Life is full of second chances. Accept one, extend one.

Life is full of second chances. Accept one, extend one.

Life is full of second chances, or at least it should be. Recently, a little furry guy showed up at our house. He had been at the local dog shelter for a while, and his future did not look good. He was old, a little cranky and a bit demanding. My son’s fiancee adopted him, and more than likely saved his life.

Rachel already had five dogs when “Walter” went to live with her. Walter fit right in. Her Walter 1dogs get along very well, but like I said, Walter is a little cranky. Rachel has a mix of small and large dogs. Walter, one of the small dogs, has had a couple kerfuffles with a few of the big dogs. His stay didn’t look good.

Finally, it came down to a change. One of the large dogs was going to be given away, or Walter would have to go. We know all of the dogs, so giving one of the dogs away wasn’t an option. That meant that Walter would move to the Cooper house. He’s some kind of mix between a Jack Russell and Chihuahua. He’s short, round and opinionated, and he has adopted me. My wife says it’s because we’re both cranky old men and we understand each other.

Regardless, he has a second chance, again. There are a lot of events that take place over a lifetime that remind us of our humanness. Some of those events can be debilitating if we let them be. Maybe someone does something to us that hurts us deeply. Other times, we do something that causes injury to someone else, maybe it’s someone we love. Not all relationships can be reset, and some probably shouldn’t be, but when we can extend grace to an offending party, or when we can accept forgiveness and a fresh start from an offended party, we should.

The challenge after that is to start the calendar at that point and not become historical. You can torment yourself into paralysis. If you made a mistake, are you not equally worthy of forgiveness as the person who offends you? If you were offended, it is always to your benefit to extend forgiveness and a fresh start to an offender, when possible. Often, the offending party doesn’t even know he/she has offended you. You end up being the only one perpetually carrying the offense. That is hard on your psyche and your overall health. Like Walter, you’re worthy of a second chance, and so are many offenders. It can be tough to extend forgiveness and a fresh start to an offender, but it can also be liberating.

Turn Setbacks into Springboards

Turn Setbacks Into Springboards

The one thing I love about New Years is that it is a time to start over.  OK, you failed at your diet in 2011.  Instead of weight-loss it was weight-found, no problem.  Start over.  You didn’t make the top ten agents in the US, your State, your office or your solo brokerage, no problem.  You get another chance.  You didn’t make the top 30 under 30 list, no problem.  There’s always the top 40 under forty list.  Begin again.

We all need points in our lives where we get another chance.  You can let life’s failings derail and wreck your life, or you can pick yourself up and dust yourself off and start over.  When the economy crashed in September of 2008 my stock portfolio literally disappeared.  I had traded over 600 trades that year and was on my way to an early retirement.  My first impression on seeing the news was, “Wow, that really sucks!”  That was pretty much it.

It drives my wife crazy because I don’t go crazy when things like that happen.  It wouldn’t make a bit of difference if I did, but what I will do when I have more time in the office is re-establish all of my former brokerage accounts, and I will start again.  I know now, that you cannot be a trader like I was and be away from the markets for days on end.  If you do, you could end up with a negative balance in your account, and you can owe more than you invested in the stock market.  Lesson learned.

That’s just one example, but we’ve all had setbacks.  We’ve all been hit so hard that we didn’t think we could recover.  Maybe it was a divorce.  Maybe it was a business partner who ran off with all of the money.  Maybe it was the loss of a loved one, the end of a friendship or the alienation of a relationship.  It happens to all of us, but what we do with the pain will determine if the past controls the future. 

There are things you can do when you have setbacks that can help you not only get back on track, but they can put you on a better track.

