Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's all in the approach.

Remember being a kid and deciding it was somehow a really good idea to show the person who was bigger than you that you were, in fact, in charge of the situation?

As you approached them with your "I am ready to prove my point" face feel something placed ever so gently on your forehead as you stand just a few feet away swinging with all your might.

It is their hand holding you at a safe distance...for your sake...not theirs. You come at the situation with your best shots that catch more air than Shaun White at the X games. You repeat...over and over...and finally...

Exhaustion sets in.

The other side doesn't strike back...just waits you out, until you are ready to stop, and trust.

That sums up my view on how we approach life. We think that just bc we believe something to be a certain way, or at the very least it SHOULD BE a certain way...that if we puff our chest out far enough and swing with all we have...that we can change any circumstance, anytime.

In my just doesn't work that way.

Exhaustion sets in...reality check is delivered...and hopefully by this point we are ready to see the situation for what it is...not ours to control, and make choices that align with trusting the Lord that He alone is able to take on whatever it is that we are dealing with.

It's at that moment that I have found the most peace.

Not because I understand...quite honestly...many times I don't. Not because I have any more information now than I had before...but rather I am deferring to the only one that does. And not even because everything gets better instantly...because quite honestly it might not.

Maybe for the first time...or at least the first time in a long time I am ok having trust and faith in Him to carry me through whatever it is that I am going through.

Take the gloves off. The approach makes all the difference in the world.

I know it might be really hard...I've been there...but this time...

try 2 palms up, instead of 2 fists up. matter what others may this the only way.

He can...He will...Pick you up.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stop...just stop. The excuse sounds even more lame than you can imagine.

The thought in your head right now says : "It's difficult."

What you need to hear someone say to you right about now : "So What."

Just because that incredible/"positive difference in the world making thing" you are working on...(or need to be if you are hiding behind excuses)...doesn't come easy...doesn't mean you pack it in and quit.

I came across a quote today that I thought was right on the money.

From singer/songwriter Josh Wilson's friend...his name is James.

"I can't do everything, but I refuse to do nothing." might be hard, it might hurt, make you sweat and exhaust you in the process.

Would you really have it any other way? If you did, wouldn't that make you just another person...doing another thing...that any ole person could do...whenever, wherever?

Battle to be unique and go do that difficult thing.

The world needs people like you to make a positive difference around here.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Thursday, October 14, 2010

From my heart tonight...

When was the last time your beliefs were challenged? I don't mean about topics that quite frankly are non-topics...the here today and gone tomorrow ones that make the ego-maniacs gloat over the sound of their own voice and self-declared wisdom.

I am speaking about things you have just always felt. Sometimes not even sure how you got to the point where you made those beliefs your own...if you actually thought your way through them or just absorbed them by proxy from family and friends that believe a particular way.

I am reminded tonight that believing in something does not mean you will have, or do have all the answers.

That is not something any of us will ever be able to claim. In the meantime...I choose to share my beliefs and listen to other people as they share theirs. And what if we don't agree?

That might just be the point.

Ever think that maybe...just maybe...neither side really knows the answer?

Then why in the world do we claim wisdom when the answer might just be to claim ignorance...followed by the fact that we are not, will not nor ever be...


In the about we try basic math.

2 ears...1 mouth.

There is a reason.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bring it...or just stay home.

What would the world look like today if...

The only way we were allowed to show up in public (work, class, etc..) was to guarantee that we will "bring it". I get a huge smile on my face just thinking about the utopia of only crossing paths with people that are giving every last ounce of every part of who they are to accomplishing incredible things.

I propose that we stop calling them "sick days". Sure...once in a while people are sick, and its legit.

But renaming them "lame days" would be so much more effective.

At least that would let sick people say..."hey, I'm out today...I'm sick...pulled up a little lame today on the health thing" would eliminate having to deal with someone else who is perfectly healthy...but never intended on participating in a way that would they stay home bc they are just flat out lame!

I think we might be on to something here...

Sure hope you plan on bringing it today!

We all need your best. Being incredible depends on it.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Monday, October 11, 2010

Why puzzles annoy me.

I just realized I can't stand puzzles.

I know...I know..."Gee Whiz that seems a little over the top" you might be inclined to say.

Stay with me for a moment, and if you still want to chuck something in my direction when I am done I will make sure I have a helmet and pads on.

Seriously...the entire point of a puzzle is what?

To put together something that has already been created...has been systematically torn apart...just to be put back together EXACTLY the same way the picture started with not one notion of original thought whatsoever....FOR FUN!!!

WOW...Sounds like a blast!

You know what else it sounds like? What the idea of a puzzle represents?

Most people's lives.

They get up everyday and proceed to build puzzles all day (go through the motions). They take the box handed to them (a situation), dump it out on the table in front of them (life)...and proceed to tell the story of the picture that has already been created for them. (ugh)


My question for you is WHY do we spend so much time solving a problem that we already know the answer to?

Because we are control freaks.

