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Embracing Life

In my work, I have the golden opportunity to spend time with wonderful leaders. Some years ago, Paul Bellantone reached out to me to help with his organization’s strategic plan. Paul runs the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). These are the men and women who make or sell the customized apparel, office supplies and everything else that can be fitted to promote an event, company or brand. At first, I was skeptical about the opportunity to contribute. I didn’t see the real value that promotional products provide the world, and I didn’t understand what it would mean to serve this segment of American society.

As soon as I started working with Paul I found myself invigorated by his energy. He was clear, focused, and having fun. As our weeks together rolled into months, I looked forward to the time I spent with him and his board of directors. They were business savvy and that was a real pleasure. But, it was more. They were enjoying life. It was the impromptu piano sessions after a full day of work, the restaurant explorations at night, and the early morning running, hiking and bike rides. It was the business leadership inside their own companies. These were entrepreneurs, professionals who knew more than how to grow their companies. They knew how to serve their clients by taking real consideration of their needs.

It was a surprise to me, frankly. I learned that promotional products are the most tangible and long-lasting way to reach customers with something they literally carry around day-to-day. Do I sound like a commercial? Maybe I drank the kool-aid! But, really, it was the leadership that hooked me. The conversations I had with Paul’s members. I went on to work for Paul on a second project and it had me at his Expo events, which are spectacular, doing man-on-the-street interviews with many of the small shops, the mom-and-pop businesses. Every person I spoke to was upbeat, hungry to grow, and intent on having a good time. It was refreshing.

So, here is a link to an article I did about Paul if you really want to dive in. But, this Monday Morning Mojo, is not about the article or Paul or PPAI. It’s about enjoying life. All those business leaders I spoke to, were they always successful? Of course not. They faced the same challenges we all face. Turns in the market hitting their business hard. Competition. Mergers and acquisitions. They faced day-to-day circumstances that could wipe them out or hit them hard, and they had to figure out how to survive, get on top of difficult circumstances. Their drive was infectious.

What will you do this week to master your circumstances? And how will you do it with joy in your heart?


“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.”
– Kevyn Aucoin