Thanksgiving Wish For You

November 20, 2015

Family and Friends. Turkey and football. Jingle Bells and Oh Holy Night. The scent of a Christmas tree. Smiles and laughter.

I hope I am the first to wish you a Happy Holiday Season! Starting with

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are some thoughts I’d like to share with you as we begin the season.

I am thankful for My Marilyn and our boys and their wives; My brother & sister and their families. We need to tell our families how much we love them.

I asked God to give a kiss to the loved ones we no longer see. I am grateful I have a spiritual life.

I am thankful for my friends. There aren’t enough words to express my love and devotion to the true friends in my life. I wish health for you in our journey through time.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work. I cannot imagine sitting down. There are just too many people yet to meet; too many things to do.

I am thankful for my clients and business associates. I see you more than my family.

I am thankful that I need a moment when they play TAPS for a soldier. Please say “thank you” to our older veterans too.

I am thankful I can vote.

I am grateful for the people who believe in me and for those who along the way gave me a chance with their confidence and trust.

I’m glad there are those of us who still believe we should say “Merry Christmas”.

I am grateful for those who stand up for what is right. Not just soldiers and first responders. Ordinary folks like us who will not allow an injustice to go unchecked.

Most of all, I am thankful for you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season.


Ed Gideon

My Old Friend, Now Gone

November 10, 2015

In the morning it will be Veterans Day and I will wish my fellow Veterans a good day. We will remember family and friends. My Dad and uncles fought World War II and Korea. Part of the Great Generation. Friends too many to count fought in Vietnam. And, of course, our current Iraq/Afgan Veterans.

It will also be a great honor to remember an old friend, now gone. Nelson Greene. We lost him last year. He was 90+ years old, WWII veteran, tail gunner on bombers over Germany. He told stories and jokes all day long. Loved to hunt. That’s where I first met him, on a hunting trip. He loved bird dogs. His Brittany Spaniel was of course named…Nellie. Both loved to hunt ruffed grouse, especially in his native West Virginia. He really enjoyed being with people.

I truly don’t think I ever heard him say a negative thing about another person. He might cuss the weather for messing up his bird hunt. He didn’t have material wealth, but man was he deep in people that loved him.

It would take considerable more space to list the lessons I learned from him from a few hunting trips. Too few.  Lessons in caring for others, humility, humanity and so much more. He was a gentle man and a gentleman. He was short in stature, but he looms large in my life and always will. Take good care Nelson Greene. The hunting grounds are a lesser place for your absence. My heart aches tonight. In your honor I will go out soon and walk a long time. And think of you and thank you and look around the corner for a bird dog on point, or a cover that looks ‘birdy’. Thanks Nelson.

It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.  A. Lincoln

(I wrote most of this a year ago (March 2014)when Nelson passed away and wanted to remember him again today.)

Skinny, Smart & Rich?

November 3, 2015

If information could change people, then everyone would be skinny, smart and rich. Books have been out there for multiple decades, but people don’t go to the information. If you want to move people you have to be strategic and experiential.Tell a story.

Aim for the mind, but go through the heart. People change minds and actions when you touch their heart vs. just give them information.

This was sent to me and I do not know the source or I would give them credit. More executives are steering away from ponderous powerpoint logic and lists of numerical performance data. The story attached to other information is getting their message across.

Trust, in a Fishing Story?

October 21, 2015


For this fishing team, $1-million prize is the one that got away


If a person gets caught fishing without a license, in most cases, it results in a fine of perhaps a few hundred dollars.

For those aboard Citation, however, the infraction represents a setback of nearly $1 million.

The vessel’s anglers had been participating in the 52nd annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, June 11-19 off North Carolina. Smith landed what was by far the biggest fish: an 883-pound marlin, a tournament record.

The team on Saturday was declared winner of the prestigious competition, and there was plenty of celebration.

However, there also was a post-event lie-detector test, after which it was revealed that one of the hired crew did not possess a valid fishing license, available in North Carolina for only $15, or $30 for non-residents.

That was a violation of tournament rules and after lengthy deliberation, according to Evans Kistler of the Carteret County News-Times, tournament officials late Tuesday disqualified the catch and and denied the Citation team the winning purse.

End of celebration.

“No record. No money. No fish. No nothing. Yep, it’s a nice ending to the story isn’t it?” Smith told the Jacksonville Daily News. “He failed to get a fishing license, but we didn’t know it. He told us he had it. He didn’t. So you take a man at his word, you know?”

That man is Jones. According to the state’s fisheries division, he went out and bought a license after the catch of the monster marlin, bringing more shame to his team. He’ll be fined $35 and ordered to pay court costs totaling $125.

The new winners are those who fished aboard the vessel Carnivore and caught the second-largest marlin, weighing 528.3 pounds. They net a grand total of $999,453.

Johnson, one of Citation’s owners, figured the tournament board would not rule in Citation’s favor.

“I think the Big Rock committee is doing what they have to do,” he said. “I understand that. I’m a retired colonel. I know about rules.”

