On Top of The World

Chris Story

Teaching to the test…

Teaching to the test…the secret test.

How many times have you heard..this will be on the test.

In life…no one tells you “this will be on the test”

YOU are left to your own devices…till now.

Here is what you can expect on the test…the secret test of life.

It’s not what you think.

A business failure?…..nope!  That’s not the test. YOU will make mistakes…and you will encounter failure.

The real test…is how you repsond to the event.

For your notes…..the event isn’t the test…YOUR response to the event is the secret test and will determine your outcome.

Only you will know your score…An A+ takes you to the top of the world!

you matter

Standing at the edge of the core…

What you’re doing is so loud I can’t hear a word you’re saying!

Ken Blanchard, author of the One Minute Manager, said Core Values must be communicated.

YOU communicate your core values with everything you do.  No matter what your mission statement says…or what you profess to the world…..What you do is more important than what you say YOU do!

What are your core values?  Are you communicating your core values with the way you live?

Do you live by the Golden Rule…..or just say you do?

Try this….write down your top 3 core values…then ask your best friend, wife or husband to write down what they think YOUR top 3 core values are……..

YOU will learn a lot about yourself with this exercise…..match your core values with what you do….and you will be living on Top of the world.

core values

The Honor of Humility…

The Honor of Humility

Lao Tzu reminds you that Humility is the spring from which greatness grows…

Some of the most successful people who have accomplished so much are humble…Larry King said that he found that the great ones also happen to be the nicest ones.

  • To humble yourself is a sign of strength and character…not weakness.

Lao Tzu also wrote that Too much honor means no honor.

It’s cliché but true…pride comes before a fall!

YOU have an opportunity every day to be humble…when parking your car…leave the closest spot open…a walk will feel great.

At work….listen…really listen and honor your peers with humility; seek first to understand…then be understood.

Through humility….you will take your place on Top of the World


Have you met Fred?

Meet Fred….Fred the postman!  Fred Lives on Top of the World!

Mark Sanborn wrote an entire book about his postman…the Fred Factor.  YOU might think Fred carries letters and packages from house to house on his route.

Fred thinks he is an ambassador, salesman and CEO of his own corporation.  Fred provided such incredible, timely and outstanding service to Sanborn, Mark simply had to write about it.

Fred didn’t ask for permission to go over the top with his job, he simply did!  And those that he served will never forget him.

YOU have an opportunity every day, in every walk of life to provide the FRED factor. 

YOU can deliver more in USE-Value than you take in CASH-value……..and YOU will feel like the world is yours……YOU’LL be living on top of the world!

Fred on Top

Worlds Most Powerful Question: WHY?

Have you stopped asking…why?

When you were a kid you asked why all the time~right?  Why did you stop asking why?

YOU can start again.  So you know the most often asked question on Earth…..what do you DO?

Now ask why?  Why do you do what you do?

Let’s start right now.  I’ll ask you; what do you do?  …mmmm….why?

Why do you do what you do?  Listen for the answer…it may take a few iterations; let them come and go.

You will get to your answer…your truth.   Why you do what you do is way more important than what you do.

YOU may not like your answer….but ask any way!  Why…?  Why not live on top of the world?

on top question

Do YOU Believe…

What do you believe?

Specifically what do you believe about yourself?

Merriam Webster defines Believe as accepting something as truth.

What do you believe about YOU…what have you been lead to believe?

Are you living in the shadow of what others believe about you… your limits…your weaknesses?

Were you the “shy” one…the chubby one…the slow one or the Head strong one?

To believe something….you have to accept it.  That requires consent…….have you given yourself consent to write your own script?

  • Determine for yourself what YOU will believe about you.  Accept nothing less than what you believe YOU are capable of.

Believe it or not….It’s up to you…..I believe you belong on Top of the World!

who do you think you are

You are the Solution…

Do you pray for peace? 

March for peace…wish for peace?

Are you on a trek for peace from one end of the earth to the other?

What if you could find peace….right where you are?  What if you are the answer to all conflict in every corner of the world?

Buddha said peace comes from within…do not seek it without.

Ronald Reagan said that peace isn’t the absence of conflict….it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.

In you is the answer…YOU are the last line of defense.  IF there will be peace on earth…IT must start with YOU!

YOU were born with a purpose and endowed with the seeds of greatness.

Draw on your greatness today…and you’ll be living on top of the world; a World @ Peace!