My challenge to you today is this...

If putting the puzzle together legitimately makes's the best option on the table today...then by all means BUILD AWAY.

BUT...IF...and I stress IF there might be another way...and that way could very well make the world around you a better place because you tried solving a problem that hasn't been solved yet...


You deserve it...and so does everyone else around you.

To be able to stop going through pre-determined motions if there is another way that could result in greater good...

greater good for a world that desperately needs it.

Sorry for the rant tonight...

blame it on the 750 piece puzzle that is staring at me from the other side of the dining room table with the edge pieces just about done...and a huge pile of colorful middle pieces waiting to file into order...for no other reason than to "solve" a problem that has already been solved. (Not my puzzle BTW)

I know what that picture's on the box next to while you sit there for hours to get it to come into focus, AGAIN...piece by painstakingly slow piece...I will pick up the box, see what it is...put it down...and get on to the next thing...that could be "the thing".

Life is short...(unlike my post tonight...ironic as that may be)

Your choice...

Build puzzles...or paint an original picture.

PS...Want to know what the title of the puzzle is sitting across the room from me right now?

I kid you not..."100 Chickens and a worm"

(100 things that represent being afraid and 1 other that has got to be one of the most predictable creatures on the planet.)

The best part? I didn't know what the title was until I read it after I was finished writing this.

You can't make this stuff up.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Redefining Thirsty...

I am picking up Oscar from school today...and on the way out he proceeds to walk over to a drinking fountain that is affixed to the brick on the outside of the building.

He takes a look at his destination, and try as he might...cannot get any water to spurt out of the faucet on the fountain.

From a distance I notice that the location where the button should not in fact anything but a hole in the front of the fountain.

Right about this time...Oscar has had about enough and proceeds to inform me that he can't get it to work. I explain that it is broken, and that the hole on the front is where the button should be to make it work. (Tax dollars well spent huh...but I digress)

As we make our way down the sidewalk towards the parking lot Oscar reminds me that he still has a problem...He's thirsty.

Here is the best part...Did I mention that during this entire has been raining on us?

You know..the steady and misty type of fall rain that just soaks you to the core in a short time even though it doesn't feel all that threatening at first.

So as we walk...He fixes his problem.

He holds my hand...we walk...his leans his head back...and opens his mouth as far as he can.

Then the perspective only a 4 year old can bring to the situation...

"Dad...the rain tasted like candy"

So my question for you today is this...

If what you are thirsty for today isn't available...Are you able to close your eyes...lean your head back and take what the world throws your way as "plan B"...

And declare that "This tastes like candy."?

Now that is sweet stuff.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wood or Window...

Well...Hello again. It has been a while since my last post...since August 12th to be specific. I have been quite busy. If you are curious what I have been up to...take a look at It's a new venture...a new beginning...more on that another time. If you are in high school or college...or know someone who is check it out on facebook too...and find your way to the SSJ site don't want to miss what is coming.

I was recently asked where "Of course you can!" has been. Well...I have been off "canning".

But when I read that question...I got itchy. Not the bad, rash driven itchy you get from blowing your nose with poison ivy in the woods. The kind that you need to scratch because it results in full blown creativity.

So here I am.

I have found myself, while speaking with many people over the past 6 weeks or so, using the word transparent...A LOT.

If you knew that on the other side of "something" was the most beautiful picture...a sunset, your children playing, the sight of a long lost friend you have not seen in years...and you knew you could only look at it from a distance...what would you rather hold up in front of your face?

A big square piece of wood...or a perfectly washed and clear window?

No hesitation right?...It's the window.


Our first instinct is because its the obvious answer. Now what about all the reasons you might grab the board instead...

What if the other side looks back and doesn't like what they see...what if "they" leave, "it" goes away, the "moment" doesn't last...all because the other side doesn't like what they see when they look back at you?

Are you willing to live your life in a way that no matter is so transparent, and lived so authentically that it really doesn't matter what the reaction of the other side is...because you know you are who you are, and living the life you were created to live will be all that matters when it is all said and done?

The next time "the reaction of life" tempts you to choose wood over window...


clarity beats ignorance ever time.

Be transparent, authentic and matter today. It is more than just your life depending on it.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More...Party of 1 please...More... Party of 1.

Do you remember being a kid and the incredible anticipation that went with waiting for the arrival of that new toy that you had wanted for what seemed like forever?

And then flash forward a few weeks...and that toy was in "the bin" with the rest of the previously anticipated treasures of time gone by.

What is it with the human nature that makes us want something so bad...and when we finally get it, the novelty wears off so quickly?

My take...I really believe that as a general rule of thumb a lot of what we "want" is, simply put, yet another thing that we see someone else has...and once we finally get it...we lose interest quickly.

It's because "that new thing" wasn't really new. It was for the original owner...but truth be told the majority of the reason we wanted it in the first place was because someone else had it. It never had anything to do with the fact that it was designed for us to have at all.


