Archive for April, 2013


For a good time call 1-800-233-BOOK!

bookloveI was at an event yesterday beaming with pride as I stood behind the table of life-changing books we published this year. As one individual browsed the table I chimed in with my tremendous elevator pitch about how Tremendous Life Books was the leading publisher of motivational, inspirational, and personal-development material. The browser took a sweeping and critical look across the perfectly-staged books and responded, “Oh, you don’t have any fun ones.”

Interesting; certainly not a response I was expecting. I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but “not fun” was never one of them. It’s true that we don’t have the bodice-ripping, gun-shooting, car-wrecking, blood-sucking, wand-waving, heavy-breathing fiction that litters the bestseller lists; but we’ve got books written by dogs for crying out loud! How fun is that? We’ve published a plethora of books on the importance of humor in communication. Oscar Wilde said, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.”

You see, I believe that reading is a lot like sex. If you’re not having fun, you’rebookloveheart not doing it right. Forget about the job and the marriage. You’re the only thing you truly have in the world so you’d better learn to have a good time finding ways to make yourself the best and most highly-motivated version of yourself can possibly be! Then, and only then, can you fully enjoy personal and professional relationships to the max.

Hey, I like fiction too. Science fiction is my preferred genre. But I can’t live on it. The fantasy leaves me feeling empty and wanting more when I wake up the next day. Personal development books, on the other hand, make me feel like we’re in a lifelong commitment together. They have meat on their bones and give me something strong to hold on to, not just a good time. They are my soul books and let me know I’m amazing. They say the mind is the sexiest thing on a man or a woman, so why not take some time to work on that and have some real fun!!


Don’t Keep the Faith—Share It!

Charlie Jones reading his Bible in the Holy Land.

Charlie Jones reading his Bible in the Holy Land.

When you are passionate about your faith and passionate about respecting others’ beliefs, it’s amazing the kind of connectivity that transpires. When my father passed, I heard from many whose lives he touched, people from different political, religious, and ideological backgrounds. “Tremendous” was passionate that we each choose what we are going to live our lives for and go all out doing it.

He claimed it was one of the only three decisions that you ever needed to make in life. Decide whom you are going to live your life for, make it yours, and die by it. He respected those who lived life with a tremendous passion and chastised those who didn’t. As the late, great Margaret Thatcher said, “Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.” My father personally witnessed this in his sales career, in his home life, and in his church. He believed it with all his heart.

“Tremendous” Jones spoke to many thousands of groups throughout his lifetime. Some were of a religious or faith-based affiliation, but the majority was not. That never deterred him from veering off point or changing the message to share his faith. I used to wonder why he would take on such a sensitive topic when facing thousands of business people from all walks of life and beliefs until I finally understood. He was just living out loud. He was revealing his most authentic self and just being.

His faith is what drove every second of his life and to not share that would be dishonest with others. His life was a showcase of the grace of God, the forgiveness of Christ, the wisdom of books, and the help of others in a man’s life. And he just couldn’t keep it inside. To do so would be to let others think that his strength to live tremendously came from his own mental and physical strength, and nothing was further from the truth. He never told you what to believe; only that you must answer this question for yourself and live life like you mean it!


obscene leadership

bossprofanityThere are some words so vile that you can only refer to them by their first letter; so inflammatory and degrading, you do not want to even go there. So why do those in positions of leadership insist on incorporating and even promoting these into their organizations?

The “N” word: Nepotism

Nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives regardless of merit. I once worked for a family-founded tech company: the father was the CEO, the mother was the VP, and the children were the directors. While this is the owner’s prerogative, it made it difficult for anyone without a certain last name to see any future. I also witnessed nepotism first-hand when I was assigned to an Air National Guard unit, as well as while working as a government contractor. I was told there were four or five main families that worked for generations there so be careful what you did and said. They weren’t kidding. Reminds me of an old joke:

“Rob,” the boss said, “you’ve been with the company for a year. You started off in the post room, one week later you were promoted to a sales position, and one month after that you were promoted to district manager of the sales department. Just four short months later, you were promoted to vice-chairman. Now it’s time for me to retire, and I want you to take over the company. What do you say to that?”

“Thanks,” said the employee.

