Category Archives: Lessons from my Youth

Ability: Are You A Little Flat?

To be an exceptional leader, you must have ability to do so;
or, at least the desire to have ability.

I once said to a friend, “I would give anything to play the

My friend replied, “obviously not, or you’d already be a
piano player

So true!  I realized
that I didn’t want to be a piano player bad enough to put in the effort. 

How about you?  Are
you willing to work hard for what you really want?  Exceptional leaders have the ability to do
many things.  In the areas where they
lack ability, exceptional leaders learn, study and practice their desired skill.

That being said, everyone has the ability to inspire and
motivate others.  That is the essence of
leadership.  Recognizing your strengths,
and enhancing them is where you likely fall short of your capacity to lead.

Bob Marley, a man who exhibited much musical talent said, The
greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity
and his ability to affect those around him positively”.

And positively speaking, Norman Vincent Peale proclaimed, Believe
in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable
confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy

Having belief in ourselves is often the hardest challenge to
overcome.  I find it is so much easier if
I focus on what I CAN do, and think less of the things that I CANNOT do.

realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one
can build a better world.  ~
Dalai Lama

We are innately blessed with certain gifts, talents and skills;
yet we have a hard time seeing these abilities in ourselves.  If you’re like me, and you believe in God, or
a power greater than yourself, then you understand that you are here for a
reason, and that the abilities you possess will help, guide and nurture others
if you have a desire to do so.

From the New Testament in 2 Peter 4:11, we read,

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as
of the ability which God giveth….

Ponder on your strength, abilities, and natural talents.  Decide how you will nurture those abilities
as you strive for exceptional leadership. 
Consider lessons from that piano I always wanted to play:

Whether you are sharp, a little flat, or always natural, a beautiful
piece of music contains all these elements.  

When you enhance your talents, strengthen your weaknesses, and act in a
manner true to yourself, you will be an instrument of exceptional leadership.

What ability are you going to enhance in the next 30 days?

The S in S.E.L.F. is for SACRIFICE

My last several posts have been about SACRIFICE.  I have been thinking about the way we learn leadership, and I’ve discovered that it is really about self-leading.  My new campaign is shown in this image:

For the short-term , I will be talking about these four areas of self-leadership:

  • LOVE

In my past posts, I have given examples of BIG ways people have sacrificed for others…..
Sacrifice, Seeds and Starvation
Sacrifice and Heroism
The #1 Characteristic of Exceptional Leaders

Today, is a personal experience.  No heroics, just personal sacrifices I’ve made toward becoming a better leader.

In his Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith tell us,….a religion that does not require the sacrifice
of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary
unto life

Sacrifice of all things.  That’s pretty big.  This doesn’t just apply to religion, though.  Religion is something we are accountable to; but we are accountable to ourselves as well–perhaps even more.  Therefore, WE must sacrifice all things if we want to have sufficient power to produce faith unto life.

In my journey toward leadership, I have sacrificed much.  Facing fears of rejection, humiliation, friends, even family relationships required sacrifice.  When I decided to break the silence of childhood abuse many years ago, I sacrificed all of these things and more.

I have sacrificed my own desires many times because of my loyalty to an employer, an organization, even my church and family.  These sacrifices have NOT weakened me.  They have empowered me.  I have not lost who I am, but I have been able to find who I am.  Sacrifice.

On July 1st, 2010 I began serving as one of the top three leaders in a non-profit organization. This organization was Toastmasters International, and I was the third in charge of roughly 3500 members as the Lt.Governor Marketing for District 2. 

On July 1st, 2011 I had moved up one seat, and served as the Lt. Governor Education and Training.  By July 1st, 2012 I was the head honcho, the big cheese, the lady in charge of District 2.  I was the District Governor.  Yikes!  I thought I had been working hard the two previous years; but because I never do anything less than 100%, I charged in full speed and set out to motivate and lead a team of about 75 volunteers in this very large organization.

What did I sacrifice for leadership? 

  • Sleep
  • Meals
  • Vacations
  • Blogging
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Career advancements
  • Income
  • Client relationships
  • Seminars
  • Conferences
  • Time spent with family

I’m not complaining, because I’m VERY glad I took on the challenge to lead in the Toastmaster organization.  I don’t believe that I would have had the opportunity to learn the leadership lessons I did any other way.  I had the chance to be the CEO of an organization with 3500 + “employees”.  Wow!  And did I mention that every minute of it was voluntary?  I was never paid anything.

