Little Lessons

The Third Option

Posted by Mark Fallon

Mar 29, 2019 5:01:00 AM

"Just because we can't find a solution doesn't mean that there isn't one.” – Andrew Wiles

Are you faced with the dilemma of choosing between two undesirable options? Then reject them both, and create a third option.

For example, just a few weeks after moving into my new house, I noticed that the light above the kitchen sink was loose. After taking a closer look, I realized that I would have to strengthen the supports for the electrical box and possibly replace the fixture. However, I realized this late Sunday night, and I had an early flight out to a client Monday morning. There would be time to fix the light when I returned.

Tuesday evening, I was heading back to the hotel when my cell phone rang. It was my wife letting me know that the light above the kitchen sink had dropped from the ceiling and was being held up only by the electrical wires. I guess the light didn’t want to wait for my scheduled repair.

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Topics: success, persistence, reactions, challenge, little lessons, problem solving

The Power of Teams

Posted by Mark Fallon

Nov 30, 2018 5:01:00 AM

Super Team

Warning: The following article on teams contains no sports references, analogies or metaphors.

For me, team victories have always been more enjoyable than individual victories. It may be the feeling of camaraderie, or the process of coming together to triumph over a challenge. Or, it may be the understanding that we accomplish very little on our own, and that we all rely on others for our success.

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Topics: success, goals, leadership, critique, team

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

The Glass in Front of You

Posted by Mark Fallon

Mar 9, 2018 3:00:00 AM

milk glass.jpg

“Being positive in a negative situation isn’t naive; it’s leadership” - Ralph Marston

On most news websites, I ignore the comments section after reading the story. However, the opposite is true for the blog that covers events in my town. The characters who post the most would fit into any novel about a small, New England town. There’s the old-timers who complain about the newcomers, the newcomers who complain about the old-timers, and then there are people who complain about everything.

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Topics: success, goals, attitude, positive

A Pause to Plan

Posted by Mark Fallon

Feb 23, 2018 5:00:00 AM


“Let’s not make our mistakes in a hurry.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Over the next 3 weeks, I’ll be on 12 different flights visiting 5 different cities. My itinerary will include delivering a report to one client, starting a project with another, and delivering a speech to a professional group. At the same time, I’ll be finalizing sales with at least 2 different prospects. We’re also expecting the drafts of our new eBook from the designer.

My personal life is a bit more jumbled. My responsibilities as the executor of my mother’s estate involves dealing with insurance companies, banks, lawyers, and the courts. It’s also time to file taxes, and last year’s goal of being better organized with paperwork wasn’t 100% successful. The doctor’s office just changed my appointment, so now I have to change my business travel plans too.

With all of this in front of me, what should I do first?

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Topics: success, reflection, planning

Dusty Dreams

Posted by Mark Fallon

Feb 9, 2018 5:00:00 AM

Right Hip.jpg
“If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.” – Flavia Weedn

30 years ago, this week, a doctor’s pronouncement meant the end to a dream. This month, it happened again.

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Topics: success, dreams, support, veteran, running

Problems Don’t Get Easier – Until They’re Solved

Posted by Mark Fallon

Aug 25, 2017 5:03:00 AM


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Topics: success, hard work, goals, motivation, attitude

What Are You Passionate About?

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 19, 2017 4:54:00 AM


"The biggest challenge is not to add years to your life, but passion to your years." - Harvey Mackay

In the late 1990s, I managed a print and mail department for a financial services company in Boston. I enjoyed giving tours of the operation; explaining the roles people performed, the functionality of the different equipment, and the innovative technology we implemented. My employees were used to listening to my enthusiastic descriptions, as I often asked them to stop a machine, so my voice could be heard.

There’s one tour I’ll never forget. My guest was a new account representative from an equipment vendor. I included extra information on how we had adapted the equipment from her company to even better serve our needs. We ended the visit at my office, and I asked if she had any questions. “Yes,” she replied, “How can you be so passionate about mail?”

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Topics: success, goals, attitude, passion

Doing What I Say

Posted by Mark Fallon

Feb 10, 2017 5:00:00 AM

“The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice we give to others.” - Author Unknown

IMistakes.jpgn my role as a consultant, I provide management advice to my customers. Because I’ve been running marathons for a while, people reach out to me for suggestions on training, races, etc. And as person who’s now almost 50% older than half the population, I’m sometimes sought out for guidance on life issues.

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Topics: success, reflection, growth

The Great Unknown

Posted by Mark Fallon

Dec 2, 2016 5:01:00 AM

“As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

trail tunnel.jpgI like schedules. My travel itinerary is on my Surface, my Droid and a printed calendar that hangs in the kitchen. I set an appointment every few weeks just to look at my calendar – 2 months back and 2 months ahead. What have I done and where am I heading?

I love project plans – of all types. When I was in the military, I excelled at drafting operations orders (OPORD). During ROTC, we once drafted an OPORD for a training run through the streets of Boston, ending at our rival ROTC unit at another college. They were shocked when a group of cadets came through the front door, chanting “Delta!” and “Suffolk U!” as we ran through their hallways. A well-organized, well-executed raid. I think it was the first time we received both a commendation and a reprimand for the same action.

In my role as a consultant, I love the start of new projects. The opportunity to map out a major undertaking from start to finish – assigning roles, setting due dates and establishing milestones. Confirming the timelines against competing projects and responsibilities. Then hopefully, delivering the project on time for the client.

Creating a training plan for a race gives me the same thrill – the spreadsheet is a blank canvas waiting to come to life. I look back at similar races, comparing my current fitness level to the past. Then I take into consideration the season’s probable weather, known travel plans and other factors. I’m able to start the training cycle with confidence that I have a plan to show up at the starting line fully prepared.

With all of this planning, I can be sure of only one thing – I have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow.

None of us know what will take place in the future. Not tomorrow, not next year, not even in the next 5 minutes. Our past experiences suggest what will probably happen, but the unknown has a sly way of making an appearance at the most inconvenient time. The sun will probably rise in the morning, however it might have gone supernova 8 minutes ago. Or, there may be a check for a million dollars in today’s mail. We’ll find out soon enough.

Understanding that we can’t predict the future doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare for the future. In fact, the opposite is true. We can be organized and flexible at the same time. A good plan starts with a goal in mind. When something unexpected occurs, we can adjust the plan to regain the path to our objective.

When the unforeseen happens, and it will, we need to stop and assess the situation. We may have to change the times we have scheduled. We may need to find new resources – people, money, emotional support – in order to complete the plan. We may even have to reevaluate our goals, and reconsider what’s most important to us.

The ability to adapt our tactics to an unpredictable situation is essential to our success. We learn to accept what is out of our control. We take the time to focus on the actions we can control. Then take the necessary steps to enable the future we hope to achieve.

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Topics: success, goals, persistence