Little Lessons

Memorial Day Will Be Different This Year

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 22, 2020 4:45:00 AM

Flag and marker
“Green sods are all their monuments; and yet it tells a nobler history than pillared piles, or the eternal pyramids.” - James Gates Percival

My earliest memories of Memorial Day are watching my father march in a parade with the American Legion. He looked very sharp in his uniform.

When I was a teenager, I marched in Memorial Day parades as a member of two drum corps – the Immaculate Conception Queensmen and the Middlesex County Guardsmen. I remember how silent it became when we entered the cemeteries – just the beat of a single bass drum to keep the entire corps in step.

After my father died, I began marching on Memorial Day again. This time, as a member of the American Legion – a long circle completed.

This year will be different. No parades. No large gatherings at monuments. No readings of veterans’ names at cemeteries.

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Topics: reflection, inspiration, love, values, veteran, family, memories, people, little lessons, emotions, father, parents, honor, service, compassion

How We See the World

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 8, 2020 4:45:00 AM

camrea obscura
“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” – George Bernard Shaw

Staying at home, staring at screens. Television screens. Laptop Screens. Smartphone screens.

Our daily intake of news and opinions through cable networks, social media and messages between friends. There may be an unlimited number of choices, but we have a limited amount of time and attention. Either intentionally or subconsciously, we’ve either narrowed our channels or expanded our viewpoints.

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Topics: improvement, learning, values, growth, positive, challenge, little lessons, social media, trust, perspective, information, balance

Do the Right Thing

Posted by Mark Fallon

Apr 10, 2020 4:45:00 AM

flip phone
“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” - Mark Twain

Several years ago, I was at the National Postal Forum (NPF) in Washington, DC. The NPF is my favorite conference and I’ve been attending shows every year since 1992. It’s a great opportunity to listen to postal executives and experts in the mailing industry. More importantly, I get to see the many friends I’ve met over the years.

On Tuesday evening, I jumped in a cab and headed to a dinner I was hosting for clients. We gathered in the bar while a table was prepared, and I introduced guests to each other. When the hostess announced they were ready to seat us, I reached into my pocket to shut off my cell phone. But – it wasn’t there!

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Topics: values, thankfulness, thoughtfulness, people, little lessons, kindness, help, good, National Postal Forum

What to Discard

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jan 31, 2020 5:00:00 AM

trash and recycles
“The things people discard tell more about them than the things they keep.” – Hilda Lawrence

One of my weekly rituals is a trip to the local dump. Actually, the official name is – the “Residential Waste Drop Off & Recycle Area”. In addition to separate bins for newspapers, plastics and cardboard, there’s also containers to donate clothing, small kitchen goods and books. In the back is the compost area for leaves and grass clippings, plus a place for trees, shrubs and bulky items (for a fee).

With a small house, it’s important to keep to a regular schedule. The cardboard from shipping boxes can take up a lot of space. Magazines and newspapers stack up quickly. New clothes need space in the closet, so something has to go.

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Topics: reflection, values, little lessons, emotions, balance

Being Good and Decent and Kind

Posted by Mark Fallon

Dec 6, 2019 5:00:00 AM

mister rogers star
“I like you just the way you are.” – Fred Rogers

I love action movies. I’ve seen Die Hard so many times, that I often quote the next line an actor is going to say before he says it. While director Christopher Nolan definitely captured the grittiness of Gotham City imagined by Bob Kane, his movies never would have been created without the imaginative Tim Burton’s Batman of 1989. And no actor takes as many punches as Harrison Ford does, whether he’s Indiana Jones, Jack Ryan or Dr. Richard Kimble.

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Topics: values, optimism, positive, thoughtfulness, joy, little lessons, emotions, kindness, help, good, empathy

Hard Work is Hard Work

Posted by Mark Fallon

Nov 15, 2019 5:00:00 AM

Quincy College Luncheon                   Photo Credit: Quincy College


“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Some Silly Person

Last week, I attended a veterans’ luncheon at a nearby college. One of the speakers was US Navy Veteran Allen Lerner, owner and operator of a local Chick-Fil-A restaurant. Allen was offering advice to the students on choosing a career.

“Some of you may have heard the saying, ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’”. Allen continued, “That’s a myth.”