With all the sacrificing it took to lead District 2, I never sacrificed my integrity, my religious beliefs, or my self-respect.  Nor did I ever compromise on the goals I set out to accomplish. 

I did not meet all the benchmarks that I wanted to as District Governor, but I left District 2 stronger and better than when it was put in my charge.  I’m happy with that.

The sacrifices I made gave me power sufficient to produce necessary

What have YOU sacrificed?

 What power have YOU been able to produce because of your sacrifice?

3 Decades of Growth, Gratification and Gloom

December 10th, 1982

Yes, thirty years is a long time ago.  I have a hard time believing that it’s been that long myself.  But nevertheless, it has been 30 years since the day I married Arny Bailey.  It was a raining, cold day in Mesa, AZ when we said our “I do’s”.  And we have withstood many rainy, cold days since then.

I had just turned 19 a few weeks before, and Arny was 21 that previous August.  We were young by today’s standards, but we had grown-up long before–both having challenges in our youth that forced maturity beyond our physical age.  I think we both hoped for relief from the challenges we faced up until then, but after 30 years together,  it’s safe to say that we’ve only matured in our ability to handle challenge.

If I were to title each decade of our marriage in one word, those words would be GROWTH, GRATIFICATION AND GLOOM.  Let me tell you what I mean…..

1982-1992 – GROWTH
We saw many changes in our family during this decade:
1. Holly born in 1983
2. 1st home purchased in 1986
3. Cory born in 1986
4. Moved from Mesa, AZ to Kirkland, WA in 1990

We had growth in the size of our family and much growth in our experiences as pioneers moving to a new land and a new home.

We finally saw the outcome of many of our choices, and were blessed to see our children coming of age.
1. Career changes for Arny and Jackie
2. Purchased our 2nd home in 1997
3. Both kids developed talents in music and athletics
4. Took our first cruise in 2001
4. Holly graduates high school in 2002

We had survived most of the teenage years, added two dogs to the family, and life was mostly good!

2002-2012 – GLOOM
It seemed the good times were short-lived, and although there were many moments of real joy, the last decade has been one of loss.
1. Cory graduates high school in 2004
2. Holly marries Matt in 2006
3. Sammy is born in 2009
4. A series of events leads to loss of business, home, and cars leading to bankruptcy in 2010

It’s safe to say that the last 10 years have been a slow down hill ride that has led to much gloom and hopelessness.  Even with the celebrations that have happened here and there, this has been the most challenging decade by far.

Tomorrow will be the first step that Arny and I take into our fourth decade.  With so much possibility, and so much we can’t predict, it’s with a little trepidation that those steps are taken.  We own very little in the definition of wealth; are uneducated by traditional standards; and claim no notoriety outside of our circle of friends and acquaintances. 

However, Arny and I are rich in the understanding of marriage and stick-togetherness; we hold the highest degrees possible from the school of hard knocks; and we are leaders in the areas where we’ve developed our talents, and where we’ve chosen to serve. 

If we are destined to experience the same challenges and blessings in the next thirty years that we’ve experienced in the last 30 years, at least we’ve learned HOW to survive it.  And hopefully we’ll still be experiencing it together.

I love you, Arny.  Here we go……..

I Got YOU, Babe

Cat Versus Raccoon

I was awakened very early this morning by an unnerving sound.  I heard crying outside the french doors that lead from my master bedroom onto the backyard deck.  It was a horrific cry; a cry that sounded like a small child in pain or extremely frightened. 

After clearing the sleepy fog in my head, I realized it was the sound of a cat crying.  Now, I’ve heard cat fights before, but since I didn’t hear a second cat, I realized that this was a much more serious situation.  My guess is that a cat and a raccoon were about to prove that the strongest would survive, and the weakest….well, would not.

I don’t own a cat, and therefore I didn’t jump up to save fluffy from certain death.  However, I did get up to look out the window.  Despite the sound continuing, I didn’t see anything.  Eventually the sound of a scuffle began, and it was frightening to listen to the sound of life and death battling right outside my bedroom.

Soon the horrible cries moved farther away, and I don’t know the final outcome.  (I think it’s probably better I don’t).  But I laid there in the dark unable to fall asleep.  I kept thinking about that poor frightened kitty, and even about the poor family it belonged to who would be very sad if fluffy doesn’t return in the morning.

