One Green Blood's State of Mind

Remembering Don Herro

By Scott Westerman
Don and Tina Herro - FerlandThe elements that so mix to create the tapestry of words and deeds that reveal our character is the creation of many artists. If we are lucky, there are singular people who come into our lives at just the right moment, guiding our adventures in the direction of excellence.

In my life, one of those amazing individuals was Don Herro. My first impressions of the man were reflected through the prism of his children. Inclusive, magnanimous, focused and fun, they welcomed me quickly into the family. I saw it happen to many others, too. When you were at the Herro’s, it immediately felt like home.

With Don, you were always the center of attention. He greeted you with a smile and a handshake that telegraphed acceptance. He was fascinated by your story and you got the sense that you were the most important person in the room.

It was later that I learned that these elements were central to the achievements of a brilliant business man. You expect successful people to wear status on their sleeve. Don never did. For him, the ins and outs of leading a customer focused team were a fascinating puzzle to be solved. When things went well, he praised the team. I never knew if they didn’t because Don always had faith in a positive outcome and radiated confidence and humility at every turn.

Don knew sorrow and loss. The passing of our years bring us both frustration and joy. But he never lost his resilient spirit. If retirement had any disadvantage for Don, it was the fact that it was harder for him to roll up his sleeves and jump into the fray to solve the world’s problems. But I will always remember him as a man for whom each challenge faded with the setting sun and each new day dawned with fresh opportunity.

The most important thing to Don was family and he was quick to extend the definition to the teams he served and to the dozens of friends he picked up along the way. He epitomized one of my favorite maxims, “Strangers are only friends we haven’t met yet.”

Perhaps the most important lesson Don taught us was to pay it forward. He modeled self sufficiency and the Midwestern work ethic. And he helped us learn to fly without a wingman, even though we always knew he would instantly be by our side in time of need.

His passing leaves a huge hole in our hearts. But Don Herro taught us well. Even though he has shed a body that no longer could contain his spirit, that spirit still flies beside us. Don Herro’s essence is indelibly etched into the tapestries of the people we are becoming. We have the potential to be his living legacy. That certainty is cause for celebration and will continue to comfort us and inspire us to be the best we can be.

And to pass it on.

Some final thoughts from Dallas

And so ends another memorable Spartan footballl season.

It shall be recorded that the only teams to have besmirched a perfect record for our young men will now compete, on this same Dallas field of battle, in the first-ever national championship game. Of course, there will be voices will likely argue otherwise. This is a world where fandom biases are extreme and the ability to shout across social media gives equal time to all points of view. But, having watched this program grow and mature during my 5 years as an alumni servant at MSU, I contend that these Michigan State University Spartans have earned the right to be recognized as the number 3 team in the nation.

As ever, number one in every true Spartan’s heart!

What it means to be a Spartan

The night before every important athletic event, I always try to recenter myself by thinking about what it means to be a Spartan. Being a Spartan is not just a degree from a university or your name on the back of a jersey. It is not resting on the accomplishments of our forbears nor taking credit for the achievements of others. Being a Spartan is walking the talk. It is living a belief system that promotes service above self, fairness, inclusiveness, tenacity, beneficence, personal engagement, a thirst for continuous learning, self improvement, excellence and class. It is the courage to deal with darkness without losing faith in the sunshine. It is fighting for what is right, even when it may not be the popular thing to do. It’s going the extra mile when everyone else has given up.

Being a Spartan is not a given. It is earned every day. Many may claim it, but only a few truly live it.

Where there is arrogance, Spartans Will be magnanimous.
Where there is negativity, Spartans Will find the positive.
Where there are setbacks, Spartans Will rise above them.
Where there is anger, Spartans Will defuse it.
Where there is excellence, Spartans Will exemplify it.
When everybody else has lost their cool, Spartans Will stay centered.
Where there is a job to be done, Spartans Will get it done.

Who will be part of the solution to the world’s biggest problems in 2015? Spartans Will.

