Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas Cards *By: Sharon

It's that time of year again...time to send Christmas Cards. Christmas cards have very little routine at the Simon house, except that at Thanksgiving I start talking about the fact that the cards must go out and that the family needs to get to the mall to take a family picture. David almost inperceptably winces before forcing a smile to his face and asking "When is the picture appointment?"

Once the picture is taken care of, there are other steps to accomplish as well:

1. Make a list of recipiants.

2. Order Picture cards (the ever popular card and picture combination).

3. Get actual Christmas cards for the wallet-size pictures which come with picture packages (we're not wasting any pictures, we had to trade a year of Colin's education to get the picture package......can I say Outrageous?)

4. Buy stamps.

5. Remember how to use mail merge so that I print labels instead of hand-writing all the addresses.

6. Hand-write the addresses for the labels that didn't print correctly or had an incorrect address. I always end up writing about 20% of the labels because I don't print labels well and when cards are returned to sender for incorrect addresses and/or our friends move, I forget to update Microsoft Access.

7. Write a note in the cards.

8. Lick the back of the envelopes to seal them. Why hasn't the stationary industry figured out that we don't want to lick envelopes? I know, there are some some cards with 'peel & stick' closure but I always manage to pick ones that must be licked.

9. Take them to the post office.

The steps above are a clear explanation as to why there is no routine to Christmas cards at the Simon house. They have gone in the mail as early as the day before Thanksgiving and as late as mid-January. In fact, I think there was a year that cards didn't go out at all.

So, this year, I decided to do something just a little different. I bought cards in January '07 during the post-holiday sales. I used a picture of the kids that I took in September '07 so that the timing of our annual family picture was not an issue. I ordered prints and picture cards. I put a limit on the number of cards that would be sent out. I didn't write a note in each card. I enjoyed every minute of this year's Christmas cards.

The moral of the story? Christmas cards don't have to be stressful!

Advice of the day:

*If you didn't get a card from us, don't be offended. We love you, we just knew that you could love us without receiving a Christmas card.

*When you open a Christmas Card this year from anyone, value the effort that it represents. I know I will. Whether someone has 2 cards to send or 200, getting a card to you or me was an effort.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Gobble Gobble

Ok...I ate way too much food and enjoyed every minute with the friends & family we invited to be with us. So, I have 2 questions for everyone:

1. What did you do on Black Friday?

I took the boys with their Uncle Phillip down to the Reflection Pool in DC to play football in between the monuments on the lawn and then Sharon & I went to Best Buy later that night to buy her Christmas present. I know, I wife's gift at an electronics store (she asked for it)!

2. Which teams were you cheering for over the weekend?

We watched every game and cheered for any team that might set up the opportunity for Ohio State to play for the National Championship. So we were thrilled to see LSU go down in flames and frustrated to see WV stomp UConn and we are watching MIZZO Univ vs Kansas!

Yes...Sharon actually watches more football than I do :-)


~David & Sharon

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Being a Servant Leader

I met James Hunter back in 2006 and was impressed by his sincerity, candor, and vision. In his book, "The Servant", we read about the life of a business executive John Daily. Hunter does a wonderful job of weaving the timeless principles of servant leadership into the story of John Daily, whose outwardly successful life is spiraling out of control (I been there & felt that)!

If you don't like to read 'teaching' books and looking for a relaxing read, this is great story that incorporates passive learning.

He is failing miserably in each of his leadership roles as boss, husband, father, and coach. To get his life back on track, he reluctantly attends a weeklong leadership retreat at a remote Benedictine monastery. To John's surprise, the monk leading the seminar is a former business executive and Wall Street legend. Taking John under his wing, the monk guides him to a realization that is simple yet profound:

The true foundation of leadership is not power, but authority, which is built upon relationships, love, service, and sacrifice.

The book enumerates the following as the qualities of a servant leader...
1. Patient - showing self-control
2. Kind - giving attention, appreciation, and encouragement
3. Humble - being authentic without pretense or arrogance
4. Respectful - treating others as important people
5. Selfless - meeting the needs of others
6. Forgiving - giving up resentment when wronged
7. Honest - being free from deception
8. Committed - sticking to your choices

All these behaviors will entail you to serve and sacrifice for others. This would mean setting aside your own wants and needs to focus on the legitimate needs of others.


Sunday, November 18, 2007


Sharon and I went to the MLS Cup Final at RFK Stadium. We absolutely loved the diverse culture that attended the game today. There is clearly no defined demographic to who attends a soccer game in America. Families, kids, business leaders, college students, groups of women (this sport is clearly not the male dominated atmosphere), and all kinds of ethnic groups!