You can take hold of the comfortable/easy thing right in front of you and settle...or reach out a little further for the kind of opportunity that is loaded with risk/possible failure.

Anything that is worth anything at all comes from hard work. If it were would have been done already. And if it was done was never your's to begin with anyway.

Please...leave the easy stuff on the were made for more.

And if your more is all tied up in everyone's else's past stuff...

It'll end up being as the old saying goes...

Same crud...different day.

Make today different...but do it by being different...being you...not someone else.

You were made for more.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Monday, August 2, 2010

Control Freak?...OK...Read On.

I heard a comment today as I was passing through an office...

"Stuff I can't control, I don't like." Short, sweet, and to the point.

So why are you still sitting there thinking of all the things you don't like?

Chances are...


So do yourself a favor and stop...because all you are doing is let them control you.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Saturday, July 31, 2010

John Deere Mower, Shower, Toilet, and Church...

Life can be really hard.

I know...that wasn't exactly an earth shattering news flash of a comment. But I got to thinking as I was riding on my John Deere...mowing my mother in laws lawn today. Anything worth thinking about is thought of while in 1 of 3 situations.

1. Riding a John Deere
2. The shower
3. Well...lets say it this way..."Doing paperwork in the office, sitting on the white chair".

Oh...I need to add a 4th...Church. I have had some revelations there. Nice pun huh.

But I digress...

If life is can we make it easier?

Near as I can figure we make a conscious choice, everyday, to make it easier or harder.

Making it harder is when we choose to surround ourselves with people that tell us what we WANT to hear when we need people around us that will tell us what we NEED to hear.

How does life get easier?

Flip that statement on it's head.

Be around people that will speak truth into your life...who are willing to tell you things you may not want to hear... but you need to hear.

Life has plenty of distractions.

Stop creating more of them by putting yourself in a world where the noise meter is at it's highest...and there is no substance to the noise.

If it's gonna get loud...let it come from the voices of people that will help you get to where you need to get going...not ones that will tell you warm, fuzzy feel good stories when you need a chapter read to you from...

The book of "No more buts for your butt...Get it moving".

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Speaking up...It's your legacy...whether you do or don't. our 4 yr. old is recuperating from being sick, we have been playing board games. His theory today was that there is a difference between "real cheating" and "fake cheating".

"Real Cheating" is when one person cheats during the game and the other person(s) does not. That is real because one person is breaking the rules that everyone else is playing by.

"Fake Cheating" is when everyone playing the game is cheating. Everyone knows that everybody else is in essence because they are all agreeing to cheat on some level...well then, it's not's fake.

The lesson in all of this?

We all have a relatively easy time picking out the cheat if they are the only one doing it. None of us likes it. Sometimes they get away with it...sometimes not. But either way it leaves a bad taste in our mouth when we see someone trying to pull a fast one over on us.

Where the water gets muddy is when even though there are rules in place...everyone agrees to look the other way.

Sometimes it comes down to one person who is strong enough to speak truth into a situation that desperately needs it.

Being right isn't the point as much as it is clearly knowing when you don't want to be wrong.

Don't rob yourself out of the opportunity to be a difference maker...for positive change in the environment you are in.

It's your legacy.

However, in the's really not just you that ends up getting hurt if you remain silent.

But you already knew that.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Busy vs. Productive

Ever been around someone who was actually too busy to be productive? They spread themselves so thin that exhaustion is about the only thing they manage to produce?

I am reminded of a childhood friend that set aside other hobbies to focus on the one he enjoyed the most. He became very talented at the hobby...and as a result, was rewarded with a scholarship for college.

Today...we look at that and say he won't be well rounded...missed out on opportunities...and putting all your eggs in one basket is too risky.


You know what is too risky?

Not realizing that being busy just for the sake of being busy distracts you from something you could be so focused, talented and great at that you miss an opportunity to change the world around you...significantly.

Have some fun yourself a favor...take a step back and look at your world from the outside in, and make a great choice to focus in on being the person you were created to be.

It's not too late.

Who knows...

You may be right on time.

Don't be so busy that you race past your moment.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"I'll deal with it tomorrow"...

How long will you wait to deal with "that thing"?

You haven't yet because...

It is too big...too small...doesn't affect anyone else but me...affects everyone around me...I don't like learning new things...I want to focus only on new things...

There is no shortage of excuses...err...I'm sorry, would you prefer to call them "reasons"?

The fact of the matter remains that there is no better time than right now to move forward...otherwise you will convince yourself that the following 5 words are actually good advice...

"I'll deal with it tomorrow."

Thats fine...just know that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

We are all in the same boat...

Fix, heal, move past, embrace, exhale...

It's the best way to make the "right now" truly be something significant.


Why are you still here?

Go get er done.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Monday, July 26, 2010

Java and Bathrobes...In Public?...YUP.

So, I had to share this with you...probably one of the most hysterical confirmations that customer and brand loyalty matter more than ever.

