“Life’s too short to play other people’s music!”

“Life’s too short to play other people’s music.” ~ Jeff Stehr

Neal Piano Hands.jpg

I love this quote because it resonates with me as an original artist.  As a person who creates music, I want to spend my time writing all of the music that is inside of me.  I don’t want to take the little bit of time I have, playing other people’s music.  I also find that this is a good metaphor for life, to challenge yourself to find the “music” that is inside of you.  I believe that God has given each of us a special talent or gift that we are obligated to discover and share with others during our short time here on Earth.  Give this some thought.  How are you an original?  What is your “music” that you have to share?   The world is waiting to enjoy your gifts.  We can’t wait to see what you have to offer!  ~Neal

You Don’t Always Have To Be Thinking Big Thoughts!

I dropped Beth’s car off at the repair shop early this morning and decided to walk home along a bike path. As I started to walk, I took out my phone and began listening to some of my song ideas for my upcoming project, “The Path” and the irony of listening to songs for “The Path” while walking on the path made me laugh.

As I walked under the highway, the path wound its way down a hill into the woods and very soon, I found myself walking along side a creek. I shut off my phone and began to take in my surroundings… the water bubbling over rocks and birds chirping and singing all around me as the sun peeks its way through the branches overhead. I notice that the leaves are just starting to come in. I see a snake on the path and am curious about what kind it is… oh, it’s a garter snake… or is it gartner snake? or gardener snake? It’s a garter snake… but my mind wrestles with that for a bit as I continue to walk along.
I wonder if there are trout in this part of the stream and decide I’ll have to ask my neighbor, who is an avid trout fisherman and he would know.
I’ll have to bring Beth back here on her next day off so we can share this beauty together.
I suddenly feel guilty that I’m not using the time on my walk to think up some new marketing ideas for my business and almost as soon as I have the thought, a voice in my head says “you don’t always have to be thinking big thoughts!” OK…. message received :>)
Enjoy the day and let your mind wander and wonder…. it’s OK!!!! Remember, you don’t always have to be thinking big thoughts!



Sink or Swim – Am I Being Clear?


While attending a sales seminar several years ago, I remember the speaker saying that often times what is said, what is heard and what is meant is very different to the people having a conversation. I have a real life example of this that I would like to share with you.

As many of you know, I take my sons, Noah and Will with me to the Boundary Waters every year and we go with my friend Dave and his son Stephen. On one of our trips, we encountered a very large beaver dam and we had to get out of our canoes and pull them over the dam. It’s important to note that with the Kevlar canoes that we use, it is critical that you do not get in the canoe unless it is in the water otherwise you risk the possibility of damaging the bottom. The area at the bottom of the dam prevented an ideal boarding situation as there was mud and sharp sticks everywhere so as is often the case, you must wade out into the water to step into the canoe. The water I was looking at was very dark so I couldn’t see the bottom to determine the actual depth. It also smelled like an outhouse as the water wasn’t moving here.

I looked across the pool where Dave and Stephen were waiting for us to get into our canoe. I shouted over to Dave, “How deep is it?” He indicated with his hands that it was about a foot deep. I stepped off into the water and promptly sank up to my ears!
We all started laughing very hard and I could hear Dave between the laughter, saying, “I thought you meant over here!” I said, “Why would I ask you how deep it is over there?”
Be clear in what you are saying or asking and as much as possible, make sure the other person who you are communicating with is on the same page as you as it could impact whether you sink or swim!


How Much Time Do I Have And When Do I Give Up?


A few years ago, I had a conversation with my brother-in-law, Jeff, as he was in the process of mapping out an exit strategy from corporate America so he could start his own business. He shared a quote with me that motivated him and as best as I can remember it, it read, “Death is certain. Tomorrow isn’t. What will you do?”
This quote motivates me too as I am very aware of the fact that none of us know how much time we have left in our lives to accomplish all of the things that we want to so it’s important that we are clear about what we want to be spending our time doing and as Nike would say, “Just do it!”

If you are on the wrong path in your life, get on a different path as soon as possible! Don’t be afraid to “take the road less traveled” as suggested by Robert Frost or be like the crew of the Starship Enterprise and “boldly go where no man has gone before!” I think Teddy Roosevelt summed up the correct mindset that we should all have in life: “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

Clarity is vital for all of us to gain an understanding of where we should focus our time and efforts. As Brian Tracy, a well known speaker, once said, “Clarity accounts for probably 80% of success and happiness. Lack of clarity is probably more responsible for frustration and underachievement than any other single factor. Your success in life will be largely determined by how clear you are about what it is you really, really want.”
If you believe that you are on the correct path for your life, then in the words of Winston Churchill,“Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up, never give up, never give up!” Persist until the angels call you home! If you ever do you feel like giving up, remember this quote from Calvin Coolidge, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”

So get clear in your heart and mind and get going on your dreams, for the clock is ticking my friends!