starting a new chapter of life to turn your next first thing into the greatest day ever . . . just step up to the starting line, and GO GET ‘EM!

JIM PALUCH

Word Blog on Board

We are now in the process of exploring what starting line would be the most inspiring to transition to. It is time to give thought to what we want the next “first thing to be.” The list becomes very intriguing . . .

  • Publish the latest book: THE DEPRESSED MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER, and open the door for people to talk about mental health and wellness opportunities.
  • Create a blog and get controversial with topics that are . . . well . . . controversial.
  • Create a variety of ways to tap into our network and unleash all of your vast wisdom acquired through living life.
  • Keep writing and discover how many more books might emerge through the process.
  • Continue to learn which end of the paintbrush to use and how to place paint on a canvas so it might look like something.
  • Build a . . . a . . . a. . .

STOP! An interesting thing just happened in the process of generating this list. I was set to lay it all out, wondering just how many possible starting lines I could identify. I was wanting to go into detail on several of them and then it hit me . . . none of these are the real next first thing.

Jim and Grandchildren

So what is? . . . TODAY! The next first thing is living today with as much positive energy and hopeful anticipation that I can pack into 24 hours. I want to be willing to say hello to as many people or birds or trees that I possibly can. I want to work at understanding that I will have the opportunity to laugh a lot, possibly cry a little, and intentionally think a bit so that when I go to sleep tonight and hopefully wake tomorrow, I will have another next first thing waiting and challenging me to live to its fullest. If you and I can focus on the moments that will come whether it is getting lost in a journey of pure imagination and bliss with grandkids or discovering solutions to challenges we are working on and at the end of the day reflect back on what we have learned and apply it, then one day we will cross the finish line having experienced a lifetime of great “first things.” My one last bit of advice, and I trust you will give it serious consideration: you do not need to be starting a new chapter of life to turn your next first thing into the greatest day ever . . . just step up to the starting line, and GO GET ‘EM!

JIM PALUCH

Jim, Beth, Grandchildren and Max in the woods

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