Thoughts On Life and Loss

It’s been three weeks since I last posted on my blog. That’s not normal. I try to post faithfully every Monday. Our family, through our daughter, son-in-law and new grandson, Theo, have been on an emotional roller coaster ride.

Theo was born on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. He was born with a condition called “coarctation of the aorta. This is a narrowing, or constricting, of the aorta, which is the main artery carrying blood from the heart to the rest of the body. If not diagnosed the results can be very serious. Fortunately, in Theo’s case they were able to diagnose it before he was born so they could be ready for him at his birth.

Adult Fear at the Expense of Children

If you have paid any attention at all to the Larry Nassar sentencing hearing this past week you are sickened to say the least.

Nassar is the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor that was basically sentenced to life in prison for molesting over 140 young girls for more than the past two decades.

The parallels to the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State molestation case of 2011 are eerily similar. In each case, adults were told something was going on. Children told adults something was going on. Children weren’t believed to the point that no one even bothered to check.

The adults, in both cases, are highly intelligent, highly educated people. They didn’t bother to check. Not one adult had the courage to wonder if there might not be validity to the words of the children.

One could speculate they were afraid to lose their jobs. They were afraid to be wrong. They were afraid to turn on a friend. They were afraid to speak out against someone who might be a superior.

In the Nassar case, one report I watched stated they knew the situation was huge and they were afraid to tackle it because of what it might cost. So, they chose to do nothing.

Fear and courage both have a price.

For over twenty years young girls were molested by Dr. Nassar because no one had the courage to speak up. The price to living in this fear is being paid by dozens of victims and their families. Much like the Penn State case the complete toll won’t be known for quite some time. Certainly Michigan State will be sued and likely lose tens of millions of dollars. This pales in comparison to the cost to the young girls, many now women, and the price they will pay all their lives.

Had just one person had the courage to listen and pursue the stories could they have lost their jobs? Yes, they could have. Even if they had, I contend that price is a lot less expensive than the price of lying in bed at night, every night, wishing you had spoken up and protected these girls.

Often, courage requires us to stand alone. It can be a very scary place to be. However, if we live in fear we usually take someone down with us.

Opportunities to be courageous are in our lives every day. Opportunities to be fearful are in our lives every day.

Which will you choose? Courage or fear?

I encourage you to watch the victim impact statement of Rachel Denhollander. Denhollander was the first to come forward and file charges against Nassar. She is the face of courage. You can watch the 41 minute video here. Consider it a time investment. It will make you angry. It will sicken you. It will make you cry. It will challenge you to lead a more courageous life.

Matthew 18:10


Who’s Leading Whom?

“I’m afraid to have the conversation because I’m afraid of how he is going to react!”

Those are the words of Bob, a manager I was coaching a few years ago. This wasn’t a conversation about firing the employee, but it was a difficult conversation that had been put off for too long already.

As a former manager I must admit that I also struggled, at times, to have tough conversations with people that I managed. Apparently, neither I, nor the manager I was coaching is alone.

I Hereby Authorize You To…

As I drove down the road the words from the podcast hit me like a snowball to the face.

“Secretly, I wanted to be magician but I didn’t give myself permission to do it.”

Those are the words of Christopher Hart as he visited with Bob Stromberg on his podcast “The Wide Eyed Creative.” While you may not know Christopher Hart by his name or his face you likely have seen him. His hand portrayed Thing in the Addams Family movies. You can check out Bob’s episode #24 here.

The Courage to Wait

As I entered the store, I was enthusiastically greeted by three highly energized employees. They thanked me for being there and then went into the reason for their excitement hoping I would be as thrilled as they were.

This national store that sells everything from, groceries to guns to glucose supplements, had developed a new app that would make my shopping experience so much better. The first two features of this new app were that I would no longer have to wait in line to purchase something and I would no longer have to wait in line to return something.

Ask…You Just Never Know

Dr. Brene Brown is the author of four #1 New York Times Best sellers. She has a Youtube video that is in the top five in number of views with over 30 million people watching.

In a nutshell, Dr. Brown is a big deal. I have read three of her four bestsellers and I greatly admire her work. She has had a huge impact in helping me courageously move forward in my work on courage.

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The Fear of Old Man Marley

If you’re like me, you are likely to begin watching classic holiday movies this Thanksgiving weekend.


One of my all time favorites is Home Alone. I’ve seen it several times but always enjoy it. One particular scene stands out to me as I have become so passionate about the subject of courage in our everyday lives.

An Early Flight, a Mohawk, and a Lesson Learned

The alarm went off at 4:45 am. I got out of bed, took a quick shower and got my things together to catch my 5:45 flight home. Fortunately, my hotel was right by the airport so I would be there in plenty of time.


The night before I had gone online and saw that the flight wasn’t very full. I changed seats to be in the bulkhead because all six seats were open. Yes! I’d be able to put up the armrests, put my ipod on and sleep until I got to Chicago undisturbed.

It was about 5:20 as they began boarding the plane. I am always one of the last ones to board because planes are very uncomfortable and I wait as long as I can to get on. Then I heard them.