Back to Basics

greatest ShowmanHave you seen the movie, The Greatest Showman? There were many songs that touched me but the song “Never Enough” ( ) is not only a reminder of a burden attributable to a family of origin, but also of the joy and blessing of knowing that life is not meant to be stagnate and needs to be constantly evolving and filled with learning and growth.

Speaking of learning, I’m privileged (and excited!) to work with the staff of Augsburg University  on moderating a series in the months ahead with the  Staff and Student Leadership group for Augsburg’s Step Up program and another with the Augsburg Men’s Soccer team during their fall pre-season. Each of these projects focus on lessons learnedthe principles found in Lessons Learned from a Third Grade Dropout by Rick Rigsby. The author shares some of the wisdom his father, who only completed the third grade, gave him about living a life of character and integrity, being responsible, the importance of serving others, and what it takes to be socially and professionally successful in life. I am convinced that the moderator will learn as much if not more than the participants. What a big win and lesson to learn in going outside our comfort zone.

As I’ve been preparing to do this work I’ve been questioning myself and wondering if I’m up to the challenge. I have asked myself “What do I have to offer?”, “ Do I have the intellectual capacity to provide the value these groups deserve?”, “ Can I pull this off with humility, vulnerability, honesty, and compassion?”—all principles Rick Rigsby talks about? There’s a statement I came across in the book that has helped me with answering these personal self-assessment questions:

“ . . .find a wise mentor. The mentor must have endured some setbacks, failures, and disappointments – for wisdom rarely is acquired without a storm. Remain with this person as long as you can. Learn, grow and prosper!”

I’ve come to realize that the answer to my questions is, YES! I can do this. We can all do far more than our self-talk tells us. Trust and Confidence in ourselves is critical, however easy to say, yet at times very hard to instill. That said, in my case,  I have lived through storms, gained amazing humility, and overcome the shame and guilt of failure. Considering all of that, I now know that yes, I am “enough.”

This book and the preparation for the classes have allowed me to think more intentionally about going “back to the basics” of life, the core values that are worthy of intentionally developing in (my) life. Here are some of the life principles I believe are worthy of discussion, debate, application, and integration into life: (As you read these, reflect on how you feel, how you react and if these traits are appropriate for our living a wholehearted and meaningful life going forward).

  • Accountability and expectations
  • Are we looking and developing a plan as to who we want to be!?
  • Responding to criticism, (try with an open mind and reaction maybe?)
  • Kindness – how does it look, how does it feel, how is kindness developed and how does it impact those around us?
  • Discipline
  • Boundaries
  • Responsibility
  • Commitment
  • Words or actions?
  • Building community
  • Helping ourselves and others
  • Doing a job right – commitment to excellence!
  • Hearing vs the Power of Listening
  • Character! What you do when no one is looking
  • Dependability
  • Appropriateness
  • Honesty, with ourselves and others
  • Authenticity – be true to yourself and to others
  • The Power “TO STAND TALL!”
  • Never, I mean Never Give Up!
  • Be joyful and positive as happiness is fleeting and volatile




As I wind down my Ramblings for the summer months I find myself thinking about what the theme will  look like for this coming fall. As I go through notes on ideas and thoughts for future Ramblings, I am planning on my “Fall 2018 Series”  to center around some of the following themes. These are fun (at least I think so) and deeply thought provoking, each creating the potential for meaningful conversation with those in our lives:

  • Fascination with “Observations from Life” and my mentoring experiences
  • Are we “Out of Focus?”
  • Thank you for listening – I would rather have you actually absent than virtually absent
  • We need more than a living, we need a life, let’s talk about Living! Let’s talk about Kindness and its impact on life and those around us!
  • Are you a Tigger or Eyore?
  • Outsourcing life does not work!
  • Buying a car? Don’t drive it without looking under the hood!
  • You can’t be amazing without practice!
  • Avoiding confrontation is sharing in the guilt of a problem
  • Trust and the Thread of Life “the invisible thread”
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Hot fudge and the whipped cream of life

Have a great summer and I’ll look forward to connecting with you again in the fall!



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