I was leaving a certain coffee establishment this know, the one with the big green logo.

As I was walking to my car I looked up to see a young lady rapidly approaching the drive through, 2 hands firmly gripping the top of the steering wheel as she eyed her destination.

Not odd...UNTIL...

I notice, as she passes, she is wearing a bright blue and white polka dotted bathrobe..and a very stern focused stare.

2 points of observation...

1. Seems as though brand and customer loyalty does matter after all.
2. Do you have customers that would be willing to drive around in their bright colored, polka dotted bathrobe because they had to have your product...and nothing else...right now?

People can blast the place for having a cup of coffee that costs as much as a meal at the place across the street all they want.

But I wouldn't do it in front of the polka dotted bathrobe lady...or any of her closest friends...

Just Sayin.

I think you'll lose the argument.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Risk...embrace or erase?

There are 2 kinds of people.

1. Risk Takers
2. Those who take risks

Risk Takers? (Embracers)

They are willing to do what it takes to get it done......they know that there are no guarantees...yet they press on, pursue and tackle the task at hand because they wouldn't have it any other way...and the rewards are in sight.

Those who take risks? (Erasers)

Those are the people that stand next to Risk Takers trying to steal their moment. They tell Risk Takers an infinite number of excuses as to why "it" won't work.

You know em...we all have them in our lives...and this is your reminder not to lose your focus just because of them, and not to be one of them in someone else's journey.

And please...stop with the "devil's advocate" routine.

That idiot doesn't need any more help.

Maybe it is just that simple...

Embrace it.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Grandfather Part II

At the memorial service years ago for our grandfather we asked for people to jot down a favorite memory about Grandpa Bixby... so we could continue, as his grandchildren to pass down lessons to our children from his wisdom.

The following is a synopsis of one of the stories we received that night...

Let me set the stage...

A couple, married in the spring of 1987, in the Cattaraugus area. The reception following the wedding was in the Ellicottville area. As they recall...everyone was driving to the reception...and there...on the way, was Grandpa...


In his suit, fishing in a nearby creek.

And I quote...

"He just could not pass up a good fishing hole. A great man with a great story at all times. Never too busy to go fishing."

What is it today that you need to slow down long enough to enjoy?

You get one crack at life...

If you see a "fishing hole" that needs tending to...


Come back with a great story.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wisdom from my Grandfather...

My grandfather passed away 6 years ago....but his legacy lives on. My wife handed me a folder of poems/thoughts that he had written to us over the years tonight.

I wanted to share one of the thoughts with all of you...

Some I know for sure are original...others he may have just passed along. This one, I believe, was one of the ones he passed along.

"Those who complain about the way the ball bounces are usually the ones who dropped it."

Love it.

Enuf said.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Bad Radio Ad Strikes Again...

While driving today I heard a radio spot that bothered me.

The short version...The advertiser wanted customers that didn't have a lot of disposable income to know that they were the store the customer should shop at for the item(s) being advertised. They followed this up with the statement...

"All you can do is all you can do."

All I know is that if I were the potential customer...I wouldn't be after hearing that.

Then they proceeded to add that you should shop there if you have deep pockets too.


Here is the 2 part lesson they taught.

1. If you don't have $ to spend...come here...we just wanted to remind you that you were cash strapped...and that you can only do so much...but come here anyway.

2. If you are $ loaded...come here...we want you to spend your money here. Why? Just because we want your business...not because we actually gave you a good reason to even consider us...or showed we cared about your needs...just because we have stuff...big stuff...lots of stuff...oh, and did we mention because we want your business.


I know that the economy is making it tough...

But don't make it harder on yourself like this advertiser.

Talk WITH your customers.

The alternative?

Talking AT them. ( Today's example. )

Thank you for checking in today. I appreciate you being here.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Do you really know?

Quick thought of the day...

Are you talking/sharing/connecting on a regular basis with your audience or are they just out there talking about you?

If it isn't both parts...

Are they really your audience?

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Challenge You Today To...

Make this day feel different than yesterday...and make tomorrow that much more fun to top.

Instead of walking past someone sitting on a park bench and saying nothing...

Smile, and say hello as you pass by.

Maybe even buy them a cup of coffee.

Let me tell you a quick story...

Not too long ago I was driving past a local shopping mall area. At a few of the bigger intersections there were several people holding up rather large signs that advertised a going out of business sale for a big chain store.

The weather that day was a combination of cold, wet and sideways driving rain. Not exactly the type of weather you would want to be out in for 10 seconds...let alone 10 hours.

As I drove past one gentleman holding a sign...I noticed he had on a garbage bag as rain gear.

I couldn't take it. I had a few bucks in my pocket, so I pulled in to a local eatery and purchased a large cup of coffee...grabbed a bunch of sugars and creamers and proceeded to walk across the parking lot to go see this man.

When I came up on him I extended the coffee and said..."I don't know if you are a coffee drinker, but I thought this might warm you up having to stand out in this weather today."

