Monthly Archives: September 2013

Feelin’ the Donut

Life lessons from Chubby (my dad) and other smart folks I’ve met on the road.

“Why donuts?”

Feeling Good or Good Feeling Chubby Rule

“What do you mean, why donuts?”

“Why do you eat donuts?” Chubby asked.

“They taste good,” I replied.

 “But do donuts make you feel good?” he asked.

“While I’m eatin’ ‘em,” I said.

How about afterward?” Chubby inquired.

(He was gettin’ personal. I was 12 years old and weighed over 200 lbs.).

“Not really,” I admitted. “I feel stuffed and my face is all oily.” READ MORE 

The Worst Decision I Ever Made

Life lessons from Chubby (my dad) and other smart folks I’ve met on the road.

Chubby was perturbed. Restless, cranky it seemed.

“Dad,” I said, “What’s wrong?”

I made a terrible decision, he said.

A sales agent named Joyce just left our firm. She took several agents with her, customers too. It’s going to cost me a lot.”

Chubby Rules Decision
I’m sorry,” I said. “Can I do anything?

Yes” Chubby responded. “Don’t make the same mistake.”

What mistake? I replied.

I didn’t.” Dad answered.

Didn’t what? I asked.

Greg,” Dad said. “I knew Joyce was a troublemaker. Late for sales meetings. Complained incessantly. Criticized the company. I should have fired her a long time ago.”

Why didn’t you?” I asked.

“I violated my own rule.” Chubby answered. “I didn’t decide.”

I could see that Dad was angrier with himself than with Joyce.

Years ago when I started the company,” Dad said.

I decided that the worst decisions I’d make would be not to decide. That’s what I did with Joyce. I kept putting it off, hoping she’d change but knowing she wouldn’t.

I’m sorry.” I said. And I was. I felt bad for Dad.

Chubby Rules DecisionGreg,” Chubby instructed, “With every decision, there are only four options:

  1. Decide “yes.”
  2. Decide “no.”
  3. Decide it’s best to delay.
  4. Don’t decide.

Don’t confuse #3 with #4. It’s a critical mistake. That’s what I did with Joyce.

I didn’t decide it was best to delay. I knew better. Every day she was hurting the firm. I put it off . . .  I pulled a #4 wimp-out. And that, Greg, was the worst decision of all.”

The lesson I learned from Chubby that day?

Don’t pull #4 wimp-outs. 
The worst decisions are those you don’t make.

The Worst $10 I Ever Spent

Life lessons from Chubby (my dad) and other smart folks I’ve met on the road.

ten dollar bill in hand

“Dad,” I said. “Can I borrow $10? I need to print flyers for my new grass cutting business.”

What’s the plan?” Chubby asked.

“I’m going to drop them off around the neighborhood this Saturday.”

Do you think that’s smart?” Chubby asked.

“Absolutely!” I exclaimed.

Dad reached in his pocket, pulled out his silver money clip and slid out a ten. “You’ll pay it back a dollar a week,” he said.

“Perfect” I answered.

I handed out the flyers that Saturday, just like I said. And waited. And waited. A day. A week.

The phone was stone dead.

Chubby Rule


More advertising, perhaps?  I asked Dad for another ten bucks. I’d do it again.

NO.” Chubby said “no.” “But why?” I asked.

“Because, Greg, you should have asked how to spend the ten bucks.”

I had to admit Dad might have a point. My plan didn’t work. Maybe, I should have asked first.

“OK,” I said with a dose of humility (not my strong suit at that age). “Dad, what did I do wrong?”

Greg, you had a choice. You could have distributed flyers to lots of people once or fewer people lots. You were too anxious. You chose wrong.”

Chubby continued,

“Never forget the 6X6 Rule. It’s better to hit 1/6th the people six times than six times the people just one time.”

He explained, “Spread out your advertising dollars so you have enough to put the same message in front of the same people six consecutive times. People need to see a message over and over again – as many as six times – before they’re likely to respond.”

“But Dad,” I said. “That would take too long. I’d be handing out flyers for weeks. I want to make money now.”

Chubby smiled. I remember him looking over at the lonely, silent telephone. I understood.

The lesson I learned from Chubby that day?

The 6X6 Rule – It’s better to market to 1/6th the people six times than six times the people just once.

It’s What Matters, Isn’t It?

“You may delay, but time will not.”

—Benjamin Franklin

Today’s story is about Peter O’ Malley.

Time with those we love. It’s what matters, isn’t it?

time with those we love

Peter O’Malley with his wife, Mary in 1976 at his daughter’s wedding.

Peter O’Malley was running his delivery route for Schaefer Beer on the evening of July 6, 1976. Suddenly, a heart attack dragged him down to the cold, linoleum floor at the Bohack grocery store in Port Jefferson Station, New York.

As he started to lose consciousness, he had only one thought, his daughter’s wedding a few months away. Who would walk her down the aisle?

Fortunately, a dentist and nurse were in the vicinity, administered CPR, and O’Malley went on to make a full recovery. A few months later, his daughter did get married, “and there he was, walking me down the aisle,” she fondly remembers.

O’Malley was 57 at the time of his heart attack. He lived another 37 years to age 93. He was there for the births of 11 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

Because of his near visit with death, Peter O’Malley recognized the point of it all.

time with those we love

Peter holding one of his great grandsons.

Time with those we love. It’s what matters, isn’t it?

Nice Guys Never Finish

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

—Samuel Johnson

Today’s story is contributed by Bill Bayles.

