Little Lessons

Gathering Threads for Our Tapestries

Posted by Mark Fallon

Nov 8, 2019 5:00:00 AM

Oct 2019 Road Trip
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas

I’ve spent 7 of the last 8 weeks on the road. My travels took me from coast to coast and north to south – Atlantic Ocean to Pacific Ocean, Lake Michigan to Lake of the Ozarks, and crossing the Mississippi 4 times in a car and 8 times in a plane. Along the way, I visited 10 states plus the District of Columbia.

Food is always an important part of my journeys. Breakfast in a tucked away diner. Dinners in steakhouses and other restaurants accompanied with wine. Lunch at a hotdog stand. A wedding at a castle. Breaking bread at the family table on a friend’s farm.

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Topics: reflection, friendship, personal relationships, family, journey, travel, story, people, little lessons, time, wonder, perspective

Who Are You to Whom?

Posted by Mark Fallon

Oct 25, 2019 5:00:00 AM

dice
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” – Carl Jung

A client and I were discussing reliable sources of information on our industry. After reviewing different websites and blogs, we moved onto individuals who offer insightful posts.

“Are you on Twitter?”, I asked.

Long pause. “Well, my Twitter account is really for my musician persona. I don’t use it for corporate work.”

Musician? That never came up in our previous discussions.

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Topics: reflection, personal relationships, generation, honesty, story, people, little lessons, perspective

A Change In Perspective

Posted by Mark Fallon

Aug 2, 2019 5:01:00 AM

bass river beach

"Events don't cause stress. What causes stress are the views you take of events." - Epictetus

The Bass River Beach in Yarmouth, Massachusetts has become one of my new favorite places. A short distance from my house, it’s a peaceful spot any time of year. The island of Martha’s Vineyard is only a few miles away, and acts as a buffer to the currents of the Atlantic Ocean. The silt from the river extends the beach and the shallow water. Even at high tide, the biggest waves are from the boats speeding by the shore.

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Topics: personal relationships, communicate, attitude, challenge, little lessons, problem solving, nature, perspective

Experience Collectors Wanted

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jun 28, 2019 5:01:00 AM

After dinner
“So removed from daily life was the whole experience that when all was rotten to the core, a fine dinner could revive the spirits. If and when I had twenty dollars left to my name, I was going to spend it right here in an elegant hour that couldn’t be hocked.” – Katey Kontent in Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

I love eating at restaurants. From 5-star steakhouses to local pubs to all-American diners. Perusing wine lists for the perfect pairing to the meal, gambling on a locally brewed beer, or stirring a thick milk shake with a long spoon. And most importantly, desserts – made-to-order souffle, crème brulee or lemon-meringue pie.

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Topics: personal relationships, love, family, memories, passion, marathon, travel, people, happiness, little lessons

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 10, 2019 5:01:00 AM

Benjie Angel

“Smile at strangers and you just might change a life.” – Steve Maraboli

Growing up, we always had pets. For about 15 years, 2 cats ruled the house – Kizmee (a Siamese) owned the upstairs, while Sandy (a money cat who walked up to our house and moved in) was the queen of the downstairs. With her double paws, Sandy also governed the front yard.

Our dogs knew that they were the subservient species. Even Benjie, a large shepherd-collie mutt, received early training as a puppy from the cats about his role in the house. After receiving a few swats, he knew that whenever a cat entered a room, he got out of their way.

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Topics: networking, friendship, personal relationships, love, people, little lessons, expectations, trust, compassion

The People Around You

Posted by Mark Fallon

Oct 5, 2018 5:01:00 AM

jondamerryandme

“The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials, but the ones with the concern.” – Max Lucado

This time of year always brings a lot of travel. Many companies want to finish projects before the year-end, so that means more onsite visits. In support of Postal Customer Councils, I’ll visit 6 states in 3 months, delivering keynote addresses and instructional classes. Between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, I’ll be flying at least 10 out of 12 weeks.

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Topics: personal relationships, love, memories, travel, people

Lifting Others

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jun 29, 2018 5:01:00 AM

 

Jacobs Ladder
"I bring you the gift of these four words: 'I believe in you.' " - Blaise Pascal

If we work hard, and are a little lucky, we’ll probably reach our goals. The path may not always be clear, with curves and clouds obstructing our view of our intended destination. We may make a detour, but we continue forward. The journey can be difficult, and take longer than anticipated, but success is ours.

However, true success is about more than what we do for ourselves. We also need to consider what we do for others. Who have we helped today?

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Topics: success, improvement, personal relationships, people, kindness

Paying Our Debts

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jun 10, 2016 5:00:00 AM

“No matter what accomplishments you achieve, somebody helps you.” – Althea Gibson

coins_and_bills.jpgDid you ever have those mornings when you wake up and think about how deeply you’re in debt? Not to banks or credit card companies, but to the many people who’ve helped you in countless ways throughout your life.