The smile on his face was warm...he couldn't remove his heavy mittens fast enough to shake my hand...and I think I made a friend.

I may never see that man again...

But something tells me that when he can...when he sees someone that has a need he can meet...he will jump at the chance to meet it.

It's not a story to say...hey look at what I is a reminder to all of us that we have a ton of opportunities everyday to make the world around us a better place.

So what are you waiting for?

Go make the world different today because you are caring for someone's need(s).

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chuck it...

How many times have you been going back and forth in your mind trying to settle on making a decision and no matter how many pros and cons you list out you seem to be...stuck?

You have so many "top priorities" that nothing becomes "the priority".

I was recently away for a couple of days coaching at a soccer tournament. When I arrived home I was really excited to see my wife and kids and hear how their last couple of days had gone.

While we were sitting in our living room...I reached down and picked up a toy to hand to our 7 month old as he sat next to me in his "Exer-saucer" ( A nifty bouncy/swivel/toys on the tray of the whole thingy seat he loves).

When I handed him the went from his hand to being chucked on the floor in about 1.5 seconds. This is a toy he usually likes...but in that moment ...he knew what he wanted...and it wasn't the toy I handed him.

After a weekend away from home...he wanted some attention from his dad, with no other distractions.

I figure there are really only a handful of decisions in a 7 month old's world.

Eat...sleep...poop/ Those are the top 5.

He wanted attention...not toys.

Can you clearly define your top 5?

Do you know the things in your business/life/school/relationships that matter the most so well that you can chuck the things that are not a top priority at the moment in 1.5 seconds?

If not...spend some time today getting that short list together.

It sure makes the decision making process easier all around.

Just ask my 7 month old.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Tripping over dollar bills to pick up dimes"

In a conversation I had today with a businessman, he mentioned to me that the company he works for is constantly doing just that.

Companies have 2 choices. They either value their customers or the transaction from the customers.

At some point...all the fancy gimmicks, promos and sales fall on deaf ears once the customer realizes that what they thought was genuine interest in their needs was only an attempt to get in their purse or soon as the expense of their loyalty and trust.

When the first good reason to make a business decision is $ related...think long and hard.

When the first good reason to make a business decision is customer

At that've got it.

And by the way...the $ usually follows.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"Cooler" head prevails...

Back on the grocery kick for today...

I just stopped at the local circus...err...I mean "Mart that is large" to pick up 2 things I needed.

One of them was sour cream.

I found my way to the back of the store where the open cooler areas are that house said item (which, by the way, feel great to shop by when it is 90+ degrees outside). I picked up what I needed, turned around...and started to head for the cash register.

I looked down and noticed that the "best by" date was July 14, 2010. I wondered if I could do I turned around and went back to the display. I put the one I had just picked up in the spot it started from...and then proceeded to reach a few rows back and grab a different one.

August 5, 2010 "best by" date.

Same product...or so one would think at first glance.

Their initial appearance is identical. It is not until you pick one up and turn it over that the difference is revealed.

I clearly left the store today with more value because I was willing to look a little closer at the product.

Consumers are smarter, thriftier and more discerning than ever before. If you think that they aren't turning your product over and you are just hoping they will take it because they "need" is...


Its just a matter of time before you are looking at a shelf full of your expired product wondering why.


Ignorance is not bliss.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Get it done...

If you needed some milk, bread and eggs at the store what would be your course of action? get in the car, go to the store and get what you need.

You mean you don't analyze the cost effectiveness of car versus walking...maybe a cab...or a bus ticket? You don't call all of your neighbors to see about car pooling? Certainly you would draw up a nice power point to detail the goal of obtaining the grocery items you need and review with your spouse!

Pun incoming...


You just get it done.

ROI's, Committee's , and Presentations have their place...but it isn't everywhere, all the time for obvious tasks.

Sometimes...Its just a quick trip across town...mission accomplished.

Resist the temptation to believe that Activity and Productivity mean the same thing.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ka-boom or Ker-plop.

We had a great 4th of July with family and friends yesterday. Swimming, kickball, great food and of course...going to see the fireworks. Every year it seems like they send them off a bit later. This year was the latest yet. In addition to the late start...they were the LONGEST we have ever seen.

Herein the problem resides.

If the fireworks had been incredible and attention grabbing in their display...everyone would have been on the edge of their seats. 35 plus minutes of here a cracker there a cracker could actually put you to sleep in your lounge chair as you looked into the dark July sky last night.

So the product was lackluster...what about the "customers". Let's face adults it is cool to see a great fireworks display...but the awe factor is in seeing a child view the spectacle.

When it is well after 10:30pm and over half the kids we had with us were out cold on the lawn...and the second oldest (7 years old) says..."I can't take this anymore" and drifts off to sleep in his dads lap...uhh...Houston...we have a problem.

So...2 for 2. Product and Customer expectations not met.

