Just One Mistake

So all it takes is one mistake. 


And your whole life can be completely altered. 


The consequences for a slip up in a split second in time. 


I’m talking to someone today and he tells me his story and it goes like this:


He came here from overseas in early 2000 after winning the lottery for a green card.  


split second and his life is changed miraculously for the better. 


He moves here and finds work as an electrician. 


He saves money, gets married, and is living a decent life. 


All is well and then…


One day, another split second and he is on the scaffolding doing his work as an electrician and suddenly it collapses, and he falls severely breaking his leg and knee.  


He is taken to the hospital where the doctor tells him his injuries are too severe and he is transported to another major metropolitan hospital. 


After three surgeries, his leg is put back together with metal plates, rods, and bolts. 


He is unable to work, loses his job, and eats through his savings living off it while his leg slowly heals. 


Next, the hospital comes after him for $60,000 in medical bills. 


He says he has no choice but to leave the country to escape the debt, which he cannot pay. 


After 7 years and with the debt forgotten, he is able to return to this country.


His wife who he married here claims he abandoned her and divorces him.


He has lost everything he had in this country.


He shows me that his leg has huge scars up and down the sides and he bangs on his leg multiple times to show me the metal plates holding it together. 


He also demonstrates to me also that even after all these years, he still can’t run and as he tries in slow motion, his knee collapses and he visibly starts to lose his balance. 


I asked if he still has pain these 10 years later, and he says, “Yes!” 


Then he comes closer, turns to me, and with a very serious look, he shakes his head.


He says, “It only takes one mistake…just one mistake.”  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Have a Heart: Leadership With Heart

So many of you already know my leadership mantra. 


It’s all about:

Leadership With Heart


That means understanding that workers are human beings. 


Yes, they should act as professionals.


But also, they are people with imperfections and problems.


Whether they are fighting addiction, debt, illness, mental health issues, family problems, abuse, or personal loss. 


Life happens.


And it’s not always pleasant. 


Unfortunately, it seems like we are tested all the time. 


Therefore, good leaders, real leaders…lead with heart. 


They focus on the mission, but also empower, develop, and have empathy for the people. 


Think of the people you know in leadership positions today. 


Are they leaders with heart or heartless sons of guns. 


Who do you want to follow into the future?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Getting Off The Debtor Highway


I.O.U.S.A. (2008) is the best explanation of our nation’s financial problems and the deep severity of these that I have ever seen.

This video is a 1/2 hour condensed version of the full almost 1 1 /2 hour award-winning documentary.

David Walker, the former Comptroller General of the U.S. (1998-2008) is the star of this movie.

The documentary, with Walker’s steadfast warnings, describes the 4 ominous deficits that are driving this country to Financial Armageddon:

1) Budget Deficit

2) Savings Deficit

3) Trade Deficit

4) Leadership Deficit

What is incredible is how rather than listening to Walker’s exhortation, when the National Deficit was $8.7 trillion in 2007, just 5 years later now, there is a deficit going on nearly double that of $15.7 trillion.

We are facing a financial ticking time bomb that could result in huge inflation, economic stagnation, and the undoing of our economic and national security.

Moreover, towards the end of this year, we are facing the economic one-two punch of rising taxes and reduced national spending that could easily send our economy spiraling into recession or even depression.

Add to that rising interest rates, a financial crisis in the  European Union, a continued housing crisis and high unemployment at home, and a true economic reckoning is at hand.

Watch I.O.U.S.A. and become proponents for financial discipline for ourselves and for the country.

Visiting The Sins of The Fathers

Everyone was waiting for the big news this week out of the EU on how they were going to bail out their troubled economies–way too many: Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland…and more.

Their debt is through the roof–Greece is at 164% of it GDP and Italy is saddled with 1.9 trillion euros with more than 200 billion of it coming due next year.

Unemployment is soaring…with Greek unemployment of 16.7%, topped by Spain’s at 21.5%.

Economies are grinding to a halt: “Euro-zone economic data point to gloomy year-end…0.2% latest quarterly growth” (Wall Street Journal, 29-30 October 2011)

So news this week of a yet bigger (much bigger 4x or 5x) bailout fund of $1.4 trillion to backstop the losses,while sending the stock market soaring, left the pundits a little more than skeptical.

Why? Because where did the losses go…did they just disappear or is this a thoroughly massive shell game where the losses are spinning faster and faster under the shells of economic protectionism until they disappear altogether under the slight of hand of ministry of finance magicians?

I thought to myself this week–am I missing something? I wrote a friend–this guy is a genius–top of the class type, CPA, MBA and asked what he thought of the bailout? He too was baffled and said somebody just took a “50% haircut” referring to massive number of Greek bondholders who just took a huge loss–how is that a good thing?

And I thought what about the rest of the losses yet to be realized in the $1.4 trillion European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF)…by naming it “stability,” does it actually make people feel more secure, better?

Then came the reports later this week–“Doubts rise about EU deal”–that the financial rescue plan is short on details, and as we all know “the devil is in the details.”

Moreover, it’s just a plan–that’s the easy part–words are cheap! The real test lies in whether the financial rescuers can actually execute this time or will we be back at the drawing board in 6 months time again?

Then I thought of the saying from the Torah (Bible)–Exodus 34:7 that G-d “visits the sins of the fathers on the children.” Not in a malevolent way, but in an almost natural way–our actions have consequences.

While not limited to any individual, country, or continent, when we live beyond our means–when greed and gluttony surpass our ability to control our appetites for more, then a bubble builds and down the road, it eventually bursts–whether real estate, the dot com boom, stocks, commodities, or even tulips in the 17th century!

As we all know deep down, no shell game can go on forever–the hands tire, the players become more astute, and most importantly, the excesses of the past must be paid up–so that the next generation can eventually go on to a more stable and brighter future.

Both sides of the spectrum, the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street protesters know the same economic reckoning is coming–and even though not everyone can articulate the rising doubt and fear, we go toward resolution, hand-in-hand together.

(Source Picture: here and here)