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Topics: success, hard work, goals, persistence, values, thankfulness, veteran, running, attitude, passion, little lessons

Your Choices, Your Values

Posted by Mark Fallon

Sep 27, 2019 5:01:00 AM

small scales
“"Happy, contented people make conscious, careful choices about their life focuses that endorse their individual values." – Gail McMeekin

I believe in goals. Over 25% of the posts on this blog have had something to say about goals. Having an objective helps provide direction and purpose. Of course, we need to make sure we have the right objectives.

Hard work is an important part of our lives. Sometimes the effort is a combination of physical, mental and emotional. We can’t expect accomplishments without labor and sweat. But we also need rest to allow our bodies and spirits to recover.

Success – reaching our goals through hard work and determination – is a great sensation. Knowing that we’ve achieved what we set out to do, that we’ve overcome the obstacles and challenges before us. Winning feels better than losing. However, the obsession to succeed can blind us from what’s really important.

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Topics: success, hard work, goals, reflection, values, honesty, challenge, happiness, little lessons, wins, balance

When Mistakes Happen

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 19, 2019 5:01:00 AM

Foggy Coast

"No one ever choked swallowing his or her pride." - Harvey Mackay

I was wrong this week. Twice. Okay, at least twice.

Because the two mistakes I’m discussing involve clients and prospects, I can’t go into too much detail. But in each case, I underestimated the challenges involved with a project. And both times, I had to admit I was wrong.

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Topics: improvement, values, honesty, listen, little lessons, trust, problem solving

Searching for the Best

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 20, 2018 5:01:00 AM

burger dinner

“The best things in life aren’t things.” – Art Buchwald

It’s common to see signs in restaurants declaring “Voted Best Restaurant of 2018” by the readers of the local newspaper or regional magazine. The restaurant may only be a local pub with 10 tables and 5 booths, but it’s “the best”.

I’ve had people ask me for “the best hotel in Boston”. Before answering, I ask questions – How many people? Any children? What do you plan on doing? What time of year? Will you have a car?

A friend asked me “what’s the best book on leadership?” The closest I could come to answering the questions was to write a blog post with a list of 25 books that had a significant impact on me.

“Best” is a very personal term. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “best” as “superlative of good: excelling all others.”

Excelling in what?
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Topics: reflection, Reading and Books, values, memories, emotions

I Was Never Not Thanked

Posted by Mark Fallon

Nov 4, 2016 5:01:00 AM

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.” – Cicero

Speaking.jpgThis week, I was able to spend some time with two of my favorite people – Maureen Goodson and Mary Guthrie of the National Postal Forum (NPF). We were in Washington DC to attend a briefing at the U.S. Postal Service headquarters. Arriving early, we used the time to discuss ideas about next year’s conference in Baltimore, MD.

My involvement with the NPF has grown over time. From being one member of a panel in 1995 to delivering multiple classes each year to sponsoring events like the Habitat for Humanity build. With the help of Maureen’s staff, we’re looking to do even more in 2017.

The NPF isn’t the only conference in the print and mailing industry, nor is it the only one I attend. But it is the only one that I’ll go out of my way to support, whether that means leading extra classes, delivering webinars or publishing blog posts. When Maureen asked why I’m so loyal, I had a very simple answer – for over 20 years, I’ve never not been thanked.

That may sound obvious. However, the NPF has thousands of attendees, senior government officials as speakers, dozens of presenters, and Fortune 500 companies as sponsors. It could be very easy to miss a single contributor from a smaller company in the midst of that crowd. But that never happened. And that wasn’t an accident.

It takes conscious effort to create a positive, thankful culture in any organization – a company, a local fundraising group, or a book club. Leaders have to set the example, recognizing the efforts of everyone involved. Everyone has to see the people at the top taking the time to thank all contributors – regardless of level.

And while leaders have to set the example, the entire organization has to believe in the importance of acknowledgement. You don’t have to be a senior vice-president to say, “Thank you” – to a customer, a contributor, or a peer. It’s always correct to express your appreciation.

Of course, this same attitude should extend to our personal lives. We’re all beneficiaries of gifts from others – some small, some life-changing – all important. We need to let that person know we appreciate their actions. Recognizing their support can take the form of a note, a phone call or a simple, sincere expression of thanks at the moment.

The impact of your actions may last a lifetime.

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Topics: values, thankfulness

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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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