Integrity Matters Broadcasts

January 30, 2008

New Year’s Resolutions, again

Dear Friends:

Dear Friends:

This past week, on Wednesday, January 28, Ms. Kathy Spake, Director of Volunteer and Member Services, the Carmel Foundation, Carmel, California, invited me to address the membership.  My topic, what else, integrity!

Jim Bracher and Kathy Spake at the Carmel Foundation – discussing Integrity Matters  

Senior citizens, by and large, get it.  They have lived long enough to know that there is no free lunch and that success comes before work only in the dictionary, and sometimes in high finance and certain very sophisticated political and social environments.  For the rest of us, success and positive impact really is about hard work, sacrifice and integrity.

Seems every time I am able to address a group, young or old, the give and take before, during and after the presentation, enriches me as much if not more that whatever my contribution might be. 

America’s Greatest Generation, as those who are 75 years and older are called, serve as beacons of hope for this and any society that currently faces social, cultural and economic challenges.  Some who are now “crowing” like Chicken Little, that the sky is falling, might want to listen to the stories of those who faced 30 and 40 percent unemployment in the 1930’s.  These are tough times, but others have gone through similar challenges. And, they are watching, for a second time in their lives, the injustices perpetrated on millions and billions of individuals – nationally and globally, by selfish, callous and crooked power brokers. 

So, let’s not wring our hands, let’s work on resolutions

Here are mine, what are yours?

  • Continue to lose weight and exercise more.  My physician has been clear about both, so my choices have been narrowed.  Fortunately, an attendee at my recent speech reminded me of what one fellow New Jersey educator is credited with having said.  In the movie about his life, Patterson, New Jersey, high school principal, Joe Black, portrayed by Morgan Freeman in the movie, Lean on Me, said:  “Discipline is not The enemy of enthusiasm.” And, he also challenged those about him:  “Teachers fail when students do not learn.”  Bottom line:  if it is to be, it is up to me.
  • Savor relationships.  Friends are hard to find, they are precious and require nurture, which is another way of saying they require time and energy.  As times get even harder, and time more scarce, the need for strengthening relationships will be even more critical.  This is my year to invest more in others, listening attentively, offering encouragement where appropriate and not shying away from forthright feedback, when silence might do more harm than good.  There are some fundamentals, the ABC’s of relationship integrity, that, when applied, enrich lives.
  • Operate on values that integrate personal and professional priorities. For 30 years, the Nickel Philosophy, has served as a touchstone, a reminder of what is important and what is, well, if not irrelevant, then certainly not a “big deal” and ought not detract from higher (more important) priorities. If you have not taken the time to assess what is important to you – personally and professionally – then you risk being tossed about by whatever fad comes along that captures the interest (and passion) of those who would like to direct your life.  One either has a self-set compass or risks spinning out of control as a result of the magnetic magicians who captivatingly dish out dribble.
  • Exhibit the Eight Attributes of an Integrity-centered lifeas reflected by the insights offered by members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County in Seaside and Salinas, California.  It is really not very productive to simply criticize or condemn governors and other elected officials for reportedly selling (even attempting to sell) favors, ponzi scheme dirt bags for cheating the public and corporate titans for abusing “bailout” dollars by flying in expensive private jets asking for billions of hard-earned dollars from the masses or granting humongous bonuses to the very folks who helped to bankrupt enterprises. 
  • Maintain the high road.  A wise person told me, a long time ago, that there are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents.  More often that I am comfortable admitting, my wife, Jane, reminds me that there are only three kinds of conversations.  And, individuals exhibit a great deal of who they are by the topics they choose to discuss.  She reiterates:  “Those who have a lot to talk about, talk about ideas.  Those who have less to discuss, talk about things.  And, those who have nothing to talk about, talk about other people.”  It is always a worthy effort to build trust with those with whom we associate, and one way is to avoid polarization and strengthen communication.  Here’s how!

In the olden days, you know, more that twenty-five years ago, at least according to younger people - folks spent time reading and reflecting.  Thinking and planning were important and valued activities; with “doing” coming only after adequate preparation.  J C. Penney, retail giant is often remembered for is famous seven “P” words:  Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pathetically Poor Performance.

2009 can be a good year.  We will be fine, in “0 9”! Abraham Lincoln is remembered for having commented:  “After the age of 40, each individual is responsible for his or her face.”  The truth is, times are tough, but human beings are capable of triumph. 

Allow me to close this Broadcast with yet another link, this to Garrison Keillor's musical tribute to Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and his Flight 1549 crew; and how they dealt with the emergency landing in the Hudson River:



James F. Bracher  

Dimension Five Consultants, Inc. 
Bracher Center for Integrity in Leadership  
P.O. Box 22467

Carmel, California  93922  

And at: 
James F. (Jim) Bracher, Director
Executives in Residence
University Corporation at Monterey Bay
California State University Monterey Bay 
100 Campus Center,  
Building 201 - Suite 101
Seaside, California  93955
Phone: (831) 582-5015
Phone:  direct: (831) 582-5038
(831) 582-5019 Fax

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