Monday Motivator: What I’ve Learned

By Scott Westerman
Listen to an audio version of this message.

“Carpe Diem!”

This will be my 327th Monday Motivator. And at long last, I’m closing the book.

Our weekly visits have been an often enlightening exercise in self discovery. I’ve enjoyed the discipline of studying life’s ups and downs and finding a deeper understanding the habits of happiness. It has stretched my mind, helped me over some of the bumps along the way and crystallized, for me at least, what’s important, and what’s not.

Before signing off, I wanted to share a few of the things I’ve learned. (more…)

Monday Motivator: Do Something

By Scott Westerman
Listen to an audio version of this message.

Twitter #QOTD? “Social media’s biggest irony: The loudest complainers are often least likely to personally engage to affect meaningful change.”

If Shakespeare had a Facebook account, he might say that, words without actions are but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: .. a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. (more…)

This Holiday Be Grateful For Those Who Serve

By Scott Westerman
Listen to an audio version of this message.

I marvel at our men and women in uniform. These days, it’s hard to get kids to make this a career, so I have a particular appreciation for those who have dedicated themselves to protecting our way of life for decades.

They must work, even on the days we do not. Money may not be their primary motivator. They are dedicated and steadfast at their posts, doing the things we take for granted. The things we won’t do. (more…)

Remembering Tanna

ScottNTannaMemorial“Let’s get the kids a dog.”

I can’t remember which of us said it but there was a lot of discussion about the particulars. Our house in Florida was small back then and the kids were not yet in high school. We had tried our luck with a Brittany Spaniel several years before but drew a hair brained knucklehead, out of control from the start and clearly unable to make the trip with us from Illinois to Florida.

It took awhile but we somehow settled on the Yorkshire Terrier breed and rescued our first, “Casey”, from the puppy mills that churn out product for pet shops.

Casey was high strung, barked a lot and didn’t like being snuggled. But boy was she protective. Even the hint of a tickle fight and she was all in, biting the stronger competitor as if she knew who might need the help. (more…)

Monday Motivator: When You Can’t Agree

By Scott Westerman
Listen to an audio version of this message.

“Friends become wiser together through a healthy clash of viewpoints.” ~Timothy Keller

We are a judgemental species, filled with division and prejudice. We are influenced by provocative sound bytes that are often inaccurate and oversimplify complex issues. Tightly held paradigms build walls that can blind us to opportunity. Fear of losing what we think we have keeps us silent when we should speak out.

In a political environment where victory may depend on pandering to extremism, intransigence is often the order of the day. In the walled gardens of social media were negativity multiplies at internet speed, we can be afraid to challenge an idea for fear of retribution.

And yet, it is only through conflict that change occurs. “Peace,” writes Dorothy Thompson, “is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict — alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.”

What can you do when you can’t agree? (more…)

Monday Motivator: Commitment

By Scott Westerman
Listen to an audio version of this message.

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” Unknown

One of my favorite success quotes is attributed to the actress Mae West. “An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”

We live in a world where people are increasingly choosing careers that suit a 9 to 5 schedule. Gen Y kids are said to switch jobs in a heartbeat, if it doesn’t fit their lifestyle. And everybody knows about the uncomfortably high divorce rate.

In the elite world of high performance you always need to be on your A-game. The difference between leading the field and getting stuck in the pack is the work you’re willing to do on the extra mile. (more…)

Notes from my presentation at Florida Blue

Social Media and your Personal Brand:
By Scott Westerman
It was a pleasure to spend time with the Florida Blue team last month. Here are the key take aways from my presentation on Social Media and Your Personal Brand.

Like it or not, we all have a personal brand. It’s the perceived image your organization & people present to the world, personally and professionally. In the Internet age, we’re on stage 24/7. Whatever we say may be tweeted. Whatever we do may end up on youtube.

Social Media is that stage. You don’t have to play on it, but if you’re in business, your customers and competitors will likely be there. You can choose to let others define who they think you are. Or you can engage to define yourself. (more…)

Previous Posts