This is our nicest story. Why?
It’s about one simple thing — a really nice dad.

Nice Guys Never Finish, They Keep Giving

Bill’s graduation with Mom and Dad, 1984

He was born on Christmas day, perhaps a clue.

People always tell me, “Bill, your dad is the nicest guy in the world!” They’re right. He is.

But Dad had it rough growing up. It was not the “happy home” you might assume. My dad had no dad. His mom disapproved of the drinking and other bad habits. She did her best to keep them apart.

Academically? Last in grades, first in love. My dad finished at the bottom of his high school class, but was one of the most popular kids in school.

His first job? A gravedigger. Yep, that’s right. He dug six-foot holes for those on their final passage. Most would cringe, but Dad did it with a whistle and pep in his step. He was cheerful and nice, a ray of light in an often-sad place.

One day, sensing that his life needed new direction, he quit his gravedigging job. That same week, a friend suggested he should attend college. After my dad explained his less than exemplary high school performance, this friend called his friend, who happened to work at the local college. My dad started classes the very next day!

People have always looked for ways to help my dad. They see into his heart, they know he cares.

Dad graduated and became a preacher, then a teacher.

While having lunch one day at his favorite diner, he sensed distress in the man sitting next to him. He offered his ear. It was a divorce. They spoke for two hours. The man asked if my father wanted to start a commercial cleaning business. Dad’s next chapter had just opened . . . He knew nothing about that business, but he knew everything about people. It was a resounding success.

With my father, it’s never been about “networking.” It’s natural. It’s organic. It’s “friendworking.” He simply wants to help you, to be your friend.

As a teenager, I saw this expecting nothing back, always-nice mentality as a weakness. There was no underlying “what’s in it for me” motive. I felt like he wasn’t mentally tough like many of my friend’s dads.

In time, I came to realize that I was both right and wrong. I was right — Dad had no hidden agenda. He didn’t care about being tough. But I was dead wrong — that is precisely what made Dad the strongest man I have ever known.

At 79, my dad now counsels others emotionally in need. Many of his patients are at the local prison.

They say that nice guys finish last.

In the case of my father, nice guys never finish . . . they just keep giving until their time is up.

nice guys

Grandpa, Bob, and Grandma, Shelly Bayles, with their grandchildren

A rare person in this world, and a blessing to all. Love you dad.

Bill and his wife, Karen, have three children, Maria, Chelsea and Sebastian. Together, they have founded three successful firms, all related to benefiting not-for-profit and healthcare firms. Bill has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including college foundations and mission-based organizations like Youth for Christ. He enjoys having the opportunity to work and grow closer with his wife and business partner, Karen, and spending time with their three children — swimming, boating, and fishing together.

Swallow the Frog. Do it early.

Life lessons from Chubby (my dad) and other smart folks I’ve met on the road.

swallow the frog

We all have frogs; difficult or unpleasant things we must do.

We tend to put them off. The problem? They rarely go away. In fact, they often grow into green monsters — harder to do, tougher to face.

Facing a frog today?
Take Chubby’s advice.

Swallow the frog. Do it early.

swallow the frog

“If you know you have to swallow a frog,
swallow it first thing in the morning.
If there are two frogs, swallow the big one first.”
—Mark Twain

*Chubby Rule courtesy of my good friend and savvy dad, Bruce.
**Photo of boy with frog in mouth courtesy of

Talk To Many. Speak To Few.

Life lessons from Chubby (my dad) and other smart folks I’ve met on the road.

key to selling

Chubby knew life is about selling.

Your product. Your service. Your point of view. Yourself.
Winning an election. Building a business. Finding or keeping a job.
Convincing someone to go out on a date, or in the extreme, “I do.”

Chubby said over and over again, “Greg, the better you sell, the better you’ll do.”

Obviously, I had to ask, “Dad, how do you sell?”

“Why do you ask?” he replied.

“I want to be rich,” I said. “A nice car…big house. I want it all.” Chubby smiled.

“Well,” he answered, “The first step is ‘talking to many, but speaking to few.'”

Strange I thought, talking to many but speaking to few?
Sounded like eating a lot, but not gaining a pound. How is that done?

Chubby explained,

“Greg, others will tell you the key to sales is talking to more people…a numbers game. That’s only half true. The real key is speaking to whomever you talk.”

I was still in the dark. Speak to whomever I talk?
How do you talk to someone without speaking to them?

What Chubby said next turned on a life-changing light,

“Greg, you just turned 14 and you love to bike. What if you saw an ad for a new bicycle designed specifically and only for 14-year-old boys, just like you. The size, the color, the graphics; the company marketed the bike like it was made custom for you.  Would you want to look?”

“Absolutely,” I replied. “I’d want to go see it today.”

“You see,” Dad said. “That bike manufacturer was speaking to you.”

Chubby continued, “What’s fascinating is that this exact bike might also be marketed to 15-year-old girls after a quick change of color and graphics. Same bike. New color. Different market.

The key to selling a lot is to talk to many, one group at a time.”

I was starting to see what Dad meant. This would be great in expanding my neighborhood grass cutting business. Mrs. Bales loved her flowerbed. So when I talked with her about mowing her lawn, I’d speak to my care of her flowers. Mr. Mackay was always sweeping his walk and front porch. So when I talked with him about mowing his lawn, I’d speak to ensuring his walk and front porch were sparkling clean.

The lesson I learned from Chubby that day?

Sliver marketing.

Craft what you say to one like-minded group at a time.
That’s how you talk to many but speak to few.

key to selling