Many times, someone may provide assistance because of their job, their title, or their role in our lives. Teachers, emergency workers, medical professionals, bosses, parents and friends. Or they may be a person in passing – who are in our lives for one fateful moment – and then we never see them again.

Similarly, their support may be in many forms. Something extraordinary – raising us in a safe home, inspiring us to great heights in the classroom, or maybe even saving our lives in dramatic fashion. But more often, their gifts arrive in brief but powerful actions – offering comfort in time of need, reminding us of our strengths when we feel weak, or being a source of unconditional love when needed most. Even in smaller ways, like a friendly smile, an earnest compliment, or a much needed hug. Seemingly insignificant moments with an incalculably combined impact.

If we’re lucky, we’ve had the opportunity to thank the other person. We’ve explained the impact on our lives, in the past, in the present and the future. We’ve looked them in the eye and expressed gratitude for gifts we may not have deserved. It’s a beautiful moment.

Circumstances don’t always allow for such those occasions. Relationships change. People fall away from our lives. Time and distance create gaping chasms. We may not even know the name of our benefactor. We never get the chance to say, “Thank you.”

Expressing thanks is wonderful, but we still may feel the burden of obligation to do more. We want to even out the scales. However, there’s no cosmic ledger that tallies our balance. There’s no quid pro quo formula to follow. We search for a way to pay our fair share.

One answer lies in how we became debtors. People helped us. Someone performed an act of kindness. A selfless gift, with no expectation of anything in return. It’s time for us to do the same.

And just as there were so many ways that we received, there are many ways for us to give. Participating in formal programs that lend a hand to those in need. Speaking out for those without a voice. Volunteering in our communities.

To those closer, we can offer even more of ourselves. We may not have the answers to someone’s problems, but we have ears to listen, with an open, non-judgmental heart. We can open our arms and our hearts to those that need consolation. We can celebrate another’s reason for happiness.

Every day offers a new chance to make another payment. Choosing not to spread anger and vitriol. Being polite to the person behind the counter. Holding the door open for the next individual. Deciding to be helpful to someone in need. Greeting a stranger with a smile.

We’re never truly debt-free. As long as we live, there are people who find ways to help, support and love us; during our quest to help, support and love others. We remain in a beautiful, endless circle of giving and receiving – receiving and giving.

See where Mark is speaking next
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Topics: reflection, personal relationships

Making Memories

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 20, 2016 5:00:00 AM

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Topics: goals, personal relationships, love

Lessons from My Mother: Consideration for Others

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 6, 2016 5:00:00 AM

“A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.” - Oscar Wilde

Mother_and_Me.jpgGrowing up, the local newspaper had a “Quote of the Day” feature. Sometimes, my mother would point out a quote that would make her smile. If she thought a quote was one I should remember, she would cut it out and hand it to me. To this day, I still collect quotes that carry lessons.

I was in college when she handed me the Oscar Wilde quote at the top of this post. Up to that moment, I’d limited my definition of a gentleman to someone with good manners. I opened doors for others, said “sir” and “ma’am”, and knew how to order in a restaurant. Now, I had to be considerate of the feelings of others?

For the hardcore business types tempted to skip this article because it’s about soft skills like “consideration” and “feelings”, don’t be so quick. Soft skills have a direct impact on hard numbers – like employee productivity, customer retention and profits. Besides, your mother would consider not finishing the blog as being impolite.

Most of us have memories of our mothers as caregivers who put their own needs last. Raising children, running a household and caring for others. Mothers are special people with an exclusive place in our hearts. And like you, I know that my mother is an “extra-special” person.

Although I’m one of 10 kids, my mother always took time to make me feel that I was the most important person in the world to her at that moment. And I’ve seen her do the same for my brothers and sisters. And she did the same for her 18 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Even with this crowd around her, my mother succeeded at providing individual attention to each person. Attention with consideration for how we feel.

This isn’t to say that my mother never had to correct us or scold us. But even then, she made the issue about us and our actions. Not about her feelings or what the neighbors thought. And she talked to us alone about what we did wrong, and explained the consequences for our actions.

This kind of interaction is a powerful role model for all of us. How do you treat the people around you? Friends? Family? Employees? Customers?

Take a moment to review how you treat others. Honestly consider when you weren’t as polite or as considerate as you could have been. Examine how these events caused negative results. Reflect on how changing your actions would have resulted in more positive outcomes.

Remember - good manners means more than just knowing which fork to use at dinner.

P.S.
Happy Mother’s Day!

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Topics: personal relationships, love, values

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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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