Little Lessons

Solo Tasking

Posted by Mark Fallon

Dec 14, 2018 5:01:00 AM

“The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time.” – Richard Cecil

I’m very lucky to have a job that I love. Working with clients, teaching classes, speaking for industry groups, and traveling to some beautiful parts of our country. But as the saying goes, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

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Topics: support, challenge, time, team

Self-Improvement and Self-Acceptance – 2 Sides of the Same Coin

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 27, 2018 5:01:00 AM


“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn't worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise L. Hay

Readers of this blog understand my commitment to life-long self-improvement. Whether it’s expanding my knowledge through reading books, or my past efforts as a runner, or my current rehabilitation  after surgery. More importantly, through the lessons and love shared by friends, I try to become better at providing support and understanding for the people in my life.

I also accept being me – just as I am.

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Topics: love, support, growth, little lessons

Facing the Unknown

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 13, 2018 5:01:00 AM

Cape Sunrise

"If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." - Calvin Coolidge

In a world of uncertainty, many of us feel overwhelmed by the challenges around us – real or imagined. Will we have a job next month? Is the small repair on the house a symptom of a larger expense we can’t afford? With so many personal and professional responsibilities filling up our calendar, is there room for ourselves?

The list goes on.

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Topics: love, fear, support, positive, future

Three Canes – Three Lessons

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jun 22, 2018 5:01:00 AM


"I am still learning.” – Michelangelo

It wasn’t something I planned, becoming the owner of 3 different canes. There was no intentional collecting – one’s an heirloom, one’s an essential aid, and the other was a gift. My current situation brought them together, and each one brought its own little lesson.

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Topics: support, challenge, little lessons, kindness

It’s Okay to Be Human

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 25, 2018 5:01:00 AM

Umass Shirt

“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.” – Maya Angelou

In a few days, I’ll be having total hip replacement surgery.

I’m nervous about it.

My rational mind knows that I will probably be fine. I have a good doctor. I will be having surgery in a good hospital associated with a good medical school. I am covered by decent health insurance. I know that I must have the surgery to end the pain and prevent more damage to my body.

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Topics: love, fear, support, listen, emotions

The Opening Act

Posted by Mark Fallon

Apr 13, 2018 5:01:00 AM

Joan Osborne
“Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” – Les Brown

A few years ago, my wife and I went to a Joan Osborne concert. It was a wonderful evening with Joan singing some of her classics, some blues standards, and some songs she hasn’t recorded yet. Accompanied only by a piano player (and her iPod), Joan’s sultry and soulful voice still has the power it had in the 1990s.

The surprise of the evening was the opening act. I love opening acts.

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Topics: goals, dreams, support

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

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.

  Picket_Fence.jpg   Four_friends.jpg

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Topics: friendship, support, mentor

Grateful for the Lessons; Even the Difficult Ones

Posted by Mark Fallon

Nov 25, 2016 5:05:00 AM

"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding." - Khalil Gibran

sunrise_run.jpgThis is the time of year when we give thanks for all that’s good in our lives. For many of us, it may be our job, our home, our family, or our loved ones. The moments of happiness we never expected, and never take for granted. We raise our glasses and toast to love and friendship.

Just as importantly, we should be thankful for the lessons we’ve learned. Perhaps we’ve discovered new methods for improving ourselves. Or begun to understand more about the world – near and far. The ways we’ve grown and become a better person.

While we don’t celebrate pain, we need to also give thanks for what we’ve found out though the difficult lessons. Loss, heartbreak, failure – simple words that carry so much meaning. Deep, personal significance that we don’t always share. And don’t wish on anyone else.

While I try and use the word “we” when writing these posts, in this case I don’t want to presume my feelings are the same as anyone else. Your loss may be too great for there to be a positive side. Your grief may be deeper than what I’ve experienced. I can only wish you peace.