“Thanks?” the boss replied. “Is that all you can say?”

“I suppose not,” the employee said. “Thanks, Dad.”

When I returned to carry on my father’s legacy business, I waited for three months after his homegoing before taking the helm. I spent 28 years in completely unrelated and unconnected fields so I could develop my strengths and earn my own stripes. When I returned, people actually told me they had no idea that my father and I were related. Mission accomplished. Don’t build your town on nepotism, it’s an unstable foundation.

The “F” word: Fraternization

I know this word well from my time in the military. You associated socially only with those close to your rank. To do otherwise could result in disciplinary action. While team building is great, you’ve got to know where to draw the line. Fraternization leads to another disgusting “F” word: favoritism. And this is the kiss of death in any organization because it undermines the leader’s perceived or demonstrated ability to be fair or impartial. As my father used to say, “whatever can be misunderstood will be misunderstood.”

I was recently at a book discussion with a Philadelphia credit union where one of the employees shared that they had one-on-one time with the CEO where no question was off limits. The CEO said that you cannot be your employees’ friend and that the job of leadership is a lonely one because you have to closely guard your boundaries at all times. George MacDonald said it best: “To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.” In his classic speech, The Price of Leadership, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones shares that the first price a leader must pay is loneliness.

The “C” word: Cronyism

Cronyism is the act of showing partiality to one’s close friends, typically by appointing them to a position in a company or organization despite them not necessarily being the best people for the position. This is best summarized by the old adage, “it’s not what you know but who you know”. While networking is a critical skill in business, it’s important to remain completely impartial to your friends when selecting individuals for a position.

Not doing so can get you in all sorts of legal and HR trouble and can manifest itself by creating a dysfunctional and inbred organization of groupthink stink. Abraham Lincoln said, “If friendship is your weakest point then you are the strongest person in the world”. Let’s face it, the fewer friends you have when making leadership decisions the more self-sufficient you are because you can maintain your objectivity. President Lincoln showed us that if you want to lead, you’ve got to master your enemies, not surround yourself with friends.

Leaders have to be hyper-vigilant for any signs or perceptions of these obscene trends. They cannot condone them in their organizations, and they cannot engage in anything even remotely related to these vulgar activities.


Does This Excuse Make My But Look Big?

motivationalexcusesstopsignSpring is a time for rebirth and regeneration. Whether it’s cutting back the dead limbs in your garden or cleaning out your closets, it’s all about out eliminating the non-productive to make way for the fruitful and useful.

It is just as important to weed your mind as it is your physical surroundings, and now is a great time to prune the word “but” from your vocabulary.  Excuses are the mental weeds that strangle any chance at new growth regardless of how many new seeds you plant.

Excuses thrive in two kinds of soil. The first are things we will not do despite the direct negative impact of inaction, such as developing a healthier lifestyle. These “buts” are insidious because you just don’t care enough about yourself to take action. The second grows from things we will not stop. This could be allowing negative people to stay in our lives and allowing ourselves to be compromised.  This but is fertilized by the guilt-and-fear excuse and thrives in an enabling personality.

I like big buts, I cannot lie; but not anymore. I am a recovered excusaholic, and like any recovered addict, when people come to me and state the same issue or problem over and over I want to scold them like a child only because I know the years of waste and stress it cost me.

Excuses are like interest payments. They take away from your principal and you get absolutely nothing in return, not even a write-off.  Oftentimes the only way to get off your but is when the results are so positive or so painful that you must take action. If you keep repeating the same excuses rather than taking action you aren’t at this point yet. It’s that simple.

I recently read a statement about the endless circle of repeating excuses as “all retch and no vomit.” How grossly appropriate! When we allow ourselves to be subjected to thankless, negative, or even unethical individuals we become poisoned by them.  It’s not their fault, it’s ours. When we lack the discipline of self esteem to break a negative habit and cling to our big buts we are poisoning ourselves. Excuses are rationalizations and when we rationalize all we are doing is reinforcing our rational lies.

Better to be silent than to regurgitate the same old retch over and over again. Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This includes making excuses. For things to change first you must change. And a big but doesn’t look good on anybody.

Tremendous Tracey

CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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April 2013

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