So you start the fireworks a little earlier and pack them into an amazing 10 minute display. Promote it ahead of time as the most amazing 10 minute display in WNY that you can't afford to miss.

The crowds will have a healthy expectation of what is to come...the customers will be overjoyed with the product and they will all be able to say...

'We were there".

Is your product causing your customers to want to tell your story?

Are you sure they are there? Or if they will come back?

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What do you think?

I read the following today...written by Peter Arnell in his book, Shift.

"When you have the most on the line and the least going for you, you learn the most about yourself."

When you read this what is your reaction?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

The post a comment button is just a few lines below.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Monday, June 28, 2010


Our daughter plays in a U8 soccer league in the summer, for which I am the coach. It is a great time to watch young kids develop their soccer skills, have a ton of fun, and make a lot of new friends in the process.

As coaches we actually stay on the field with the kids, instructing them as the game is going on. the game was nearing the end, one of the girls on our team looked at me and said...

" many more innings are left?"

Funny stuff...from the mouth of a young child, in a soccer league where score is not kept...and the focus is on getting the kids excited about the game as the main deal.

As many times have we asked a question, in the pursuit of our calling, that showed that we didn't have any idea what "game" we were even playing?

Stop being happy thinking you are just "in the game" today.

Because its possible...

You aren't even playing the game you think you signed up for!

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pancake Philosophy...

How do you eat a 10 inch pancake?

We had a great family brunch today at a local sugar shack that makes pancakes on Sundays to showcase their 20-some flavors of maple syrup.

We had never been there before...and as I ordered I somehow thought that 10 inches seemed like a doable size pancake to devour. ( Made it through about 25 percent...the rest came home in a take out container to be worked on later.)

When it came I could hardly see the plate it was resting on.

Sometimes when we have a really big thing to do in front of us...we need to remember that its done one bite at a time.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Friday, June 25, 2010

Who are you?

While driving the other day I noticed something interesting. A mini-van with lettering on it declaring that it was a "Courtesy Shuttle" for a car dealership.

I know...that isn't very interesting in and of itself. But the next part raised my eyebrows...

The make of the van was not the same as the cars the dealership sells. (The make of the cars they sell is actually in their dealership name!)

Courtesy Shuttle = Great Idea.

Missed Opportunity to protect their brand = Lame.

Are you saying one thing and showing everyone something else by your actions/words today?

Stop thinking that no one notices it when you cut corners.

It is so hurts.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Short, sweet and to the point.

What is the most creative idea you have heard in the last year?

Is it yours?

Why are you still sitting on it?

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Your break...

You might be living under a rock if you have not at least been passing someone else talking about the amazing finish to the USA World Cup Game today.

In soccer, the clock continues to run despite anything else that may be taking place on the field, from a slow restart, to players getting injured and the time it takes to get them off the field. In the final minute, an official on the sideline will hold up a sign that indicates how much "stoppage" time will be added on to the 45 minute half to make up for this. technical time the game was over...90 minutes...0-0...USA go home.

But...alas...4 minutes of stoppage time was put on the clock to continue play. In the 91st minute they did it. The last couple of minutes ticked away, and the USA advanced into 1 of 16 teams left...the knockout round...1 and done is up next.

Sometimes the break you need doesn't come "in regulation". It doesn't come when you think it should. You point to a crazy number of times when it was so close it was unreal...but you got turned away.

And then it stoppage time.

The take away?

The USA team fought 90 minutes with 0 goals to show for it. They took chances, took risks...and almost got it done. They didn't sit back and hope their opponent would make a mistake. They didn't wait for someone else to get it done for them. ( An England tie would have advanced the USA team if the USA also tied their game ).

So if you are looking for a break today as you pursue whatever it is that your heart beats out of your chest won't come because you want it to, wish it would, or wait for its arrival.

You have to fight for it.

Keep after it. You will never regret giving your best effort.

You will regret waiting to get lucky.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fed Ex and UPS aren't the only ones...

The 4 year old says to me today...

"I love the next day!"

I ask what he means by that and through a little back and forth I learn that he meant today. He was excited for his teacher to come visit.

It made me wonder how many times we have been so focused on "the next day" that we miss the chance to be excited for this day?

Been there, done that.

Tomorrow will be there when you get there, and there will be a tomorrow after that one, everyday, until your last day.

It would be a shame to never take advantage of being able to say...

"I love this day!"

Give it a try...better yet, slap a post up and share something you tackled today that you might have normally let slide into "Next Day" territory.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The EBS...

You know the are watching TV and all of a sudden a voice comes on, along with the visual of lots of colorful stripes on the screen...

"This is a test of the emergency broadcast system..."

It doesn't really alarm us...because the whole thing comes packaged with a disclaimer that they are just checking to be sure that the system that needs to be in place to communicate with us should there be an emergency is alive and well.

When was the last time you ran a little check on you?

You be sure that you had everything in place, ready to go should you have the opportunity to show the world what you had to offer.

Drop an idea off at the water cooler today. See if the ears around you "at work" are open to hearing from you.