My difficult lessons have helped make me a better person. Not being able to see – or talk to – a loved one who has passed away, I celebrate the memories of the brief moments I was lucky to experience with them. Tears mix with smiles as I share stories of days past. Muted photographs remind me to express my love to the people I’m with today.

Failures remind me to celebrate what has gone right, no matter how small. Being physically broken has taught me how much I need the support of others to heal and recover. And I learned the exact same lesson when my spirits were crushed. The pain may not go away, but it’s easier to bear because of someone’s love.

We don’t seek out suffering and sorrow. We don’t want others to go through physical or emotional distress. At the same time, we recognize that pain and loss are a necessary part of life. Through that recognition, we may find a way to further celebrate the joy that we experience today.

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Topics: love, support, thankfulness

The Risk of Being Judged

Posted by Mark Fallon

Oct 21, 2016 5:01:00 AM

“It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes.” – Sally Field

Comic Books.jpgI read comic books.

My friends have known this for the last 40 years, but it’s not something I usually share in public. My Goodreads list includes novels, but the majority of books I read are about management, history, science and philosophy. I’m a 54-year-old businessman running a consulting company. As a writer and a consultant, I want people to take me seriously. And serious people don’t read comic books.

Actually, they do. I was recently reminded of my own misgivings and their impact on my life.

Last weekend was the Boston Book Festival. In addition to exhibits of authors, bookstores and publishers, the festival had informational sessions on different genres. The panels are a blend of national and local celebrities, as well as famous and not-so-famous authors. It’s a great opportunity to gain insight to the writers’ approach towards their craft.

The unexpected highlight of the day was a session entitled “BFF Unbound: Not Your Grandma’s Romance”. Filmmaker Laurie Kahn moderated a panel of 4 authors, who shared how they began writing romance novels, the different subgenres in the romance category, and their interactions with readers. I couldn’t believe I’d left my normally ever-present notebook at home.

A common theme was the reluctance of the authors to embrace romance novels – either as a reader or a writer. Several had Master's degrees, one had been an English professor and one was a computer systems professional. They were serious, well-educated people. And romance novels weren’t for serious people.

Actually, they are.

The writers had to get over their own preconceptions of what romance novels were, and who would be their readers. They discovered that romance fiction contained universal themes of the human condition, which could be expressed in many different settings. Their audience were people who read multiple books a week, if not a book a day. Writing romance would be as authentic as any other genre.

Choosing this course of action meant risking being judged by certain segments of society, including their close friends. However, it also meant joining a supportive community of millions of readers who embrace their choices and don’t worry about what other people think. An added bonus – being financially successful in the multi-billion dollar romance novel market.

Too often, we let the judgments of others interfere with embracing who we are – and who we can become. In many ways, social media has intensified these feelings, with people posting disparaging comments about types of films, music or books. Or perhaps putting down others because of what they prefer to eat – or not eat. It can even devolve to insulting other runners because of the distances they choose or the finishing times of their races.

While perhaps meant in jest, these posts can cause embarrassment for their unintended targets. We all have some level of insecurity, and the wrong phrase can magnify our self-doubt. We’re driven further into silence. And farther away from our joy.

There’s little we can do to change the actions of others. But we can change ourselves. First - before posting that next negative comment – pause and reconsider. If the post doesn’t serve any positive usefulness, why bother? Is it worth making yourself feel good – at the expense of someone else?

More importantly, be proud of who you are – including all of your idiosyncrasies and passions. Stop being concerned about what “everyone” thinks. As long as your joy doesn’t bring someone else pain, then it’s good. Read comic books, watch silly television shows, go for runs before sunrise, or do whatever it is that makes you happy. Look inward, not outward, for approval.

Consider sharing your enthusiasms with the world. Maybe post about a musician you recently discovered, a walk that brought you peace, or an event that made you smile. Your words may help you learn that there are many other people who share your opinion. Or maybe you get to introduce someone to a delight that they’ve yet to discover.

It’s worth the risk.

Book Mark to speak at your next event
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Topics: Reading and Books, values, support