This life and death struggle I heard really affected me, and I think I know why.  It’s been a little over a week since I witnessed a different life and death struggle involving my son.  Nine days ago my 26 year-old son crashed while longboarding and fractured his skull in two places.

It is every parents nightmare; getting the phone call with the message, “He’s been taken to the emergency room at Harborview and is bleeding from his ears”Harborview Hospital is a number one trauma hospital.  Only the worst of the worst trauma cases are taken there.  This wasn’t good.


The emergency room waiting area was full that Saturday night, but when my husband and I told them who we were there to see, they were very attentive to us.  Within minutes we were assigned a social worker and were sent to a private waiting room where we found two of our sons friends already there.  These two young men had been with our son when he crashed and were now covered in blood that belonged to him.

We were told that a CT scan was currently under way with our son, and that we would be able to see him a few minutes from then.  Our social worker prepared us that our son would be intubated and sedated.  She also told us that he was covered in blood, and still bleeding heavily from his head and ears.  She wasn’t sure if he’d be able to hear us if we talked to him, but that we were certainly welcome to do so.

We were still unprepared to see what we did when we entered that small emergency room.

The CT Scan results:

  • Right temporal longitudinal fracture
  • Left temporal longitudinal fracture
  • Right frontal subdural hematoma
  • Right temporal subdural hematoma

Cory had not been wearing a helmet, going very fast down hill on his longboard, and crashed hitting his left buttock, right shoulder and the back of his head on the pavement.  We were told that Traumatic Brain Injury and skull fractures can cause many, many health problems, and there was no way at that point we could know how much damage had been done.

We waited for another CT Scan 5 hours from then to see if the bleeding hematomas would have increased in size.  We found out that the frontal subdural hematoma had increased in size by 2mm.  This was a fairly slight increase in 5 hours, and therefore it was on the side of good news. 

Another CT Scan would be done 8 hours from then, and they prepared our son a room in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit.  We left him in the competent hands of the medical team at Harborview to see him though his life and death struggle.

When we arrived in the ICU the following morning, we were very surprised to see the our son at been extubated and, although very confused, was sitting up and talking to us!  He was still oozing blood from his ears; he was experiencing an extreme headache; and he was having a difficult time hearing us.  In time, we’ve come to understand the reason for the hearing loss….

Last night I heard the sounds of a life and death struggle.  Nine days ago I witnessed my son in a life and death struggle.  How do these events compare?  Both were preventable. 

Why own a domesticated cat only to allow it to live like a wild animal?  Why participate in dangerous behavior and not protect yourself with the proper equipment? 


Lead properly those you have stewardship of, like a pet.  We have to make decisions for our pets and minor family members that they can’t make for themselves.  IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY.

It is also our responsibility to make choices for ourselves that effect our health and well-being.  LEADING ourselves is just as important as LEADING others!  Every decision we make affects those around us in some way.  We are intertwined, and therefore caring for ourselves allows us to care for others.  THAT IS LEADERSHIP.

I’m happy to report that my son is improving slowly.  He still has a headache.  He still has ringing in his ears, and he still has significant hearing loss.  He is LUCKY.  He walked away with minor injuries compared to most individuals in the same situation.  Most of the young men that crash in the same way my son did don’t walk out of the hospital, they are wheeled out and into a long-term care center.  Most of them don’t talk.  Most of them have facial paralysis.  Most of them have brain injuries so severe that they can’t make a different decision the next time.  For these young men there will be no “next time”.

I implore any young people that may be reading this, and any parents with teens, pre-teens, or young adult children that you show your children the pictures of my son.  Show them what can happen.  Tell them that their lives can be changed in an instant.

My son, Cory was lucky.  So many more are not.  Sometimes even the strongest DO NOT survive!

All I know about leadership I learned from Boomerang

Did you think there was a typo in my post title?  Should it have been “a boomerang”?  Well, no.  Because Boomerang is the name of my dog.  My dog who would have been 12 years old today had he not died 9 days ago from hemangiosarcoma of the spleen.