  • What did you do wrong, if anything, in the failure?  In my day-trading days I know that I have to stay engaged all the time. You can’t leave a half a million dollars on a park bench and assume it will be there when you get back.  It most likely will not.  Lesson learned.
  • What could you have done differently?  In a friendship relationship, it might be best not to spend too much time with a friend.  There is balance between what is healthy and what is unhealthy.  You can feel it down deep inside when it starts to turn unhealthy.  Listen to that inner voice.
  • Don’t set unrealistic goals and expectations.  Saying you’re going to lose 50 lbs is a great goal if you need to, but it might be a bit overwhelming if you have a couple setbacks early.  Set smaller achievable goals.  When you meet them, they will inspire you to go just a little bit further.  Each success fuels the next success.
  • Talk less and listen more.  I was in a salvage yard years ago listening to a man blowing off about something.  Everyone was starring at him.  The poor guy behind the counter was making a host of apologies for whatever had offended the guy, but nothing would appease him.  Finally, the counterman asked me, “Mr. Cooper, what do you think?”  I simply said what was on my mind, “A fool is known by the multitude of his words.”  The place went silent, and the bloviator left.  Problem solved for those of us listening. The company wasn’t ever going to pacify him.  So, offending him was not a problem.  Listen more, talk less.
  • Approach some issues more slowly.  I’m a very fast moving person.  I make decisions very rapidly.  It’s unnerving for some around me, but most issues have the answer peeking out of the issue.  If you’re paying attention, you will see it.  Some do not.  In those cases, you need to proceed slowly.  If you’re unsure about something, take your time.

Everyone faces setbacks at some point.  How you deal with them will determine if they have a hidden value or a heart full of pain.  Sometimes, they may have both, but in it all you can still grow and become a much wiser better person.

The Cummins Home Generator System is a Smart Choice for Your Back Up

The Cummins Home Generator System is a Smart Choice for Your Back Up

Back-up generators are a great asset to any home.  Our electrical contacting company has installed a variety of systems and many different brands over the past two decades.  This week, we installed a brand we’ve never worked with before, and it has become one of my favorites.

If you’re thinking about a home generator system, make sure to consider a Cummins Onan system in your search.  The system differs from Generac or Briggs and Stratton systems in that the transfer switch is between the main panel and the meter base.  The transfer switch is the brain of your home generator system.  Most system transfer switches are inserted after the main panel.  In those systems, you have to pick and choose which circuits will be in your transfer switch.

In the Cummins system, the transfer switch becomes your primary circuit panel and it feeds your current electrical panel.  At the time of a power loss, you can pick and choose which circuits are important to you at the time.  You may want to vary that group of circuits throughout the power outage.  If you’re down for days, rather than hours, you will be able to turn different parts of your house on and off as they are needed.

Most systems are designed to keep the heat, some lights, some cooking equipment, refrigerators, freezers, wells, septic alarms and some minor luxury items like TV and Internet circuits.  With the Cummins system, you don’t have to choose some at the expense others.  You have your entire panel available to you until you sense a drag on the generator.  At that time, you can turn off circuits that are drawing current but aren’t necessary during a down time.  The Cummins system also allows you to control it remotely over the Internet.  It is the most sophisticated system we’ve installed to date.

If you decide to install a home generator system in your home, do your homework and see who has the system that will best meet your needs during an extended power outage.  Generac, Briggs and Stratton and Cummins all offer good solid systems for most budgets.  The presence of a home generator system will give you peace of mind no matter what the weather.

The 10 Hour Cycling Event is Almost Here. Come Join Us!

The 10 Hour Cycling Event is Almost Here. Come Join Us!

The troops are lined up and ready for duty.  The room is quiet, but it’s about to get really loud.  Before you know it, dozens of people will be filtering in and out and progress will be made.  The 10 hour Cycling Challenge is less than two weeks away, and we’re ready for you.

The Valley Health Wellness and Fitness Center is sponsoring it’s second marathon cycling event March 9Th from 7:30 am – 5:30 pm.  The beneficiary will be the Angel Trust Fund at the Winchester Medical Center.  The fund benefits qualified patients who are currently receiving treatment at the oncology department of Winchester Medical Center.

That help can come in a myriad of ways, but it’s always deserving and always needed.  Join us for a day of indoor cycling, great camaraderie, exercise and reach out a helping hand to those in our community who are in the battle of their life.  You can join a team, ride solo for an hour or more or you can drop by and donate and cheer the riders on.

One special feature this year is guest musician, Ted Garber.  Ted is an international performing artists who has graciously accepted our offer to join in the fun.  He will be there to encourage and inspire the riders throughout part of the event, and you won’t want to miss him.  All of the details are at: Come Join Me March 9Th to Help Some Cancer Patients Win Their Battle.

We’ll see you there!