Photo by Jamie Street

Like all of you, I have been a little distracted over these last weeks. Since today is my birthday (And, no, I’m not begging for well-wishes, although it might look that way!) I thought I would share three positive and fun thoughts. Most importantly I am grateful my family is healthy and that my wife, Patti, has been such a wonderful support over these weeks. And here are three other positive thoughts.

First Positive Thought – Appreciating My Friends. Some of you have heard or read this story before, but these days it seems even more present in my brain than ever. About 27 years ago when I was a consultant I made a proposal to a entrepreneurial businessman to provide strategic planning and organizational development consulting service. When I submitted my proposal, he told me he thought my price was a little high. I asked him what he thought a fair price was and he told me.

I then agreed to do the project and bill him for his price. But I asked him for a favor – if when I billed him when finished he thought I delivered greater value than he expected would he consider paying me my price? He smiled and said he would.

When I finished the project I billed him as agreed for his price – and I got a check in the mail for my price.

This entrepreneur is Joe Leddy, the founder of Work Opportunities Unlimited, and as most of you know I am still associated with him and the Company today. Yesterday was Joe’s birthday and on April Fool’s Day we celebrated the 38th anniversary of Joe founding our Company. Joe is a great friend, who I appreciate every day.

Second Positive Thought – Staying Calm. Staying calm during a crisis like this is very hard and I am doing my best. I think staying calm is really hard for parents with kids at home. You might have seen this picture on social media of Jack Nicholson’s happy family from the movie The Shining with a quote like, “This is the family BEFORE they were quarantined together.”

A few months ago on the recommendation of Malcolm Gladwell I began listening to Dr. Laurie Santos’ podcast The Happiness Lab. In a recent podcast Calm Can Be Contagious Santos engages in an interesting conversation with ABC Reporter Dan Harris about how he uses quick (1 minute) meditation to stay calm during stressful situations like this COVID-19 crisis.

I found the podcast intriguing because it confirms what I believe – if you stay calm it can spread to others. I even did the 1-minute meditation with Dr. Santos at the end and could feel the calmness overtake me. You might try it yourself.

Third Positive Thought – Finding Laughable Memories. Acknowledging it is very hard to laugh these days, last week I shared my favorite April Fool’s joke on social media. If you missed it, here it is.

It was when I was in college at the University of Maine – Aroostook Hall. In those “old days” one prank was to open a dorm room door slightly and carefully balance a bucket of water on top of the door. Then, when some poor unsuspecting soul pushes the door slightly, “splash” they are covered with water…and the laughter and anger explode.

But in my case, that wasn’t enough. We had one guy in our dorm section who was a real jerk. So, we did the door prank in the bathroom and targeted him. When it happened, he exploded! He wanted to know who set him-up? We told him it was Tommy in 320. He ran over to Tommy’s room and guess what we put up on Tommy’s door? You guessed it, another bucket of water. And, even he started to laugh at this point!

This was my best April Fool’s prank of all time and makes me smile every time I think of it.