You know those posters that say, “All I ever needed to know about…….I learned from…….”?  Well, this post is going to be composed in the style of those corny posters.  However, my poster title would be:

All I ever needed to know about life, love and leadership I learned from my dog, Boomerang

1. The purpose of life is to discover your passion and to focus on your strengths.
Boomer loved toys.  He liked the squeaky toys, and the stuffed toys, and ANY kind of ball.  And when he was a puppy he LOVED socks! 
Boomer invited everyone he met to play with him. He’d run to get a toy as soon as he met you.  I called him “Mr. Social Pants” because he knew how to make friends.  One downside to that is the way he’d put his head between your legs–not to get fresh, mind you—but to invite you to scratch his neck.  No one ever met Boomer who didn’t end up having to scratch his neck. 
His passion was toys, and his strength was making friends.

2. Communicate properly
Boomer and I started learning about, and competing in Canine Agility when he was 6 months old.  . Agility was a wonderful way to bond with a dog.  The dog must learn to focus on the handler.  But as the leader,  I had to be sure I was communicating properly to the dog in HIS language, not mine.

3. Add value to the lives of others
If you’ve ever owned a dog, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Boomer always tried hard to make others happy.  He wasn’t all that interested in actually running the agility course, but he did it because it’s what I wanted him to do.  Even in his final days, when cancer was causing him to waste away, he never hesitated to come see me when I walked in the door.  He must have been in tremendous amounts of pain, but Boomer still wanted to play because he wanted me to be happy.

I remember a magnet that used to hang on my refrigerator that said,
“May I be the kind of  person my dog thinks I am.”

Boomer held on to life for almost a week longer than he should have because I was out of town, and I selfishly couldn’t bare to miss saying goodbye.  His cancer could have ruptured at any moment. He lost 5 pounds in the week I was gone.  Upon my arrival, I spent that last night by his side just petting him and telling him I loved him.  He seemed ready to go the next morning. 

When the time came, and the pink liquid went into his veins, he simply laid his head down in my arms and fell asleep.  There were no last breaths or movement.  It was very peaceful.  I said goodbye to my agility partner; my special buddy; my Mr. Man, my teacher of life, love and leadership.  He taught me so much, and I am a better person by having his special spirit in my life.

I hope you’re chasing all the balls you can find in heaven, Boomerang!

August 29th, 2000 – August 20th, 2012

Leadership is Messy!

My desk as I walked in this morning.  This doesn’t take into account the 6-7 boxes I have in the living room ready to load into my car for a training tomorrow.  Nor does this picture cover the materials on the kitchen table where I tend to lay things down when I come into the house.

So many projects all at once!

Emerald City Consulting 
Physician Consulting, Inc 
Navigating Your Fishbowl
Toastmasters International District 2
The Relief Society

Family, bills, dogs, yardwork, laundry, housecleaning, cooking, shopping, car maintenance, exercise, personal study…..  Calgon, Take me Away!!!!

Yep, leadership is messy, and I need a bath!!!!!

22 Years of Missing my Dad on Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to you Dad’s out there!

This is a picture of my Father and Mother in 1948.  They were divorced in 1976.  I didn’t know my Father all that well (except that he was color-blind), and I don’t recall many happy times when they were married.  But my parents separation was devastating to my Father as illustrated in the words of a letter he wrote to me when I was merely 12 years old at Christmas in 1975….

“Jackie I want you to know how very sorry I am for the many things that I have done to cause this separation in our family.  Many times in our lives we realize our own mistakes only after it is too late.  This is a very terrible and heart breaking thing to have to live with the rest of your life…..I truly love your mother, and I would do anything, or give anything to have her back again.”

Both of my parents remarried.  This is my Father and step-Mother with me and my husband, Arny on our wedding day in 1982. 

I would like very much to be forgiven and loved again by everyone, and especially you,”  my Father wrote me in that letter in 1975.  I never felt that there was anything to forgive my Father for. 

A few years after our wedding, Arny and I bought a home less than a mile away from Daddy and Liz.   I finally had opportunity to know my Dad better.  Liz had three young boys, whom Daddy had adopted, and they were a fun addition to the family.  My family was multiplying, too with the addition of my two children, Holly and Cory.

On Father’s Day of 1990, Arny, Holly, Cory and I took a cake over to my Dad’s house.  There was no answer at the door, which was unusual because my Dad was almost always home when he wasn’t working.  Rather than leave the cake, we decided to come back later that night.   We got side-tracked with other things, and didn’t make it back over to their house.

Two days later, my Father died suddenly of a heart attack.  Regret had set in hard.  My Father’s words haunted me..”this is a very terrible and heart breaking thing to have to live with the rest of your life…..