A Little Help

October 20, 2015

I find that the more I know about Change, the more chances I have for Success.

And I find that the more Chances I take to have Success, the more I have to know about Change……..

Motivate Your Employees, Peers, Board, Investors, Audiences

October 1, 2015

This is adapted from a blog by Gary Genard, July 2013. The message to you as a leader is inescapable. When we address our team we are giving a speech, motivating people. Improve your message with a story that connects to the emotion you seek to move.

Most managers/leaders feel that when they address their employees their job is “to convey facts and figures.” That’s not it. More accurately their job is meeting the needs of the listeners and achieving a lasting influence. This applies if you are delivering a speech to a general audience or delivering a message to your employees.

Employees and audiences will remember their emotional response to you long after the information you deliver has faded from memory. The retention skills of audiences are notoriously shaky, and within a week, listeners will remember as little as 10% of the “critical” data you presented to them. Yet if you touched them emotionally, they may remember you for a lifetime. Consider these examples:

  • JFK’s inauguration speech
  • MLK’s “I have a dream speech”
  • FDR’s address to congress to declare war on Japan… “A day which will live in infamy”

Don’t just educate; move your audience. Don’t inform listeners; inspire them. To do so means creating an emotional connection. Even CFOs must put financial information into context for the C-suite, to help these executives process the information in terms of company goals and initiatives.

No leader succeeds merely by possessing the best information. True leaders use that information to motivate and activate employees and followers.

There is only one tool that allows you as speaker to accomplish this task: It is you—physically, emotionally, and in the ways you demonstrate leadership when you speak. In tough times or good times, you are the message. It’s a formula for succeeding as a speaker that goes far beyond “conveying facts and figures.”

Give your audiences the emotional connection and leadership they crave, and you’ll be delivering a powerful message indeed.214

He Was There to Show Us How

September 19, 2015

Stories of inspiration are all around us. We know people, incidents that carry a great message, or maybe we’ve lived it. I don’t think we’ll ever get an overload of assurances that we can and should take the next step, keep on going, never quit.

I’m going to leave most of the story to the video attached here. There is some background you should have first. This is about a football player at the University of Texas in 1969, Freddie Steinmark. He was ‘undersized’ and would absolutely hit you like a block of granite. He achieved something on Coach Royal’s team that only one other football player ever achieved. He started as a sophomore. Coach Royal didn’t believe in starting them with no experience. The other player?…One of the greatest  linebackers in college history, Tommy Nobis. Made a pretty good mark in the  pros as well.

Freddie played in every game, every defensive down in UT’s undefeated, National Championship 1969 season. The last game was vs. Arkansas in early December in one of the most heralded college football games in history. That’s not my UT bias, it’s from national sportswriters. His left leg was bruised. He was limping before the game. It hurt. After the game they sent Freddie for further examinations. Then it was recommended he go the M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston. Known for great medicine, especially treatment of cancer.

I’ll let his teammates pick it up from here. They speak for the entire Longhorn  Nation when they unveil their emotions about Freddie. Note the time line. Freddie played against Arkansas in early December, 1969, and the Cotton Bowl  game against Notre Dame was January 1, 1970. When you have watched the video… well I won’t have to tell you about the lessons. I had the great fortune to know Freddie, in a small way. I was not a teammate, so I can’t be in that club. He was quiet and soft spoken. Reserved and focused. Resolute in the values that governed his approach to life.  Inspiration? As we say in west Texas, Yep!

Here’s the link:


It’s What You Do Next That Counts: part 2

September 10, 2015


Several of you have asked what  the follow up is to this story. What did you do next? What happened? I will try to piece a few things together that I think will make sense and that you can use. Hopefully there is a worthy lesson here. Any story should have some value.

Honestly, I’ve never had to write it. I never wanted to re-live it. I didn’t think anyone really cared about it. Though I’ve never forgotten one grain of sand about that summer and the event, it’s been cozied away in a corner of my memory. I peek in less frequently now than I did in the ensuing 10 years of the event. But Rocky and his family are still there. The unbelievable noise and confusion of those 20 seconds still resound. The crushing pain I felt for Rocky and his family is a silent reminder.

After Rocky and his wife left to drive to Alpine to the hospital I returned to the rig, shut everything off and secured it. It was a shambles. I then drove to the nearest phone. Back then (1968)everything in that part of the world was miles and miles apart. From our quarters to the rig was 5 miles, the rig to a phone was another 3 miles. I first called the highway patrol, collect, to ask them to please find Rocky’s truck and escort it. I was crying like a baby. Then I called my boss in Austin, it was Saturday morning, called collect. I was crying even more. Then I called my parents in Midland, TX about 4 hours away, collect again. Still crying. I was a nineteen year old boy, not able to act very “grown up” for about 2 hours.

I pulled it together and 2 days later went to see Rocky. That’s when he gave me the advice: “But Rocky assured me it was no one’s fault. “Just one of those things.” Then he told me the greatest lesson I believe I’ve had from such an event. He said, “Ed, what’s happened is done. No one’s to blame. But… it’s what YOU do next that counts.”

