Thursday, March 7


Working with college students has given me a whole different perspective about this new breed of future leaders, Generation Y. Read articles, listen to podcasts, scan research- they all have similar descriptions of these tech-saavy, independent, and fearless students and leaders. But the negatives often overshadow the positives. Their seen as entitled, spoiled, and lack communication skills.

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But, peel back the layers and you will discover something quite special and unique.Yet you still ask ,"how do I reach them?"

And the question many leaders, educators, and business people ask? How do I inspire Generation Y?

Here are 3 key strategies to influencing Generation Y:

1. Ask for their feedback. These students are longing to have a voice. Compliance has been a part of their upbringing and education. But they continue to ask, "WHY?" Let them! They truly want to understand why for many reasons. Ask them what they think- and then listen. Don't judge or interrupt. Many have never had the opportunity to share or describe their own thoughts and feelings.

2. Don't be afraid to call them out. A big fear for many leaders and educators is the uncertainty of the response from Gen Y when they are called out for their behavior or performance. But the reality is this generation wants to do good- they want to contribute- but they really do need tough love every now and again. Recently one of these young leaders made excuses as to why they couldn't complete something on time- excuse after excuse. I stopped him and said, "excuses only make YOU feel better; it doesn't help me or the situation." An hour later I received and email that explained, "thank you for bringing that to my attention, this will stay with me forever! THANK YOU!"

3. Let them drive. Sometimes you have to let go of control and give them the keys. Be close by in case they veer too far off the path. Give them responsibility and hold them accountable, but allow this generation to discover innovative approaches to everyday tasks. Tim Elmore explains to let them work on whatever they want. Freedom will often lead to incredible opportunities.

Start today brand new. Inspiring these bright minds is easier than you think.

Encouragement excites, inspiration ignites. - Brock Patterson

Monday, December 17


I had a guest speaker, Mick Anderson, visit my Introduction to Business class this semester to talk to the students about financial planning and wealth management. What I didn't realize about his speech was that he was about to coin a phrase that resonated loudly in the classroom. Mick described people who had "won the lottery of life." People like Taylor Swift, Peyton Manning, Justin Beiber, and other famous celebrities and athletes. These stars have accumulated great wealth by using their talent whether it be singing, dancing, or playing football. And as a result- they hit the lottery. Their income from their talent will continue to pay them now and well into the future.

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But here is the reality. We all will not hit the lottery of life. Many of us will work great jobs and make a good decent wage. But lottery numbers? Hardly.

The point in Mick's message was simple. We have to play our own numbers whatever they are. If you are a $35,000, $55,000, or $100,000 a year income provider- then make those numbers work for you.

Will you be able to drive the same cars? Doubtful! But can you purchase a car? Absolutely! Will you have three homes in different parts of the country? No! But you can have one beautiful home.

This doesn't mean stop working hard to reach your dreams. But it does mean stop spending your money like your winning ticket numbers have just been called. Do more with less. Accumulate experience not stuff.

Friday, December 7


My son, Braxton, who enjoys playing Xbox online, told me about several encounters with his online community of friends. He described disagreements that he reacted to with frustration and name calling. I said, "Braxton- not only are your friends going to be hurt by your comments, but they are going to tell their parents. And their parents will form an opinion of you- your REPUTATION. And once your reputation isn't good it takes time to rebuild and repair it."

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Our conversation brought back the time and effort it has taken me to do that very thing. Rebuild and repair. It is so easy to drift off on a detour from life. You get busy- preoccupied with your own self-interest and before you know it- you don't even recognize yourself. And your reputation speaks for itself.

But the sweat equity exerted into being authentic, consistent, and dependable is well worth to yourself and to others.

I told Braxton, "once you have been labeled one way it is like a sticker being put on. And after it has been on you for awhile and you try to peel it away... you know that aggravating residue that takes Goo Gone to get it off?... well, that takes effort. Over time you never even really know it was there."

