Catalyst

Learning from Life and Leadership

Category Archives: Reflections

Who is Watching You? Three Observations about Invisible Influence

Sometimes you do what appears to be foolish, and it helps someone else. It is the principle of invisible influence.   Invisible influence means people are watching you and you affect them, even though you are unaware of their notice. You see someone pick up trash and you bend over to pick up the next […]

A Nicaragua Postscript: Three Reasons I Go on a Hard Trip

For a dozen years, I make an annual January trip to Managua, Nicaragua. While many go as tourists and many Americans are ex-pats, I go for another reason. I go to help poor people. I go with a talented and devoted team of doctors, pharmacists, dentists, and helpers from Health Talents International. We conduct mobile […]

Thanksgiving Before Christmas: Making Giving Better

On the Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Cookies album is a song called Ordinary Days. It’s not a traditional Christmas song.   In it, the writers Steve Bogard and Rick Giles captured more than holly, snow, and nativity scenes. They put a tear in the eyes of Christmas.   The song speaks to what you should […]

The Tree

I spend my mornings reading, reflecting, and planning at a local coffee shop. As a creature of habit, I tend to sit in the same booth to think, brood, create, and calm. It has been a morning routine spanning many years.   Outside of the window is a tree. When I started going to the […]

Thanks for Nothing

Tommy Allsup died on January 11, 2017. His name is unfamiliar to most. The rock-and-roll guitarist for Buddy Holly’s band should have died on February 3, 1959.   That was the date “the music died” (chronicled by Don McLean’s 1970 hit, American Pie). The small plane had too many would-be passengers than seats. So, a […]

Holding On: Four Perspectives to Keep You Sane When Your Life Is Insane

A few years ago, my life turned down a blind alley. It wasn’t one event, but a succession of events. My elderly father fell which resulted in his moving to an assisted living center. My daughter was going through intense stress and needed our help. One night in December, my father had a massive stroke and was gone within an hour. I spent the next few months dealing with his estate (something I was ill-equipped to handle). Doctors diagnosed my father-in-law with severe dementia. He moved three times until he settled in a memory care center. I had four surgeries. (I had never had surgery in my life.) My father-in-law passed away. When I look back at what I just wrote, it gives me shivers. Somehow, we made it through. In the aftermath, I reflected on what it took to stay sane in an insane world. Four phrases capture a survivor‘s mind. […]

Get Off Life’s Scales

Someone told you a lie, a real whopper. You became an adult and attended a seminar, read a book, or got friendly advice. The lie is simple. “You need to maintain life/work balance.” You stepped on life’s scales and the pans never get even. You tried the golden equations of equality. Eight hours at work, […]

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