You x world equals peace

Feeling Blue? Read this…

Feeling blue?  A little down….perhaps even sorry for yourself?

Don’t mean to interrupt you…….by all means carry on.

Here is what James Allen…author of As a man Thinketh would tell you.

Circumstances don’t make you…they reveal you.  So…who are you?

James also said you are what you think about…most of the time.

As you consider your situation and just how truly dreadful it is; imagine how much worse you can make it by being down…really down.

Lower your shoulders…breathe shallow and focus on the negative.  YOU can do better than that.

  • OR…….reverse course. 
  • Pick your head up…take a deep breath……look for what is going right…..and who can you help right now…..be of service.  YOUR troubles can wait…focus on giving and you will be on top of the world!

Chris Story

down and out

A Dog Named Betty…

A dog named Betty

A story of second chances and redemption.

As you walk through your local animal shelter; look into the eyes of the lonely and discarded.  You will see shades of humanity at its best and worst.

Oh yes, we love the puppies, the tiny cute little puppies that melt your heart.  But what of the older dogs, the wise and white whiskered souls that stare through the chain link wondering with every sound if their “best” friends are coming for them.

Yes cat people, I hear you; you’ll have to substitute the word cat in your mind wherever you see/hear dog.  This tale is for the dogs; the kind gentle friends that live to please their people.

My 11 year old daughter decided one day that she’d like to volunteer at our local animal shelter.  Warning to any new parents; you should be aware that your children volunteering at the animal shelter is code for “YOUR GETTIING a NEW PET”.

Just accept it and prepare, it will be better for everyone if you don’t fight it; resistance is futile.

We dropped her off for the first day; I can still see her in those light blue jeans, purple tee shirt and faded pink zip up sweatshirt.  She had her hair pulled back in a high pony, and bangs straight across her angelic face.  With bright blue eyes she looked back for a split second, just long enough to say good bye as she rushed into the fray; those animals needed a champion.  This young girl would provide comfort, the kind of comfort that only love can bring; even if for a short period of time.

I went back to my studio in our home to work, the audio book was back on and the world outside those walls disappeared.  Our pottery studio was busy, we had orders to fill for dozens of customers; my way of thinking, life was pretty much perfect.

Happy family, food on the table and more work than we could accomplish; what more could you ask for?  We owned our own home and we could walk to the ocean in less than 4 minutes, we had awoken to the American Dream.

Hold on, let’s look at this picture again; me, my wife and two great daughters, check.  Home near the ocean, check.  Mini-van adequate to haul entire family plus friends, check.  Healthy business working out of our home studio, check.

You may see the hole in this otherwise perfect picture, standing right there next to it I sure couldn’t.  You guessed it; the American Dream isn’t complete without the family dog.

My wife Tiffanie went to pick up our daughter at the pound, what happened next can best be described by reading Mutiny on the Bounty; I was thrown overboard as it were.

From my studio, I heard the front door open, and then close; followed by the pattering of feet oddly still wearing shoes, then the bedroom door opened, then the bathroom door which lead next to my studio at the farthest end of the house.

The door flung open, Ashley stood there in the center of the doorway looking up at me with wide eyes, and a wider smile.

“Dad, you have to come meet Betty, she is so beautiful and sweet.  You’ll love her daddy!  Come and meet Betty.”

Second tip for the naïve; “daddy” is often reserved for moments just like this, this would be known as the nuclear option.  You might refuse the smile and bright eyes, but the word “daddy”; unless you’ve got some Jedi knight kind of super powers, she’s getting what she wants.

And what she wanted was for me to meet Betty; whoever she was.  Given the very human name, I held a little hope out that Betty was a kindly helper at the shelter.  She wasn’t.

Point of fact, we weren’t really sure what Betty was.  The folks at the shelter said she had the slight and agile body of a Border Collie, but the color and ears of a lab.  Whatever she was, Betty was destined to be ours.

Ashley escorted her mother and I into the cell, well, that’s what it looked like, where Betty was kept.  She had the smallest little feet, long slight legs, ears that flopped over her narrow head, her black coat was a little dusty, and her white chest was a little dingy.  Betty was sad, you might even say pathetic.  Her eyes were lidded, she looked up when she saw Ashley approaching; perhaps out of a sense of astonishment that she’d lived up to her promise to return, or the anticipation of a new home, Betty perked up and came to life when her new friend kneeled down.  Ashley threw her arms around her neck, squeezed, Betty closed her eyes.  She was loved, not knowing for how long, she seemed to want to savor it while it lasted.