And while some people may hold grudges- it is often because they have stickers they can't peel off their own self.

Thursday, October 11


When I was little, I wasn't afraid of the dark, monsters, or even scary movies. I was afraid that I would let people down or not be who they wanted ME to be.            <-- Read that again. Who they wanted me to be?!? Fast forward to my twenties and you will see the same me. Afraid of what other people thought. I never lived my life. I wasn't authentic. I carried this burden with me for entirely too long. So what happened?

I learned to become a work in progress. I didn't stop caring people, but I certainly stopped caring about what they thought of me. I couldn't ever fulfill their image of me. (How did I know what that even looked like?)

A quote changed my perspective, my attitude, and my fear:
"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work on becoming yourself." - Anna Quindlen
 Start today. Be a work in progress. Embrace imperfection. Be you.

Tuesday, July 3


I spent the last several months finishing my Master of Business Education at Middle Tennessee State University. The experience helped me understand more about my personal and professional goals, and as the title explains, "Change Is Coming."

In my lives:

In my world:

All around me:

Monday, February 27


We celebrated my dad's 60th birthday this weekend at a local restaurant. Happy Birthday Dad!

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This restaurant has been a staple for our family as it has locations across Middle Tennessee. But the quality of the food has diminished over the last year. My mom and I had the same terrible seafood dish. The waitress was amazing so we really didn't say anything to her because, after all, she didn't cook it.

Once we were ready to check out, the cashier asked, "how was everything tonight?," in a scripted voice as if to expect the same, "good" or "fine" response. And I leveled honestly. "It was terrible. The quality of food is not the same." He looked stunned and puzzled as if he did not know what to say or how to respond.

He fumbled to look for a radio to get the manager and acted panicky. Had no one else received bad food? Did I do the wrong thing by not complaining to the waitress?

Businesses often become conditioned to act and respond the same way to every customer interaction. What happens is that they miss the most critical opportunity to receive incredible customer feedback because the responses do not fit in their regular pattern or sequence. Rather than greeting and bidding farewell to customers like an assembly line, encourage your staff to have regular conversations with your customers. The customers will appreciate the authenticity, and your business will likely discover opportunities for improvement.

By the way, had they been concerned at this restaurant last night, they would have discovered that the cook put ENTIRELY too many green onions on the dish. Something simple to fix if they were willing to accept honest feedback.

What experiences have you had like this? What advice can you give to businesses?

Friday, February 24


Airlines have now restricted the quantity and size of your carry-on baggage. They don't have room for excess anymore. Companies are now trying to prevent the amount of corporate carry-on baggage from new hires related to their emotional intelligence.  These companies are launching pre-testing in the form of surveys, questionnaires, and other diagnostic measurements to uncover any instability in their applicants. But what about existing employees?

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Here are 3 ways to remove some of your excess baggage and be a productive employee:

1. Turn off your personal switch and turn on your professional switch. I'm not saying to not be authentic, but it helps to mentally turn off your other roles in life when you enter your workplace. If you can separate your personal and professional life as much as possible then you will be emotionally and mentally stronger to handle your daily work tasks. Schedule your breaks and lunches to handle some of your personal matters. And the drive to and from work- use that time to make phone calls and wrap up other personal issues. Your work life will be much more productive and less stressed.

2. Stop gossip. Stay away from the known gossip groups of employees. They will only bring you down. Not only will they make you paranoid about every email and phone call, but others will perceive you as part of "them." Free up this time to build your personal relationships with key members of your company.

3. Get outside. One of my favorite bosses used to walk around the building a few times during the day. Oxygen will produce good blood flow and reduce your stress. If you are feeling emotionally drained in your customer support role, take a break and walk.

I suggest anyone in leadership to read the book, Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman for my insight into handling your mental and emotional self in the workplace.

What are other ways you can reduce the amount of carry-on baggage for your careers?