JAM with Mike

Motivation to Start Your Day!


Thursday June 1, 2017 #893

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.”

~Mother Teresa


This timeless quote reminds us to never think our actions do not make a difference.  You don’t need to be a wealthy philanthropist to make a dent in causes important to you.  There are great sites that enable us to find and support charities and causes with small donations or even just volunteering time or services.  Even those often cited “small acts of kindness” truly make a world of difference to those you touch.  The key is to stop thinking about it and simply to act in small ways and in bigger ways, if you are capable with your time or resources.

At the beginning of the 6th month of this year (can you believe it!?), reflect on the ways you can make a small contribution to the betterment of the world around you.  Start by smiling at your family member and thank them for being in your life.  Expressed gratitude is surely the greatest of the “small” gifts we can choose to give today.

Thank you for being a loyal and participative audience to these posts.  I’m grateful for all of you!  Let’s find a way to give a little something today.


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Work-Life Balance

Tuesday May 30, 2017 #892

“In the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

~Jack Kerouac


Ah that elusive ideal…. “work/life balance”.   I personally have struggled with this my entire career.  A driven professional, I’ve had to be incredibly intentional to ensure quality time with my family and have usually sacrificed my own leisure and exercise time to do so.  I’ve often joked that since there can never be more than 100% of time spent between work and the rest of our life, the fact that my ratio of work/life balance has averaged 90%/10% means I’m still in balance!

But as I reflect on my own life and the lives of so many of the people I see striving for achievement and success around me, it is important to consider for all of us how to choose a bit more time with life outside of work.  This can mean different things for each person.  For me it has meant early morning swimming to establish an exercise routine, to add to my intentional time with my family.  For you it may mean establishing “date nights” with your partner or children, taking a class, volunteering for a cause meaningful to you, taking yoga or some other physically and/or psychologically helpful activity, and more.

As we seek a bit more balance, it does not mean sacrificing our drive for success and achievement in our careers.  To the contrary, providing a little breathing room has been proven to make us even more effective in our work pursuits.  I’m trying. Will you join me?

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Big Dreams

Thursday May 25, 2017 #891

“Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.”

~Albert Einstein


When we study successful people and break through innovators, it is interesting how often they defy conventional wisdom.  These people ignore or at least use the “facts” to go on to teach us new realities.  Their power is in their dream and their persistence to achieve it.  So dream big and teach us how to achieve your dream, beyond the facts that we think we understand.

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Tuesday May 23, 2017 #890

“Persistence isn’t using the same tactics over and over. That’s just annoying. Persistence is having the same goal over and over.”

~Seth Godin


This definition of persistence is very important. We often talk about persistence as a key factor to sustainable achievement.  However, the key is having a clear goal you are hungry for and determined to attain. This will give you the courage to keep going even when your efforts fail. Your persistence is in finding new ways to attack the challenge and eventually break through.  Don’t keep banging your head against the wall.  Rather, find new tools to bang the wall with until you knock it down!

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Question Everything

Thursday May 18, 2017 #889

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”

~Erich Fromm


To thrive in today’s highly complex world, it is important to build your mental agility and creativity to spot opportunities and solve problems.  The main stumbling block for most people in gaining access to their creativity is certainty and rigidly held beliefs.  Other than natural laws (gravity, etc.) almost nothing is truly certain, and it is the unwillingness to consider new or alternative ideas that keeps most people from success and happiness.

I urge you to never allow anything to be unquestionable.  It is strength of character that allows us to consider ideas that go against what we’ve been previously taught and assumed to be “fact”.  Only by letting go of certainties has man ever advanced culturally, intellectually, or scientifically.  All great discoveries and innovation come from someone who questions a supposed truth.

Be curious, question certainty, allow your creativity to flow.

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Tuesday May 16, 2017 #888

“The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth-century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen.”

~Carl All


Today’s world is ever changing and growing more complex as digital platforms provide direct access to near-infinite amounts of information and data.  This access is both exhilarating and overwhelming.  It is necessary to learn how to regulate your consumption of information, and how to utilize these tools to provide what you need, when you need it.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this is our ability to learn across many areas of interest.  While we can now dig as deeply as we’d like into one area of interest, we do not need to limit ourselves but rather can gain a broad level of exposure to many subjects.  This provides the basis for creative thinking and problem solving as we are able to connect unrelated data in new ways.  This is true creativity.

Try to avoid “binge” consumption but do explore the many areas of potential learning to arm yourself with the tools that inspire creative thought and problem solving in today’s complex environment.

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