Little Lessons

Where is Home?

Posted by Mark Fallon

Nov 24, 2017 4:00:00 AM

New House.jpg
In his poem, The Death of the Hired Man, Robert Frost wrote:

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.”

Mr. Frost was wrong.

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Topics: friendship, love

The Unintended People of Our Decisions

Posted by Mark Fallon

Nov 17, 2017 4:00:00 AM


“Few delights can equal the presence of one whom we trust utterly.” – George MacDonald

In 1975, I joined the Immaculate Conception Queensmen Drum & Bugle Corps. I had no talent, and had never played a musical instrument. For no particular reason, I tried out for the drum line, and was picked to be a snare drummer.

More than 40 years later, the boys I marched next to have become the men who I rely on for support and friendship.

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Topics: friendship, support, mentor

The Little Things

Posted by Mark Fallon

Oct 20, 2017 5:00:00 AM

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Topics: persistence, friendship, thankfulness, attitude, positive

Focus, Not Limits

Posted by Mark Fallon

Sep 29, 2017 5:00:00 AM

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“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

I’m currently reading “Life: The Leading Edge of Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Anthropology, and Environmental Science” (edited by John Brockman). The book is a collection of essays and conversations by scientists on their understanding of life – from evolution to genetics to the origins of life to the probability of life on other planets.

My favorite chapter is the transcript of a panel discussion on the concept of life. What makes the discussion so interesting is the varied points of views - biologists, geneticists, physicists and evolutionary philosophers. While each scientist had a primary field of study, they were also well-versed in a wide spectrum of topics. The physicist had read papers on genetics, and the biologist had studied chemistry, and so on. Their broad understanding of multiple subjects supplemented their specific fields.

We can learn from their habits. Too often, we allow our focus to become too narrow. Instead of improving our expertise in an area, our self-imposed limits stunt our growth – professionally and personally.

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Topics: friendship, Reading and Books, learning, communicate, growth

Don’t Blink

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 26, 2017 5:03:00 AM

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"Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think. So don't blink." - Kenny Chesney (Chris Wallin and Casey Beathard - songwriters)

In 1992, I attended my first national mailing conference. I was intimidated by the attendees who were experienced managers, and clearly knew what they were doing. My introvert side won out, and I kept to myself as much as possible.

On the last day, at the last class, one of the older attendees introduced himself to me. He invited me to a reception, where he introduced me to even more people. The other managers welcomed me to their group. We exchanged business cards and phone numbers (no email back then), and promised to stay in touch.

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Topics: friendship, memories, attitude

Jamie’s Parker House Rolls

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 5, 2017 5:01:00 AM

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There are some people that when you hear their name immediately make you think of a certain time and place. It may be a classroom from college. A crowded living room after dinner. A deserted beach during the winter.

When I think about my friend, Jamie, I actually think of four people. Jamie, David, Dolores, and me, sharing a meal. Dinner at a nice restaurant. Breakfast at the neighborhood diner. The best place of all – Jamie’s table.

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Topics: friendship, family, memories

Open Arms and Open Hearts

Posted by Mark Fallon

Apr 29, 2016 5:00:00 AM

“For one moment our lives met – our souls touched.” – Oscar Wilde

beach_heart.jpgAt the National Postal Forum this year, I met former Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton. We were backstage before the final luncheon – I was part of a brief presentation, while Scott was the keynote speaker. He was very gracious posing for photos with anyone who asked.

Just when it seemed that the “meet and greet” was over, a woman came up and asked him for an autograph. Scott immediately said yes, and asked if she wanted it made out to anyone in particular. The beaming smile on her face revealed how much this moment meant to her.

After she left, I asked Scott if this ever got old. That just a photo, or a signature, could just make a fan so happy. He replied, “All they want, is a chance to touch my heart. Some celebrities push people away. Me …”, and then he opened his arms wide, “I let them in.”

This phenomena isn’t reserved for famous athletes and movie stars, or fans looking for a photo and an autograph. In our everyday lives, there are people who just want to touch our hearts. For a brief instant.

This isn’t about traditional love – familial, romantic or friendship. It may be an interaction with a complete stranger. It’s not even about physically touching another person. It’s about taking a moment to acknowledge someone. To recognize their needs, no matter how small.

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Topics: friendship, love, support

If You Have Something Nice to Say, Say It – A Challenge for 2016

Posted by Mark Fallon

Dec 31, 2015 5:00:00 AM

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” - Mark Twain

Compliment a DayLast week, I received a message from a good friend. In addition to sharing news, the person said something very kind about me. While I’m not sure my actions warranted the praise, it was nice to hear. And it made me feel good about the person I’m trying to become.

