The Books You Read and the People You Meet

Years ago I attended a week long seminar by one of my heroes – Jim Rohn.  I have long been a fan of Charles “Tremendous” Jones, Og Mandino, Norman Vincent Peale and others.  While there were many gifts from the week, two that have served me well for nearly two decades are “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job” and “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

The week was an opportunity for me to look at what was working and not working in my life and these two sentences became marching orders into a new way of being. I began to surround myself with people who challenged me to be better, people who came from diverse backgrounds and experiences, people who were living the kind of quality life I wanted and in a word, people who were “kind.”

What happened in a short time was a career change as I took over and eventually purchased a company in an industry I knew nothing about – Industrial containers. What served me best was the flow of ideas that came with quality friends and spending quality time with myself.  I tried not to get too caught up with what my competitors were doing, but instead, kept abreast of what was going on in my industry by being active in the Reusable Industrial Packaging Association and listening to customers. The real magic happened when, armed with this information, I got out of my own way and let my creative juices flow from my extensive resources in a world other than the packaging world.

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Seat of Your Pants

“You have the mind but you have not the body, and without the help of the body, the mind cannot go as far as it should. You must make your body.” Teddy Roosevelt’s dad to Teddy

I love this quote – Very simply dad is calling it like he sees it, no sugar coating. Truth is, when it comes to preparedness, honest training for readiness is what will get you through the difficult times.

This video hits the bulls eye making my point better than I ever could: http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/83281

So take the needed time before the emergency. Read a book. Watch a video. Scan some articles on the www.marksbarrelcompany.com website and other preparedness sites.  You and your family will be glad you did. Preparedness – It matters.

Your friends at MBC.

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“It all comes down to having passion for something through thick and thin. And believe me, there is a lot of thick, but what you learn is that the bad times – those are the adventure.”  David O. Russell

“WHAT the heck am I doing?” was the thought that crowded out all other thoughts as I trudged up Heartbreak Hill at mile 21 in this year’s Boston Marathon.  I was squarely in the thick and pushing through the pain.

LOVE running? Love restless night’s sleep only to wake up six hours before my race in order to inflict pain on myself.  All that aside, there are several benefits I get as the result of working out that impact my life, especially at work.  Here are just a few:

GRIND – The monotony of hours of training prepares me for what? Endless loop builds character. Difficulty makes me stronger.

QUITTING – Not an option. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.  Finish what I start. Push forward regardless. While it might not be “fun” I do not need to suffer. Pain or feeling bad does not mean its all bad.

BE in the MOMENT – It’s not about avoiding the tough times but embracing them.

HILLS “happen” – some are tough to climb and some you fly down on.

HAPPINESS “is” – Secret is to enjoy the ride/journey regardless of how difficult it may seem.  There is no finish line in life.

GRATITUDE is an action word – be grateful and be present for all the feelings and experiences you are fortunate to have in/during the process.

Thank you BOSTON for teaching me about life.  While I missed hitting my goals this time around, the gifts of fitness, emotional and mental strength serve me quite well. Sometimes life, work, relationships, etc. are just like that.

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A Look Back: What I Learned in Boston

As we look back on 2013 one story stands out against all the rest – The bombings in Boston. Every 2013 sports story, or coverage of events in the United States, or the world for that matter, talk about that fateful day in April last year when two brothers placed a couple of backpacks with home made explosives at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Thanks to the BOSTON POLICE RUNNER’s CLUB (BPRC) I got to be there to race in one of the greatest spectacles in sport. For 20 years the BPRC has fielded a team for the marathon as a way to raise monies for a variety of community outreach programs, including Path4Teens. I was grateful for the opportunity and trained hard with the hopes of running the race of my life. Thank each and every one of you who gave ot the cause. Your contribution was fully tax deductible [501(c)3-75-3240064]

The marathon is a 118 year tradition, the oldest annual running event and by far the longest running marathon in the world. The city comes out in droves and each of the seven towns we run in from Hopkington to Boston are in full on celebration mode for Patriot’s day. For Boston 2013 I had one goal – to be under 3:40 (three hours and forty minutes) – for my age, 54, that is what I needed to qualify for the marathon in 2014. I felt strong all 26.2 miles, coming in at 3:38, a personal best by 27 minutes! I was thrilled. Then, less than thirty minutes later, it was total chaos.

LIFE lessons are found in all we do and everything is a mirror. After running my share of marathons I began to see some life and business lessons in the experience. Boston 2013 was no different, especially with the impact of the bombings. THREE come to mind.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day” – It takes what it takes to prepare and finish a marathon. A lot can happen over the course of a 26 mile race, and unless you have put in the “foot work” it is easy to get knocked off course and end up falling short of your goal. I put the hard miles in over the course of four months of training and reaped the benefits.

“Your life is none of your business” –  I often run for a cause, such as CHARITYWATER.org or serving the less fortunate in a community (Mazatlan, Mexico and Houston, TX). There are 7 billion of us on planet earth and unless you have learned to fit yourself to be of maximum service to something bigger than yourself, you are missing out. All of us have a part to play in our businesses. We are all connected and who we serve is bigger than our job or our company. This helps tremendously in during the rough times, and there will be rough times.

“Preparedness is not just a word, it is a way of life” –  We never know what each day will bring. The Boston Police department (all municipal services) handled the emergency situation professionally. In fact the police chief actually ran the marathon (the 54 year old ran a 3:34!) and was on the job within the hour of finishing, orchestrating the various municipal services better than Arthur Fiedler could have ever hoped conducting the Boston Pops. MBC has a litany of articles designed to help others get prepared for an unscheduled emergency, be it weather or terror related. “Saving for a rainy day” is not just a cute saying.  It is common sense.

Thanks to all my coaches, mentors, and to the marathon itself for teaching me about life and business. It has made me a better husband/father/person/manager/owner.

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As every business owner knows safety MATTERS. Forget the “no brainer” financial benefits and take into consideration that a business and its employees are a family. Managers and superintendents can talk endlessly about the impact on productivity when they lose a valued employee to an accident. Yet, there is a belief by some that safety meetings are expensive and a waste of time. Safety is “expected” and categorized as simple common sense. Those in the trenches know this could not be farther from the truth. The following are four simple to do, inexpensive, safe habits for everyone which will decrease the odds of getting hurt in an accident.


  1. STRETCH YOUR BACK EVERYDAY – Stretching your back is the best method for preventing injury. Doing sit ups and crunches help to strengthen your stomach muscles and will do a lot in keeping your back muscles strong.
  2. PAUSE WHEN AGITATED – The time to take a break is when you start to get aggravated. This applies to any job. While there is no evidence of such a thing as an “accident prone” person, there is plenty of evidence that aggravation and aggressive emotions cause accidents. When you start to get upset, take a walk and chill a bit.
  3. WORK NEAT – One indication of a successful safety program is how neat everything is. This habit is not just about housekeeping. Putting tools and ladders away, rolling up hoses, sweeping one’s area really does increase productivity and prevent accidents such as trip hazards.
  4. PROMPT – Being early is simply a practice of giving yourself more time than you think you need for work and travel. This will not only reduce stress, but you’ll tend to slow down to a safer and more enjoyable pace. Speeding and rushing are closely related to pain and anguish.

Follow these simple habits and you might just be amazed at the positive impact around the plant and office.

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