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When You’re Driven, Its Normal For People Not To Like You – Business Insider

When You’re Driven, Its Normal For People Not To Like You – Business Insider.  Interesting.  You are No Ordinary Joe.

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The Future Is Ours!

The Future Is Ours!

Click the link above to see o2ideas’ Shelley Stewart inspire 500+ school board members from across Alabama. He says building relationships across cultural lines is a key to great leadership.

Stewart founded the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation in 2007 to help reduce the nation’s dropout rate. The Foundation is active in 48 U.S. states and has reached more than 15 million children, parents and educators with the stay-in-school message. He is a frequent keynote speaker at school rallies and education conventions from coast to coast, addressing more than 15,000 people in 2012 and 50,000 since 2008.

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Mike Tomberlin: An American Soldier

Michael Tomberlin usually serves his community by being a trusted journalist with the Birmingham News. But Mike and his fellow soldiers in the Alabama 167th National Guard unit are about to take the trust of their country with them to Afghanistan.

Mike was kind enough to do a quick video interview with us in the hot Birmingham sun on Memorial Day. It was the on the rededication of the Rainbow Bridge, named in honor of the same Alabama 167th that won honors in the Battle of Croix Rouge in France during World War I. The current 167th took their Memorial Day to honor their predecessors and prepare to carry on the mission.  http://youtu.be/_nVeUPPSI68

Be sure and read Mike’s moving editorial on the subject: http://bit.ly/KtGG5U.

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Birmingham’s Glen Iris Elementary School principal comes down off roof after raising $22,000 | al.com

Principal Mike Wilson is just an amazing guy.  He is a visionary and action-oriented educator who selflessly throws himself into anything that helps the children at Glen Iris Elementary.  Check out his most recent exploit here:

Birmingham’s Glen Iris Elementary School principal comes down off roof after raising $22,000 | al.com.

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Shelley Stewart: From Segregation to Connections – Business Alabama

Shelley Stewart: From Segregation to Connections – Business Alabama – April 2012 – Alabama.  Great article by Business Alabama on truly one of America’s greatest success stories.

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PR man Bill Todd writes book on Old Testament’s Joseph | al.com

PR man Bill Todd writes book on Old Testament’s Joseph | al.com.

Very thankful for this article in today’s Birmingham News.

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Costa Concordia – before the tragedy

Took a picture of a passing cruise ship from our own vessel last June 27.  Paid no mind to the name on the side.

Costa Concordia 6-27-11

Just realized last night it was the Costa Concordia.

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The Battle of Pilgrim’s Rest

Pilgrim's Rest subdivision approximately 36 hours after the tornadoes.

Imagine walking out your front door and seeing a lovely neighborhood reduced to rubble.

I speak in shame because we’re one of the fortunate families who still has a front door.  Looking out of it, there is a numbing disbelief at what we see.

We’re still only days into the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes that swept suburban Birmingham, Alabama before the shell-shocked dawn of January 23.

I’ve never been in a war.  But this must be what bombs and battles leave behind.  Surely, a savage twister tore this area as good as most any man-made missile could do.

Pilgrim's Rest subdivision (background, the 2nd row of houses) before the January 23 tornadoes.

Only days ago, these homes — not just houses — were safe havens for families from the cruel world outside.  Jogging past them in summer and winter, heat and cold, one could mark the seasons of our neighbors’ lives.  A new baby.  A new car.  A kid home from college.  The first mowed grass of spring. The paint palette of autumn on every tree in every lawn.

It has changed things forever.

We still don’t know where many of these families physically are right now.  Sure, they’re in hotels, apartments, hopefully with supportive extended family.  But, we believe some are still in hospital.  Six people left here in ambulances, three in critical condition.

The stories.  Oh, the stories we’ve both heard and the ones that dance like specters in our minds.

There’s one story about a neighbor who I’ll call Mr. Winthrop.  That’s not his real name.  Mr. Winthrop has a special needs granddaughter for whom he is principal caregiver.  A neighbor says Mr. Winthrop, in the screaming seconds before the tornado hit, shielded his granddaughter in her upright wheelchair with his body wrapped around it and her.

Mr. Winthrop took on the tornado in utter darkness.  Last we heard, despite two collapsed lungs and multiple contusions, Mr. Winthrop survives and is at a local hospital.  His granddaughter I hear is doing well.  His house doesn’t exist anymore.

Swarms of precious-hearted volunteers have poured in to the area.   Even some University of Alabama football players came through on Saturday, helping an Auburn-oriented neighbor pry and haul heavy logs.  True love transcends the artificial walls we build between each other.

Love will help win this long, protracted struggle to return to life — the next Battle of Pilgrim’s Rest.

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No Ordinary Joe book available

Got troubles?

“No Ordinary Joe” is a book by Bill Todd on how to respond to negative life situations. The book draws parallels from the life of Joseph as told in the book of Genesis in the Bible’s Old Testament, to the life you and I live today.

People and situations came against Joseph to either kill him or throw him off track.  Yet, his responses to negative situations led him to greater and greater heights.  Thousands of years later, can you and I get the same great results?

Yes.

And just for fun, a Shakespearian quote or two adds another historical dimension to the life challenge addressed in each chapter.

“No Ordinary Joe” is available as a Kindle e-book on Amazon.com.

If you don’t have it already, here’s the free application you can download to read Kindle books like “No Ordinary Joe” on your computer.

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Five Things You Should Stop Doing in 2012. Or, Five Things You Should Do.

Five Things You Should Stop Doing in 2012 – Dorie Clark – Harvard Business Review.

Let me add to this article by offering Five Things You Should Start Doing in 2012.

To be successful in your personal and business life, I’d suggest these:

  1. Listen.  It’s probably the most valuable thing you can do, in both the short and long term.  It’s also absolutely free. When I’ve been quiet and focused on what another person is saying to me, and haven’t appeared to just be waiting for them to stop so I can now talk, it has always paid off.  It’s also one of the hardest things to do sometimes.  Here’s one technique:  decide ahead of time that in the next business or personal conversation you’re having with someone, you will purposefully hesitate before saying anything when they finish their sentence.  Don’t fake it, because people can sense odd, pregnant pauses when they aren’t genuine.   Instead, use your pause as breathing space to form a question back to the other party, that will relate back to what they just said.  It will indicate empathy, make a healthy deposit into your bank of good will, and most of all, you’ll learn something.  For extra benefit, use this with someone you wouldn’t normally find yourself talking to.
  2. Breathe.  Are you impulsive?  I am.  One lesson learned through some hard times has been to just breathe.  When you hear something going wrong or a situation going downhill, just breathe.  Everything’s going to be OK.  Taking a breath or two will help you put things in perspective and your reactions are more likely to be perceived better by others.
  3. Refuse to have negative conversations with yourself.  Self-doubt, self-hate, too much self indulgence — all of these distort our perspective and have a tendency to reproduce and manifest themselves.  Kind of like bacteria.  Find some way to keep the positive channel clicked on in your head. Remember, positive thoughts breed and have children just like the negative thoughts do.
  4. Appreciate the tiniest gifts you have, along with every second you can of our short time on earth.  The old Seals and Crofts song says “we may never pass this way again.”  We won’t.  Absorb your child’s gap-toothed smile just an extra second.  Be grateful to see another sunrise, sunset, and go actually touch the leaf of a tree.
  5. Simplify.  See how little you can get by with, in every phase of your life.  It’s amazing how rich and happy you will be.