An exciting game between New England and Houston...I love to be part of any venue where people are at their best. The competitive match, the MLS Final atmosphere, the high 50's temperature, and a great crowd...the perfect date!

Night at the Museum

Colin and I went to the Baltimore Aquarium on Friday night to ‘Sleep with the Sharks’. Yes that’s right we spent the night in the museum. Now this wasn’t “Night in the Museum” with Ben Stiller, no dinosaurs or exhibits came to life…in fact it was quite the opposite…we saw many a sleeping shark and stingray. Ever seen a stingray sleep? It’s like watching any other lifeless animal lie on the floor only these are underwater.

Now I am not picking on the experience, on the contrary, this was a wonderful event that I recommend for kids’ ages 8 to14. We received a private behind the scenes tour of the entire aquarium and learned all kinds of cool things about the underwater world, rain forest, Australia, and frogs!

As we learned about all the different types of frogs, we of course stopped and hung out at the ‘poisonous frog collection’. Did you know that the most poisonous animal on Earth is the Golden Poison Frog of Columbia? What we found out about most of the poisonous frogs is that the poison toxin is generated based on what they eat and as a result the frogs in the aquarium are not really poisonous because they consume a non-toxic diet. WOW! Talk about “you are what you eat”.

Of course this is a good lesson for all of us. To often our actions, our relationships, and our ability to communicate is based on what we are putting into our minds. I guess it served as yet another subtle reminder to guard what is being pumped into my brain. TV, movies, music, books…they are all forms of media and one has to stop and ask what kind of media are we ingesting and what kind of result is it producing? Over the last 5 years I have substantially increased my reading and decreased my TV time…you know what…my quality of life and income has also increased. I am not the only one who has experienced this phenomenon. Many of my friends have also shared the same experience that by decreasing the TV intake and ingesting more books and CDs focused on personal and professional growth that their incomes have increased.

Colin and I had a blast, this was quality father son time and I was able to hang out with his friends and focus on him for and entire day without the distractions of the job.

I guess we all truly ‘ARE WHAT WE EAT’.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Team Updates

Right now we are focused on personal and professional growth over the holidays. Sharon and I have reflected on the last 5 years and have no misunderstanding that the 45 year plan as an employee does not end in retirement at 65. As such we feel blessed to have met Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady who have helped so many people become financially successful.

On February 22, 2008 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis we will launch our new business. Committed to the concepts of Michael Dell's 3 C's (Content, Commerce, Community) we will be looking to begin building a commmunity after the 1st of the year.

Let me answer some questions that many of you have asked:
1. Registration - to be invovled in the pre-launch you may invest $15 a quarter or $60 annually. This is the standard access fee so that you can have access to the pre-launch planning, website, and professional development materials. The registration form is on under 'Business Forms'. It is a very simple one page form that you can fax to us.

2. Making Money - During pre-launch you can be paid for being part of the Team if you are a qualified Turbo 5 (this means you plus 10 new members on on the training system).

3. Training System - The team training system is an excellent resource for personal and professional growth. I can personal testify to gaining a better perspective about life, increased communication with family & friends, and increased financial success.

4. Building a Community - We will help you track your team and its growth. When someone completes a form and signs up, please fax the form to us and let us know if this is part of Team 1 or Team 2 for you. We will help you continue to grow the two tea,s so that you can achieve Turbo status and get paid based on the number of people on system.

5. FAX - 610.808.2095 - My fax is on 24 hours a day.

6. Our new distributor will be announced in St Louis and is a nationwide sponsor who will pay 30-50% more money than what was previously paid as compensation for being part of the community.

7. Blogging is the best way to reach us.

Happy Holidays
David & Sharon

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Learning to Walk

The last several days have been fun to watch our daughter Sybella learn to stand. Of course every parent is so anxious to see there child stand and then later regret how mobile they are. In the last 2 weeks she has tried to stand several hundred times and each time we clap, cheer, and encourage her (just for trying...she wasn't even standing for 2 or 3 seconds) no wonder she continues to try harder!

Of course, all of this activity has caused me to reflect on and ask the question: How often in life do we criticize our peers, friends, or employees for 'trying' but not being successful? To often we all are quick to criticize, complain, and condemn others actions or lack of results. Make no mistake, I believe in results, over time failure to produce results means something else is wrong. But I wonder if we were quicker to clap, cheer, and much more productive would people be and how much sooner would those around us move to producing results?

Our children remind us daily of life lessons we need to apply. I guess the author was right when he wrote, "Everything I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten".


Monday, November 5, 2007

Hello World

Well it’s official! I am now blogging and will be regularly as a way to communicate with everyone from all over the country and in an attempt to let people know what is going on personally, professionally and in general. Feel free to let me know how this is working for you and if your questions are being answered.

~ David