You never know when the situation around you might call for your ability to lead others away from danger and into a better place.

If you never check to be sure you have the ability to communicate effectively and in a way that reaches your audience...your wisdom...well...isn't very helpful is it?

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy thoughts...

Just a short post tonight to pass on a few thoughts...

While at a soccer tournament today...I overheard a mother say to her son, just before his match started...

"Good Luck, Play Hard and Have Fun."

What a perfect outlook that we could all take to heart. Life comes at us fast, and remembering to give it everything we have and smile all the way through...a little luck tends to find us along the way just when we need it the most.

Enjoy your family tonight...they are a treasure.

Call an old friend just to say hello.

Pay for someone's bill in the car behind you at the drive through.

Sing really loud to your favorite song.

Take your kids to the dollar store and tell them they can have one treat...and they can pick from anything in the store.

Give church a try tomorrow...even if it's just to sit next to your dad. looks good on you.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Split...

He says..."Dad, I love the split!" I have no clue what he is talking about...only thinking that he has become a gymnast overnight.

I question what "The Split" is...and he shows me his Yogos dispenser. For those of you not familiar with Yogos...the sticker on it says, and I quote..."Yogurt Covered Fruity Dots". With that in mind I ask for some clarification...

He gets 2 of the dots to drop out of the dispenser, placing one each between his thumb and pointer finger in each hand. He bites once. He devours the first set and proudly displays in this fingers the somewhat mangled other half of each.

Here it comes...

He puts them together to come up with a multi-flavored, multi-colored Yogo called...

"The Split".

Wearing the grin only an inventor of such a creation could, he pops it in his mouth and finishes with...

"See Dad!"

Most of the world takes what is given to them for what it is.

Every once in a while we get creative and take it one step further...

Creativity is a beautiful thing.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Au Jus please...

It started as me grabbing a quick lunch before getting back to the yard work calling my name today.

Ever notice how great moments start rather inconspicuously? But I digress...

The roast beef sandwich, hot off the pizza stone, with a few guacamole flavored tortilla chips...and yes, the Au Jus.

I sat down on our porch next to guess who...yup...our 4 year old. It was in one of those tiny little chairs that makes you feel like the Jolly Green Giant when you sit in it, and wishing you had one of those medical alert necklaces you could pull for immediate help when you realize how hard it is to get out of them after 15 minutes.

I was eating my sandwich, took the first dip of the Au Jus and he says..."What's that?"

I reply...(everyone together now) "It's Au Jus". (Like that would clear things up)

He asks a bit more about what it is...I tell him it's for the sandwich...he tries it and likes it.

Now that is where the story ends...


You are my 4 year old.

He proceeds to try his tortilla chip in it.

Then his cheese that momma cut into little squares for him.

And the best part?

Despite several attempts by me to avoid trying it...he insists that for everything he tries, I must also follow suit. We agree that the chip wasn't bad in it...but the cheese was a little funny tasting.

So the next time you want to stick with Wikipedia to keep within the strictest of definitions for something...( Roast Beef in Au Jus...something we all understand), be willing to take a risk(Guacamole flavored tortilla chip in the Au Jus).

You never just might like it.

And if you like it you might share the idea with others.

Then they might like it.

And they tell their friends to try it.

They like it too.

That is what they call taking a risk...see how fun that is!

And you thought it would be better to just go through the motions where you are at?

You have a talent to use...go use it.

I can't wait to hear your stories...In the meantime...could you do me a favor?

Please pass the Au Jus.


With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What do Moses, you, and boogie boards have in common?

A room full of 4 year olds in a Sunday School class is the setting. The teacher poses the question that seems simple enough...simple enough to stump this room full of toddlers. That is, of course, assuming that said room doesn't have my son in there.

In that hear the following Q & A...

Teacher..."How do you think Moses and his people would get across the Red Sea?"

My Son..."He would just get a boogie board and boogie board across."

Are there times when the answer to your dilemma is obvious and the waters part before your very eyes? You betcha.

The rest of the time?

It's just grab a boogie board and go for it!

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


The 4 year old strikes again...As he devours his cheese quesadilla, he looks up at me and says...

"I'm gonna give myself a wedgie." (Seriously...I couldn't make this up if I tried to) So, as any parent would do I asked the question..."What did you just say?"

He proceeds with the most sincere look he can offer as he clears things up, at least from his point of view..."Remember, how those guys on TV did that."

Figuring that I have just been bumped out of the running for parent of the year, I try to rescue this conversation with logic...

"You shouldn't do that because it would hurt."

He doesn't skip a beat...

"I'll be gentle."

OK...after you pick yourself up off the floor laughing at how badly this dialogue is going for me at this point, I want you to shift gears a little.

Why in the world do we consider doing something just because someone else got "a reaction" by doing it?...and how do we manage to convince ourselves that being "gentle" will make it not hurt so bad?

Bottom line...sometimes a dumb idea is a dumb idea.