I read a poem at Daddy’s funeral on June 25th, 1990.  I was a little embarrassed then because it seemed so child-like.  But perhaps we wax child-like when we lose a parent.  Here are my words:

He Was My Daddy

He was my Daddy; a simple man
Who’d watch TV with remote in hand
He’d watch Hee Haw, sports and news
But he couldn’t tell his browns from his blues
He was color-blind; and he always said
That his favorite color was “strip-ed”

You could count on Daddy to tell a good joke
And he always drank Pepsi instead of Coke
Daddy worked hard, and NO ONE could say
That he’d cheated his boss of an honest pay
He’d always been quiet and shy from the start
But he cared for others.  Daddy had a soft heart

He lived the Gospel.  He knew it was right
And he was home with his family every night
Daddy was never too tired, or had too much to do
When you needed his help, he’d see it through
He was very proud of his daughters and sons
Daddy had raised two families instead of one

Now, he wasn’t rich, nor held a degree
But he was the very best dad he could be
He’d never run for office, nor marched for a cause
But he’d never been arrested, nor broken a law
He’d never been to Europe or taken a cruise
But he taught his family the right things to choose

Daddy wasn’t honored or revered by men
But I think he’d live the same life again
He served mankind, as he served the Lord
Daddy endured to the end, and kept God’s word
He lived life worthy; he’s passed his test
Heavenly Father will tell him, “You’ve done your best”

He’s living now on a heavenly plane
We will be with him if we live life the same
It will be joyous; we’ll all be so glad
When we see again our wonderful Dad!

“I hope that we can both try to live our lives here on earth so that we can be together in the here-after”.

I’m trying, Daddy…..I’m trying….Happy Father’s Day!

HR Thursday: Dress for the Weather

If you want to avoid the nightmare of harassment claims in your business, then you must DRESS FOR THE WEATHER! 

Watch this VIDEO to understand what I mean…

PREVENTION, STEP 1:  Provide written policy and regular communication. 

A well-written harassment policy should do the following:

  • Define what constitutes harassment (you learned that on this very blog a few weeks ago)

  • Explicitly state that “harassment of any kind will not be tolerated

  • Outline reporting channels and methods, and insist employees report any harassment concern

  • Assure employees that a complaint will be treated as confidentially as possible

  • Notify staff that investigations will be initiated upon receiving a complaint to determine its validity

  • Inform staff that appropriate disciplinary action, which may include discharge, will be taken against any guilty offenders

This policy should be:

  1.  Included in your policy manual

  2. Covered in orientation programs for new hires

  3. Redistributed at least annually for continued emphasis

  4. Referenced during antiharassment training programs (at a minimum)

Taking these steps will ensure that all employees know or should know the policy and procedure at your business.  Don’t just issue the policy once and never revisit it.  Ongoing communication is vital, and may possibly save you a lot of money!

Have you ever paid the price for NOT being prepared?

All of the facts and stats on todays post are taken from a 2010 article in Dental Economics by Tim Twigg and Rebecca Crane of  Bent Ericksen & Associates 

Urine, rocks and ruts. What could this post possibly be about?

I went to camp 5 of these 100 years as a youth, and then at least 3 more as an adult!

When I saw this, I realized that most of the important knowledge I have about leadership was developed while I attended Camp Lo Mia in Arizona as a youth. Here’s just 3 lessons learned:

1. You have to take in as much, or more than you put out.

Seriously? Pee in my water bottle?

We can get mentally and emotionally dehydrated if we over-extend ourselves.  To ensure there’s enough knowledge, energy and creativity to withdraw from our leadership account, we must make deposits regularly.

2. Challenges are more enjoyable when you take time to rock-hop.

Rock-hopping? What’s that?

To achieve your goals, you have to find a little time for enjoyment.  Success comes, and leadership is developed during the process of the challenge–not at the moment of it’s completion.

3. Bumps can be blessings in disguise.

Don’t avoid the bumps, they may be blessings….

We are trained to think that bumps and ruts in the road of our leadership journey are obstacles to be avoided.  However, when we least expect it, those bumps are often our greatest blessings.

Attending girls camp every summer as a youth not only taught me how to build fires, administer first aid, cook over an open flame, tie knots and navigate by the sun and stars; it taught me true leadership principles that still apply today!