What a lesson there for you and I.

Ashley turned back to us, “Can we?  Please!”

I shook my head, kneeled down, and almost if on cue, Betty got up slowly, like an arthritic old woman and came to me; she rested her head on my knee, lowered herself to the concrete again, and looked up at me, holding eye contact longer than I’ve seen any dog before.

Again, I shook my head no.  Betty continued to stare; we stopped by the store on the way home for dog food.  Needless to say, I lost that staring contest.

Betty?  I couldn’t imagine us out there saying, “here Betty!  Or put that down Betty!  Or bad Girl Betty!”  No, we needed a proper name; I grew up with dogs with proper names like Bunny, Snowball, Butch and Muffin.

Ashley didn’t like any of the suggestions I threw out there, then she and her sister were playing with Betty outside the next day, they all three came running back into my studio, “Dad we have a new name, Abby!”

I  looked down at her standing there between her two girls, for some reason it was perfect.  In fact, you couldn’t see her as anything but an Abby.

Abby would wonder off from time to time, thus explaining how she ended up at the pound in the first place.  We always found her, and quickly realized that really she found us.

Our family was complete, our American dream was complete.  Abby had made our home warmer, and for some reason in short order, it was like she’d been there all along.

Abby had been given by the grace of an 11 year old girl a second chance.  She saw in the dusty, thin, older dog the puppy that was waiting to burst out.  The Vet said that Abby was probably about 3 years old when she came into our lives; but for all Abby knew she was three months.  She played, ran and acted up like a puppy.

When we moved, we wondered how Abby would take to the new house, she loved it.  She loved living on the bluff overlooking the Bay.  She would run the bluff line in both directions, making new friends of all of our neighbors, and the occasional porcupine.

Abby never wondered too far from home, and if we didn’t notice her sitting there on the porch waiting to be let in, she’d give a reminder bark.

Ashley grew up, graduated high school and moved on to the big city; Abby missed her, but still had her little one to watch over.  She was getting on in years, slowing down and her eyesight was failing her.

One day I heard Tiffanie screaming from the front porch, when I came running out I saw Abby lying motionless in the street.  I raced to her, kneeled down and scooped her little body into my arms; there was blood, she was yelping quietly.  It didn’t look good for Abby.

I carried her into the house and laid her on her big cushioned blue bed with yellow piping.  She stopped yelping and was still.  She had a mellow look in her eyes, and I worked her legs, no pain, then I discovered the source of the blood, a large gash on the back of her head.

She was meant to see another day; we were so relieved.

Abby was with our family for about ten years before we started to notice her age, it would be another year before she did.  But when age caught her, she would begin to wind down; it became painful to get up in the morning, she staggered a little and would occasionally just flop over.

Tiffanie and I would exchange knowing looks; we might have to make a very hard decision soon.  Like everything in Abby’s life, she would make it easy on us; she knew her time was near.  She was visiting my father in law for an afternoon, and from there she embarked on her final trek.  She wondered off into the vast wilderness surrounding his property.  Not wanting to be a burden, she staggered off and lay down, nestled into the land that she loved and drifted away.

Abby had come into our lives by the virtue of our loving daughter; that was a hard phone call to make.

We all grieved for our loss, but looked at photos and shared memories and stories of how this little black dog became part of our family.

Tennessee Williams said that Hell is yourself, and the only redemption is when a person puts himself aside to feel deeply for another person.

Betty, aka Abby, may not have been a person, but I find the lessons she taught me over the years we had her to be very valuable.  Truth is, Abby still teaches me to this day; when my patience is running short, I think of the times that I scolded her too harshly, and she had understanding and forgiveness in her eyes.

Yes, Abby got from us what every dog deserves, love, a warm bed and plenty of food.  When all is said and done, we know that we got far more than we could ever have given that sweet little dog named Betty.



Are YOU Experienced?

Are you experienced?
Have you ever made a mistake?
Of course you have; everyone has made mistakes in their life. In fact, Oscar Wilde said that experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.
So I guess Jimi Hendrix was asking a pretty valid question, “Are you experienced?”
One of my favorite periods of Japanese pottery is the 7th-century Iga ware; a finished Iga piece to some looks like one mistake after another. It’s the imperfections and the showing of the work in the form of dents, lines, creases and cracks that make the work so appealing to me.
You and I have our own imperfections that make us exactly who we are; you might as well embrace them.

Continue reading…