Notes of Significance 2024

It’s February and we watched Ground Hog Day again. It seems that this tradition is, well, like the movie itself. The final scenes remind us that Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, has finally reached a level of significance in town through his generous acts. 

He has found meaning by catching a boy falling from a tree, fixing a flat for three elderly women, performs the heimlick on his own brother saving his life and seems to brighten everyone crosses his path. It’s a story worth re-telling and living. 

Favorite Podcast of the Week: We talked with Matt Abrahams, author or Think Faster, Talk Smarter.–58533366

You might enjoy hearing his 3-step, AAA method for saying I’m sorry. Acknowledge-Appreciate-Amends. Listen to the show and hear the details.  This isn’t Love Story b.s. 

In Think Faster, Talk Smarter, this Stanford lecturer, podcast host, and communication expert provides tangible, actionable skills to help even the most anxious of speakers succeed when speaking spontaneously. Abrahams provides science-based strategies for managing anxiety, responding to the mood of the room, and making content concise, relevant, compelling, and memorable. He certainly mentored me and I needed it! 

Book I’m Reading: “The Search, Finding Meaningful Work” by Bruce Feiler. Here are ten points to ponder for this week relative to significance: 

  • Work is the combination of what you do and how you feel about it. 
  • Success is how you balance time, effort, and money with purpose and happiness…what we call significance. 
  • We don’t tell our own life stories through the lens of significance.
  • Forget about the old saying “decide what brings you joy, then go after it with single-minded determination.” Only 2 in 10 people truly follow their bliss. Think about alignment before bliss. That’s alignment of your skills and strengths, and what you know about yourself that can help others. 
  • Explore three types of jobs in your future- The Main Job, The Side Job and the Hope Job. 9 out of 10 people surveyed have a hope job besides their Side Job. For some, it’s writing a children’s book or selling blueberry muffins at a farmers’ market. It’s a job you imagine would make you happier. 

I encourage you to buy The Search and explore this important conversation on how we spend our careers. 

The Reunion Series: In advance our upcoming high school reunion that happens to be hitting a certain milestone, we started conversations that have been quite revealing. Thanks to Bill Sappenfield, Delia Bullock, David Bornowski, Jim May, Elaine Wilson, Steve Melton, and Leska Blevins Papas. 

So far, we have learned that most classmates have a special calling, cause or mission that makes their lives worthwhile. It’s our Thee story with a higher sense of giving back. 

There is also a sense of belonging, our relationships, first friends, and colleagues that share memories of Sherman, Texas. It’s our We story. 

The other observation is that these friends took full agency. They have/had such a sense of freedom to create their own level of mastery. Every single Me story is about personal autonomy. 

Quote I’m Pondering: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

Here’s to a year of fueling your wild significance.  Rick


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Notes of Significance

In order to prepare for two interviews this past week, we devoted our music research time to Linda Ronstadt. You will enjoy our conversations with the Linda Ronstadt’s tribute band The Works. Riffing about Linda! Linda! show is Cathie Gilbert, lead singer and a dead ringer for Linda. Prodigy pianist David “Lightning” Robison is a great storyteller and adds color to this interview.

So, we are listening to Linda all week long. You’re No Good, Silver Threads and Golden Needles, Blue Bayou, her classic work with The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, smart collaboration with Aaron Neville, and her memorable mariachi era.  It’s really a soundtrack for our lives.

Our love for Linda started in 1976 when she was in concert at Texas A&M performing at the old rodeo arena we called G.Rollie White.  I think 70% of the dorm rooms had her poster nailed to the wall. Listen to her music today, and let it wash over you. We think you can hear the influence of all of her love entanglements with the likes of George Lucas, J.D. Souther, Albert Brooks, Governor Jerry Brown, and yes, Jim Carrey.

Enjoy this:

This past Friday, one of the greatest crooners of all time, Tony Bennett, left us. Anthony Dominick Benedetto, known professionally as Tony Bennett, was born on August 3, 1926, in Astoria, Queens, New York City. He grew up in a working-class Italian-American family, and from a young age, he showed a passion for singing. Tony’s family was supportive of his talent, and he began performing at local venues and gathering a small following in his teenage years.

In 1949, Tony Bennett got his big break when he was discovered by Pearl Bailey while singing at a nightclub in Greenwich Village. This led to an introduction to Bob Hope, who invited him to perform with him on tour. Soon after, Bennett signed a recording contract with Columbia Records. As a matter of fact, Mr. Hope actually gave Tony his stage name.

In the early 1950s, Tony Bennett’s career began to take off with the release of several successful songs, including “Because of You” and “Rags to Riches.” His smooth, velvety voice and unique phrasing made him stand out as a distinctive vocalist. His signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” released in 1962, became an iconic anthem for the city and one of his most beloved hits.

Our personal favorite TB songs included Fly Me to the Moon and That’s Why the Lady’s a Tramp. While you may think of Sinatra with these two tunes, it was Frankie, himself, that named Tony as the top singer of his day.

Honored at the White House by JFK in 1962 and Clinton in 1996, Tony won 20 Grammy’s and virtually every award. In his own  humble and humorous way, Tony said that “when you copy one artist’s style, you are a thief. When you copy many singers, that’s research!”

Of significance, Tony could still remember lyrics to most of his songs until the sweet end of his life. He sang Because of You to his wife, just two days before he passed. Nothing, including Alzheimer’s, could wipe out the memory of the lyrics. Nothing!

Book I’m Reading: You might like this book on the science of the art and science of what we eat. We recommend Tasty by Pulitzer Prize author John McQuaid. My big takeaway is that we should help our grandkids develop diverse taste between the ages of two and three.

Startling Quote I’m Pondering: “I didn’t know why I couldn’t sing – all I knew was that it was muscular or mechanical. Then, when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I was finally given the reason. I now understand that no one can sing with Parkinson’s disease. No matter how hard you try. And in my case, I can’t sing a note.” Linda Ronstadt

Have a good week and share your gifts this week with others.    Rick

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