Archive for November, 2011


a thanksgiving day prayer

My father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said this prayer every year at our Thanksgiving Day gathering: “Father, we thank You for our food, but Lord, if we had no food, we would want to thank You just the same. Because we aren’t thankful just for what You give us, we are thankful most of all for the privilege of learning to be thankful.”

It’s easy to love your friends, difficult to love your enemies. It’s easy to be thankful when things are going well, tough to be thankful when things are not. If love is the greatest force in the universe, then I’d have to say thankfulness has to be a very close second. Both of these ideals stand alone, and in their purest unconditional form free from person, possession or circumstance. They just are. Cicero said, “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.”

Gratitude, like failure, is one of the great spices of life, enriching the experience and adding flavor to the daily gruel we are served. The best things in life put you on an infinite loop. The more I give the more I receive. I can reflect love in a limitless capacity by simply giving it. I can create thankfulness just through the simple act of being thankful. So take a break this Thanksgiving Day and repeat the above prayer. Forget listing all the things and people you have in your life and just rejoice in the growing awareness that your heart has the privilege of thankfulness.


would you go the extra mile—literally?

I recently flew into the DFW airport and a close friend offered to pick me up and deliver me to my hotel. As we pulled out of the airport, she asked me to call my hotel so she could get specific directions. Although she had lived in Dallas her whole life, there was quite a bit of construction around the area and she needed to get me situated quickly and back to her meeting.

We received word from the hotel concierge on the other end of the line that we were only about five miles away. He then gave us numerous vectoring moves, repeatedly, since we couldn’t write them down. The concierge must have sensed our confusion and immediately made a radical proposal.

He told us to pull over, give him our location, and he would come to us. Oh, and he gave us his personal cell phone number just in case he couldn’t readily identify us. Now I was really confused. Did he understand that we already had a car and that if he just talked a little longer we could probably find our way?

Turns out he did understand the situation but felt it best to offer us the ultimate life raft. A city-savvy limo driver sent out into the sea of churning Dallas toll roads and tumultuous off-ramps, throwing us a literal line-of-sight buoy that we could follow and make it safely into harbor. So we pulled to the side of the toll plaza, cars spraying past us as we sat huddled in the SUV waiting for our tugboat captain to appear. And appear he did!

He was right. The hotel wasn’t far away and once we got behind him, it was really only

We made it! Thanks Roger!!

 one more exit up the highway. But rather than tell us to calm down and listen to the directions one more time, he felt it best to get in the limo, find us, and let us follow him in. Now that’s what I call going the extra mile….literally.


think you can be twice as good as your boss?

To honor our founder, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, we record an annual message on our website. We typically do this in the fall on the recurring anniversary of his home going. It’s a great time to summarize where we’ve been in the past year and where we are going in the next.

It’s kind of like a digital diary. I love looking back at the past two messages to see where we’ve been. The first year it was kind of a “Hey, dad’s gone but we’re still here!” message. The second was rolling out our new logo, website and publications. And this year’s is further evolved. It is now our friends, our authors, our publications, our logo, our new facility.

When my father passed I did the Elijah/Elisha routine and prayed for double the portion of his spirit. I wanted to bring to the forefront all of his great qualities, combine them with my existing gifts, and take this it to a whole new level. Each day I get the pleasure of picking up another piece of his mantle and tailoring it to my own fit.

People look at me and say I’m just like him. Yet they also recognize that I have my uniqueness. As someone who is fiercely independent, I never thought I’d be able to live my life carrying the torch of such a strong figure while allowing my own light to shine. Double the portion indeed.


the seven deadly sins of utensillary management: what’s in your drawer?

#1 The Spoon: A spoon has a small, shallow bowl at the end of it for serving. The spoon-fed manager is an adult bird that always got what he wanted so he never stopped wanting. Accustomed to getting worms dropped in their mouths, they sit behind their desks and expect everything to be brought to them. Because they fail to ever leave their perches, their stench of entitlement reeks to all those unfortunate enough to have to sit under them.

#2 The Fork: A fork has several narrow tines on the end. A forked tongue means you are saying one thing while deliberately meaning or doing another. This manager is a multi-lingual liar and promises things they have no intention of delivering. They are not to be trusted and will withhold or give misleading information to make themselves look good. Probably has a streak of narcissism because it’s all about them and not the organization or people.

#3 The Knife: A knife is used for cutting. A knife in the back is used to disparage or cause grievous, irreparable harm to a subordinate, co-worker or employer. The most lethal of all utensils, sometimes the victims never even see it coming. Maybe it’s a fellow employee using your good reputation to get what they want, or a boss who claims credit for your work. They most probably suffer from psychopathic tendencies as evidenced by their ability to rapidly strike, twist, and move on.

#4 The Butcher Block: The butcher block is used to lay out food in preparation for slicing and separating the gristle from the lean meat. If you’re ever been through a reorganization, reduction in force, or merger and acquisition, you’ve been served up on this. It takes an extremely keen eye to separate the waste from the meat and that ability is tied to the butcher’s experience, true motives, and bonus.

#5 The Toaster: The toaster is used to heat up and brown bread. If you work for one of these types you’re used to getting grilled in meetings and other situations where the heat is routinely turned up. Exposure to this type of management may cause actual scorching or burns. They like turning the temperature up to see who can stand the heat. One minute your people will be safe with their fellow slices earning their bread of life, and the next they’re under the broiler. Watch out, probably has sadistic tendencies.

#6 The Grater: The grater is used to grate foods into fine pieces. This manager zestfully takes pleasure in breaking down individuals’ contributions into tiny insignificant bits. In diminishing them, they feel it makes them look bigger. They get hung up in the details and lack the ability to form a cohesive plan of direction because they are too focused on shredding everything in their path into useless little crumbs.

#7 The Rolling Pin: The rolling pin is used to shape and flatten dough. This type of manager forces everyone on the team into one big, indiscernible ball and then works to flatten out any uniqueness. Individual talents and ideas are squeezed out until everyone is on one flat playing field. This is most often used by inexperienced or lazy managers who are uncomfortable dealing with specifics and multi-tasking. Unless you want cookie-cutter employees, steer clear of this.

Are your managers patting people on the head or looking to serve them up on a platter? Are they whipping employees into shape or beating them to a pulp? Better examine what’s in your kitchen drawer to make sure you’re not cooking up any utensillary management disasters!!

Tremendous Tracey

CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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November 2011

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