What I do next, he said. It felt like a heavy load. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. But, I knew what he meant. I could quit and go home; gut it up and keep working; learn from the event; and more. There were several options. I knew I didn’t want to be on that rig any longer. So I returned to Austin and worked with the company in their well drilling and service business, on other rigs.  Since then the lessons from that summer and the actions to take have been numerous.

So, what lessons did I learn from that summer? I learned a lot about character from Rocky and his family. I saw a really tough and hard side of life in the people who inhabit the Big Bend. I enjoyed the stark beauty of the Big Bend country, still do. I learned there would be very few things life could throw my way that would compare to that summer. There would be very few things with which I had real difficulty dealing. In fact nothing has compared to that. It steeled something inside that allowed me to do some things that would have otherwise been very difficult.  I learned it’s ok to cry. Damn, I did a lot of that. I saw that you get up when you’ve been knocked down. I saw grace, strength and resilience in people and in a place that I thought maybe even the divine had forgotten.

Truly what I did next wasn’t very special. It’s been an accumulation of steps. And I am certain many of those steps were tempered by that summer. It was the old deal about one foot in front of the other. But, I now see the things that had surrounded me. I’m grateful for the people, the experience, for Rocky and his family, even for the geography. And I’m grateful I was spared that day. I was given an opportunity. A chance to see life and part of the world that doesn’t get a lot of exposure. Rocky, I hope what I did next has counted. Thank you.

It’s What You do Next that Counts

September 1, 2015

In college I worked for a drilling company to pay for school. We were in the Big Bend country of Texas. Whatever the word is after desolate, that’s the Big Bend. I worked with a driller who had brought his family with him to live in the desert southwest. We became close in a very short time. I had all of my meals with them, played with their 2 year old son, sat on the porch and drank beer with Rocky, my driller.

We worked 3 shifts on this site, Rocky and I had the 8am to 5pm shift. On this day we worked our shift, went back to our quarters (there was no motel, just an abandoned set of rooms we occupied…primitive) had dinner and went to bed. Rocky awakened me at 1 or 2 am. The graveyard shift couldn’t work. One of their crew had been seriously injured in a car wreck. So, off we went.

Working all night was different, but all the same things had to be done. Somewhere around first light we were pulling the drill stem (pipe) out of the hole. About 900+ feet of pipe at this point. We had only pulled a few  lengths of pipe when it happened. There was no warning. Nothing to anticipate. Just react. Something slipped. It did not hold the pipe in place as we disconnected lengths and reconnected the tools to lift the drill stem from the hole. I was in the tower, 20+ feet off the drill floor. Rocky was on the drill floor handling the 2” steel cable spool that lifted the pipe from the hole.

When “it” slipped all hell broke loose for about 20 seconds. The rig was bounced with a terrible jolt as Rocky pulled on the spool brake to stop the cable which was attached to almost 900 feet of pipe. That jolt bent some very strong iron platforms like it was cardboard. The steel cable snapped, flew into the air and grazed my face. Only a grease mark. Another ¼” and my eye was gone.

I looked down and that’s when I saw Rocky. Bent over, holding his right hand, in obvious agony and pain. Not a word, not a whimper. He was a big, tough German. He told me to cut his glove off. I did. What I saw next has never left my memory. Rocky worked with his hands and that was at an end. I got him back to our quarters, his wife packed his hand in ice, they drove 90 miles to the nearest hospital. There is a lot more to tell you about this event. The lessons I’ve taken from it are numerous and significant.

But here’s where THE lesson came from that terrible day. I stayed with the rig and our quarters. It was a very rough country of folks down there. About 2 days later I had everything secured and I went to see Rocky. Somehow I felt I had made a mistake. I knew he couldn’t. Somehow I blamed myself, and not all of that feeling has left me even today. But Rocky assured me it was no one’s fault. “Just one of those things.” Then he told me the greatest lesson I believe I’ve had from such an event. He said, “Ed, what’s happened is done. No one’s to blame. But… it’s what YOU do next that counts.”

So, we unpack the debris, both literal and figuratively. And we do it for all events good or bad. Because what we do next will count for a long, long time. Whether it’s a change in our company, setting goals, changing ourselves, whatever. It’s what you do next that counts.

Bring Potato Chips

August 28, 2015

Probably like you I receive these stories from various places.  They always seem to arrive when I need them. It’s a story you can use to make a point (or two) in a business presentation as well…

A little boy wanted to meet God.  He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man.  He was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons.  The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase.  He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips. He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.

His smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer.  Again, he smiled at him.  The boy was delighted!
They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man, and gave him a hug.  He gave him his biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face.     She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?”
He replied, “I had lunch with God.”  But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what?  He’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, “dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?”

He replied “I ate potato chips in the park with God.”  However, before his son responded, he added,  “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.  People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime!  Embrace all equally!

Have lunch with God…….bring chips.


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