Rule #20. Don’t Surprise

Rule #16 explained don’t surprise….It’s my best example of what not to do and why.

I just really want to share a few GOOD surprises I’ve received in 2013.

Surprise #1

Met my first whistle blower!  It was exciting for me to be in the aura of such bravery.  Sometime, when it’s possible, will tell you more, but for now, all I can say is that I love knowing her. Thanks, Lori Capps for introducing us!

Nothing is more dangerous than the TRUTH.


Surprise #2

On the “Country Faith” CD, brain-child of Deborah Evans-Price, I was introduced to artist Jimmy Wayne.  I love, love, love his song, “SHINE”.   It reminds me of dear friend, Debra Brawner – Debra uses the word SHINE regularly — for years I’ve  watched her give others the opportunity to SHINE, me included.  SHINE is Debra’s mantra, and yes, it’s part of why I love his song, AND now, Jimmy Wayne’s music.

 “Country Faith” was my tipping point. 

Remember: It only takes one person to help another SHINE. Who can you help to SHINE today?  tomorrow?  next week?  What will be your tipping point?

Debra Brawner, left with Betty White and ‘friends’ from the Columbus Zoo!Debra and Betty White

Music artist, Jimmy Wayne, sings “SHINE” on the “Country Faith” CD.

Jimmy Wayne

“The Tipping Point”

Tipping Point book

Malcolm Gladwell, author, “The Tipping Point”

Malcolm Gladwell


I don’t miss one. single. episode. of Dr. Phil.  Even watch the reruns on OWN.  This is the first time I can remember being this interested in any television show. I have learned SO MUCH.  His words of wisdom have helped me deal with familial problems since my Mother’s death in 2012.  I understand so much more through his shows about siblings, wills and caregivers.  I am at peace because I know others’  actions have nothing to do with me.  His words, via the shows have given me a peace that only comes with ME doing the gritty work.  I’m on the other side of my hurt now, and joyous with my life.   Surprised at myself, that I’ve actually been able to forgive those who’ve hurt me — and my late Mother — so much.  Blessed.

BUT if I could talk to him, I would ask him to QUIT SAYING  “This is not my first rodeo” over and over and over.  WE KNOW.  WE KNOW.

Dr. Phil

A Night of Honor

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Rule #16 Be Willing to Address Even the Most Difficult

put it off.  put it off. put it off. Now it’s a mess. Procrastination is not our friend. What to do?

I love fountain pens.  Last night gathering fountain pens to be serviced at Vanness discovered my Mont Blanc’s tip-of-the-top broken off, missing.  GRRRR.  I didn’t do it, so who did?  No idea.

My only great fountain pen was given me by my parents upon college graduation.  It was beautiful, 14K gold, it was stolen while traveling in my first post-college job.  Stolen by a stranger from my hotel room.  I replaced it, some years later, with this Mont Blanc. It is not sentimental in any way.

This now broken pen is my reminder of life situations. This pen, along with mine and my Mother’s fountain pen set were hidden, in their original boxes.   Thankfully, my Mother’s set was intact.  Certainly, the Mont Blanc was broken by accident, so why wasn’t I told?

Breaking this pen might have been terrifying for someone.  Probably still afraid to admit the mistake. But why?  It’s no secret that I love, love, love beautiful things, but nothing I have,  N.O.T.H.I.N.G. is more important than my family , friends,  or any relationship.  It’s perplexing.

Did the person who left my pen in this ‘state’ think “I’ll do it later” or perhaps, “she has so much she will never miss it” and believe it?  Both statements have potential, but at what cost?  Speak it, live it, talk it.  Hiding or putting off the inevitable makes any situation more difficult.

Usually I will tackle the most difficult face-to-face.

When I owned Applause, a Nashville-based audience seating business, we built audiences for Disney shows. I delegated all the work for Applause, filling a need in the entertainment community.  It also gave me time to build MPR, my boutique PR firm.

Delegating the job to young men who’d worked with me for a long time, I felt good about their efforts.  Sure we had a few snags, but that’s expected.  I always showed up for the actual event, to make certain everything ran smoothly.  My ‘team’ said they were bringing in a bus from the college they’d attended, and it was full.  We were set for the first show.  They said they would just ride the bus to the venue. PERFECT.

Waiting for the bus to arrive, in came the team without the bus or people.  It was only THEN these young men told me what they had been afraid to for the past week!  The bus FULL of people for our audience was not coming!

So here I am with the Disney producer, ready to roll-tape, Aaron Neville on stage, waiting for our audience.  Now I had to tell him the bus was not coming.    Needless to say it was a near-disaster.  We solved the problem,  created an audience with every living breathing person in the studio that day.  So it looked like Aaron Neville had the audience he deserved. How much smarter, easier on everyone involved if these two really (really) decent guys had told me what happened when it happened?  A little notice maybe?

From that time, anyone who knows me, works with me, knows not to surprise me.  I am shocked by little, and telling me will not change how I feel or react, it will give us both the opportunity to make better decisions.

And if I work for you I will tell you my mistake the very moment it’s realized.  Not a moment later, I owe that to those I work with, just as my team owed me the truth. After all — and as I say often — we were not curing cancer.  We will survive.  But let’s do it in the most humane and AUTHENTIC way possible.  Putting off something difficult only makes it more difficult even tomorrow or heaven forbid, next week.


I sold APPLAUSE! to T. Clark Miller and continued to be part of the dick clark company ‘family’ through my Nashville-based PR firm, MPR. This photo marks the  first night T. was on set. L to R Me, T., RAC Clark; Executive Producer; Nancy May  & show host Gary Chapman.

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Dick Clark

Dick Clark.  I don’t even know what to say.  Did I know him well?  No.  But I knew him because his company was a client of my company, APPLAUSE!  I knew how he treated people.  I knew of the reverence that fell on the building when he stepped foot on site.  So, I felt as if I knew him well. Working with dick clark company I was treated with integrity, and love and respect even in unfortunate situations — and those were really pretty extinct around his set.  And it was HIS set, no mistake.  We all knew it and loved it. We came early, we stayed late, visiting afterward, eating, laughing and generally enjoying good and bad days/shows/people.  Those were — and I realize I’m sounding like a geezer — the BEST of times.

Dick was really one of a kind, and the example he set for all of us is now IN US, because we lived in a work environment that brings out one’s best.  Give the best, get the best.  We watched, we learned and we loved.

How lucky was I?
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