It was only one message in the midst of hundreds received during the week – phone calls, emails, Facebook posts, LinkedIn updates and tweets. Further, it was only one sentence in a much larger conversation. But it had such an impact, that I’m not only thinking about it, I’m writing about it.

Words are very powerful. Sincere expressions of gratitude and admiration can change a person’s outlook for the day. The week. Their life.

So, my challenge for my readers – and myself – is simple: Give at least one person a genuine compliment every day during 2016.

You may decide to praise the same person every day. That’s okay. You may want to say something nice to a different person every day. That’s okay too.

This shouldn’t be a public exercise, but a private and personal endeavor. In other words, on February 3, you shouldn’t post on Facebook or Twitter: “Day 34. My compliment of the day is for Fred. You’re a nice guy, Fred!”

You should send someone a private message, a text, or a letter. Even better, call them up and tell them why you think they’re special. Or best of all, look them in the eye, and tell them one of the reasons why you love them.

Since it will be a Leap Year, 2016 provides us with 366 opportunities to express our feelings of admiration, respect and love. Make it authentic. Make it personal. Make it happen.


Contact Mark 

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Topics: friendship, love

In the Company of Friends

Posted by Mark Fallon

Nov 6, 2015 5:00:00 AM

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Topics: friendship

Ten Miles, The Dip and a Little Help From My Friends

Posted by Mark Fallon

Oct 9, 2015 5:00:00 AM

army_ten_milerIn 2007, I turned 45. Not an age that most of us approach with much interest. Feelings of excitement or dread are normally reserved for ages that end with a “0”, like “30”, “40” or “50”.

Turning 45 made me think about what happened in 1987 – the year I turned 25. Over just a few months, I received my Master's in Public Administration degree, got married and reported for active duty at the Infantry Officer Basic Course at Ft. Benning, Georgia. It was quite a year.

What do I do for an encore 20 years later? My education now takes place outside the classroom – through overcoming challenges in running a business, supplemented with a healthy reading program. To celebrate our 20th anniversary, my wife and I went to Paris. We had a wonderful time, and I remembered enough French to get along.

To pay tribute to my military service, I decided to run the Army Ten-Miler Road Race in Washington, DC, on October 7. The course would start at the Pentagon, with a loop along the Mall, past the Capitol and back. Sounded fantastic.

There was one minor issue. I was in terrible physical shape. On April 2, the day after I signed up for the race, I barely completed two miles. And that took almost 30 minutes. Finishing 10 miles was going to be a challenge.

In a newsletter I published that year, I recommended Seth Godin’s The Dip. In the book, Godin identifies the Dip as the challenge people and companies face after the initial excitement about starting a project wears off. For some people, they can’t see beyond the Dip, and quit. Others work through the Dip and achieve success. I wanted to be successful.

From my experience, I knew that the Dip would probably occur when I hit the 4-mile run mark in training. After that distance, my body would become more aware of the compounded effects of past injuries and the additional weight I was carrying. But recognizing a Dip is only half the battle. I needed a way to make it past the Dip.

In many presentations, I remind my audiences that you never have to tackle problems on your own. It’s a good idea to seek out assistance for tough issues. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of intelligence.

Taking my own advice, I reached out to two friends, Brian Hayes and Ken Benway. Brian and I were cadets together in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Suffolk University, and Ken was our instructor. They were also both retired Special Forces soldiers. I knew that these two men would support me and help me achieve my goal. Although somewhat differently.

I emailed my weekly progress and received immediate feedback. I could hear the “HUAH!” in Brian’s voice when he wrote back. Each email began with him calling me “Hero”, and ended with “Congrats Amigo!” He also added phrases like “kinder and gentler gets you fatter and slower”.

Equally supportive, Ken’s emails included cautionary advice with reminders to stretch and to not over-train. Also, there were descriptions of his personal training program and links to websites with information on nutrition and physical conditioning.

Soon the “4-Mile Dip” turned into a “blip”. I was hitting my 6-mile, 8-mile and 10-mile training targets weeks ahead of schedule. My goals changed as well. I no longer wanted to just finish the Ten-Miler, but finish with a respectable time.

And I did. On October 7, 2007, I finished the Army Ten-Miler with a time of 1:25:01, an average of 8 minutes and 30 seconds per mile.

I was never alone during those 10 miles. Not just because there were 26,000 other people in the race. Or, because my wife was at the 5-mile mark to take photos and cheer me on. I also had Brian and Ken in my head, continuing to encourage me and remind me that I could accomplish my goal.

We all have goals. And, as Seth points out, we’ll all encounter Dips. But remember, you never have to face the Dip alone.

Be smart, and ask for a little help from your friends. 

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Topics: goals, persistence, friendship

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Our blog helps the reader focus on the little lessons - taking place every day - that will lead to sustainable, long-term success.

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