I'm sure we have all made a wedgie of a decision from time to time...but here is to hoping this little reminder encourages us to remember that standing out doesn't have to be synonymous with lack of good judgment.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Monday, June 14, 2010

There was this time when...

The ball left my foot.

I hope you don't think that the purpose of this blog is to tell you all the ways that you can go after your passions as I sit somewhere with my feet propped up in a recliner not going after mine.

I have had the incredible opportunity to coach soccer off and on, when I could squeeze it in, over the years. But none more than this past year.

You know how that happened? I drove in my driveway at a little after 5pm on a Friday afternoon in late August of last year...after a long day at a job that was draining the very life from me. ( story for another day ) I walked to the backyard where my wife and kids were...and told her I had an errand to run.

I got right back in my car...and drove to our local college athletic facility, where I hoped to see the head coach of the men's soccer team.

To apply for a job?...No.

I told him I needed to coach...I was good at it, had experience playing and coaching...and before he could finish his sentence about how he couldn't pay me...I let him know quickly...I wasn't there for money...just to coach.

Long story short...he was out a goalkeepers coach.

Guess who was a college goalkeeper?

You are catching on.

I am going into my second season there now...and my passion has an outlet.

So what door are you going to knock on today, because you can't take it anymore...because you have something that you are great at that you need to share with others.

Still nervous?

That's OK...A little edge is a good thing...but don't let it be the excuse not to knock on the door.

And if they are not there today? ( see: "excuse" )

Go back tomorrow.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Focus on what matters.

Take a trip to: (Click on the story "On Call")

to a short article about Doc Rivers, the coach of the Boston Celtics. Whether or not you are a fan of the NBA, basketball or sports...the lesson he teaches here translates.

Then come back and read the rest of this post :

My favorite take away...

"If you believe in something that will help your team, as rash as it might seem, do it."

When everyone around him shook their heads because he was losing games, Doc put a laser beam focus to what he felt mattered. He knew his team, the personalities, health and needs of the players on this team. He did not waver in his approach.

He was willing to "fail" in the short term knowing it was the best, if not the only, way to succeed in the long term.

End result?

2 more wins to an NBA Championship.

Will they win it? Time will tell.


Like I said before, it's not the win that is the take away...

Doc gave his team the opportunity to be in the conversation at the end of it all.

What are you doing to be in the mix?

Do you need to sacrifice the immediate praise of critics that are missing the point?

What is it that truly matters in your task right now?


Make a tough decision...even an unpopular decision.

You just might end up liking the outcome.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Saturday, June 12, 2010

You can't score if the ball never leaves your foot!

Would you rather have your name in lights on something that was known ahead of time would be a success, even if you had little to no true impact on its outcome...


Take a shot at something that could fail just as easily as it could succeed, knowing you stood to receive all the blame/all the credit when it was over?

From here on out lets park the term "job search"...say, in a lot somewhere near a large scrap yard.

I have no interest in finding just a job...I want to find a challenge.

At halftime of a soccer friendly, ( that is a non league, scrimmage type format for those not into the most beautiful game on earth ) I asked our team today, up 4-0, what mattered the most to them coming into the day.

Quickly a predictable response came..."To Win." ( wrong answer )

So here is my question for you.

If you "win" a game, or get a "job" does that define success?

Try these on...

"A win is a win", ""Winning ugly is still winning", "You play to win the game".


"A job is a job", "A bad job is still a job", "The goal is to get the job".

If this is your approach you are going to get exactly what you are looking for...a J-O-B.

Do yourself a favor today.

Pull up a chair and watch the USA vs. England World Cup Game at 2:30pm. 90 minutes of risk, chances taken, willingness to fail and missed shots.

If the score ends up 1-0 USA, will anyone care about the missed shots along the way?


And if the USA loses, will some say it was a failure? Yeah, and those are the same people that would rather sit back on the defense, play it safe, and hope to get lucky at some point in the match. ( AKA..."Job getters" )

Stop looking for just a job, and pursue greatness...a challenge...your calling.

So take the shot already!

When it's all said and done you might just look up and find the score...

You = 1
Your competition = 0

With Expectancy,

The Zuke

Friday, June 11, 2010

Own It.

This is for all of you who are out there looking for a job.

If you find yourself in the less than employed circuit these days, it's time to put down your glass of "whine" and own the next step.

I'll be the first to say that this "process" is about as much fun as admitting you liked Vanilla Ice as a teenager. ( no, not me on that one. )

Here comes the but...


It doesn't have to be that way.

I am going to run with the recent fan favorite in our house these days...

"Of course I can!"

When our 4 year old is told no to just about anything...his response is all we need to know about pursuing the passion that has long since been shoved aside in all of us...

"Of course I can."

I am going to leave you with a simple thought tonight...

Would you rather think about "that thing" you have always wanted to pursue as "I can't" or "I can." too...

I can, and I will.

With Expectancy,

The Zuke